This morning, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign adviser Rick Gates were arrested. Manafort isn’t much of a surprise, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been targeting him on serious charges for some time. Gates is somewhat more of a surprise. The biggest news may be that their charges include “Conspiracy against the United States.” Let’s just say that Donald Trump, by his own words, isn’t taking the news well – at all.
Trump spent the morning whining on Twitter about Hillary Clinton and President Obama, before saying something nice about Fox and Friends. Then, after the arrests, he finally got around to addressing the the matter directly. He tweeted “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Then three minutes later, he added “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” This only serves to underline that Trump doesn’t understand how these things work.
Manafort has been initially charged with his own crimes related to his financial misdeeds with the Kremlin, because these charges are the quickest and easiest to prove. Mueller’s entire point here is to back Manafort into such a no-win situation (life in prison) that Manafort ends up feeling compelled to cut a deal and flip on Trump. No matter how much evidence or proof Mueller may be sitting on of Trump-Russia collusion, he’s not going to break out those charges yet, because there’s a way these things work.
So even as Donald Trump is having a desperate all caps meltdown this morning involving far too many consecutive question marks for his own good, keep in mind that he appears to have to no idea what’s going on. That also means he has no idea what’s about to hit him as this day, and this scandal, move forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report