Anyone paying close attention to Donald Trump’s Russia scandal has figured out Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s strategy. He’s pursuing everyone in Trump’s orbit for their own alleged crimes, or for having participated in a conspiracy with Trump to commit crimes. He’s trying to get as many of them to flip on him as possible. Some will indeed flip, if they haven’t already. Now it turns out Trump’s own advisers believe it’s already happened – and they suspect someone’s wearing a wire.
The incredible revelation is buried all the way down in the eighteenth paragraph of a new piece from the New York Times that’s largely otherwise focused on the general dysfunction within Trump’s legal team (link). Here’s the buried bombshell: “White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.” This suggests things may be much further along than had previously been believed.
At this point a double digit number of current and former Trump advisers have hired attorneys to represent them in the Russia scandal. Trump’s own personal attorney Michael Cohen, and Trump’s White House Counsel Don McGahn, have each hired attorneys of their own. It was revealed last week that Mueller is pursuing six advisers who worked with Trump to cover up the true nature of his son’s Russia meeting, meaning that he may be pursuing them all for criminal conspiracy. It’s a matter of when, not if, some of the targets begin flipping in the hope of getting the best deals while there are still good deals to be had. This latest revelation threatens to become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Let’s say that no one in Donald Trump’s White House has flipped on him yet. Even if advisers merely think someone has flipped, it’ll motivate them to consider hurrying up and flipping before things get so far along that they no longer have anything worthwhile to offer. This kind of paranoia tends to set off feeding frenzies.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report