On Monday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller fired broadsides into Donald Trump on three different fronts. He arrested two campaign advisers on financial crimes. He announced that a third adviser had pled guilty and confessed to Trump campaign Russian collusion. He also, in a backhanded way, signaled that he’s moving in on Trump’s personal finances. Just like that, Trump suddenly decided to put the message out there that he may not seek reelection. This may be directly related to finances.
As Palmer Report has pointed out multiple times in recent months, Donald Trump isn’t actually running a 2020 reelection campaign. Even if he were planning to seek reelection, there would be no point in campaigning this soon. Instead, Trump’s current “reelection” effort is little more than a front for raising funds from his supporters, which he then spends on his family’s legal fees in the Trump-Russia scandal. It’s a violation of the spirit the law, but not the letter of lax campaign fundraising laws. However, it’s long stood out as a potential entry point for Robert Mueller.
When Mueller arrested Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, it was for alleged financial crimes. But Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were listed as “Indictment (B)” while there’s an unnamed “Indictment (A)” still under seal. What bigger fish is there than Manafort, who could have been indicted in relation to Manafort’s financial crimes? The only logical answer is Trump himself, who has a longtime financial relationship with Manafort. In fact Manafort owns an apartment in Trump Tower – and Mueller is focusing on Manafort’s real estate transactions.
Now suddenly Donald Trump is having his allies float the notion that he may not seek reelection in 2020 after all (link). Is he trying to cut off Robert Mueller’s entry point? Has he concluded that Mueller is going to seize that money anyway? Or has Trump simply concluded that he’s so screwed, there’s no point in keeping up the reelection charade? You can’t get reelected if you’ve already resigned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report