Whenever I’ve laid out the details of various members of the Trump political cartel who have been caught red handed committing serious crimes, I’ve spelled out which ones are likely to end up in prison for those crimes. I’m sometimes asked if I’m being overly optimistic. The answer is no; I’m being realistic. In fact I can point to precisely why I expect so many Trump goons to end up behind bars when this is over.
In general terms, when wealthy public figures like the Trumps commit serious crimes, or when shadowy political operatives commit equally serious crimes, they usually don’t get caught. They’re all professional criminals. They figure out early on what they can keep under the radar, and as long as they stay in their lane, they’re usually good to go. But when these types do get caught, they usually end up doing time for it. By the time Watergate was over, dozens of Nixon-related people ended up in prison, and Watergate was a misdemeanor compared to the Trump-Russia scandal. If you need more convincing, I can point you to four names.
Michael Flynn. George Papadopoulos. Paul Manafort. Rick Gates. What do they all have in common? They’re all key former Trump political advisers. All four have also been arrested as part of the Trump scandal. Flynn and Papadopoulos have already cut plea deals against Trump, but are still facing prison time. Gates is negotiating a plea deal which will send Manafort to prison for life, unless he cuts a deal against Trump.
Do you really think this is going to stop with just these four arrests and three deals? Papadopoulos was arrested for lying to federal investigators. At least ten other Trump advisers appear to have done the same or similar. Is there any reason to believe they won’t be arrested? Trump’s son-in-law is one of them. Another half dozen are on the hook for conspiracy to obstruct justice. And these are just the entry level crimes. Trump’s son admitted in writing that he was committing Conspiracy Against the United States. If the parameters of this probe are that lower level advisers are being arrested simply for lying, you’d better believe Trump Junior will be arrested for having committed the peacetime equivalent of treason.
Once this is all said and done, there’s no reason to expect any of these people to get away cleanly. That includes Donald Trump himself. Even if Robert Mueller can’t put him behind bars, he can do enough damage to get him ousted. The minute Trump is out of office, New York will indict him on various state level crimes. There is every reason to expect that Trump, members of his family, and a whole lot of members of his political cartel will end up doing time. They all made the same mistake, you see.
Donald Trump and his political operatives all veered out of their lane. Trump long ago figured out how to commit financial crimes in plain sight when he was merely a real estate con artist. Manafort long ago figured out how to lay low enough to keep anyone from noticing that he was a paid Kremlin operative. But they all entered a new realm with this campaign and this administration. It’s put them under the brightest spotlight in modern history. These things take time. Our system is designed to work slowly for a reason. But Trump and his goons got in over their heads, they got caught, and they’re all going down for it. The only ones who will get off easy are the ones who flip on each other – and flipping always means taking down a bigger fish. There’s no one for Donald Trump to flip on. He’s in the most vulnerable position of all.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report