Despite Donald Trump frequently calling The New York Times (as well as pretty much any media entity that dares to tell the truth about him) “fake news,” it was rather interesting to see that he agreed to do an interview with the publication — one which wielded an extensive list of incoherent, confusing, or flat-out bizarre statements.
From saying he never would have made Jeff Sessions attorney general if he knew he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, to his word salad of an answer concerning the failure of Trumpcare, this was one of the strangest interviews I have ever seen.
However, of all the things he said, it was what I perceived to be a blatant threat issued against special counselor Robert Mueller which stuck out to me the most.
As reported by The New York Times:
In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.
Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller was running an office rife with conflicts of interest and warned investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia. Mr. Trump never said he would order the Justice Department to fire Mr. Mueller, nor would he outline circumstances under which he might do so. But he left open the possibility as he expressed deep grievance over an investigation that has taken a political toll in the six months since he took office.
Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”
It may be subtle, but when looked at in context, in my opinion, that’s a clear threat.
Trump’s made no secret of the fact that he thinks this is all nothing but a “witch hunt” against him and he sees no reason why there was a special counselor assigned to the case. For weeks it seems Trump’s been laying the foundation for what I think is his inevitable firing of Robert Mueller. However, because even Trump knows once he fires Mueller all hell is really going to break loose, he seems to be delaying doing something most of us are certain he already knows he’s going to do.
Sort of like how he handled James Comey’s firing.
Once he realized the former FBI director wasn’t going to bow down and give in to his demands, that’s when he fired him. Though as I said at the time, I always knew Trump would eventually give Comey his walking papers once he realized he wasn’t going to be able to control him like a puppet.
While Trump’s statement on Mueller made headlines, it wasn’t until I saw an article published by The Guardian where it all started to make sense:
Executives inside Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump’s personal bankers, are expecting that the bank will soon be receiving subpoenas or other requests for information from Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.
A person close to the matter who spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity said Mueller’s team and the bank had already established informal contact in connection to the federal investigation.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser in the White House; her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a presidential adviser; and Kushner’s mother, Seryl Stadtmauer, are all clients of Deutsche Bank.
Most of the talk has centered around Trump’s ties to Russia in regards to last year’s election, and rightfully so, but I’ve always suspected that Trump’s often over-the-top hostility toward any mention of federal investigations into his campaign or business dealings could be linked to a fear that the feds might uncover years worth of criminal activity such as money laundering or ties to organized crime.
Trump’s narrative is clearly going to be that “this is about Russia,” therefore his personal finances and business dealings shouldn’t have anything to do with Mueller’s investigation. I fully expect him to use any digging into his personal financial decisions as “proof of a conspiracy” that people are just out to get him.
Though that’s all ludicrous.
It’s true that the two issues could be completely separate from one another, but if they’re not — which many folks don’t believe that they are — then his finances are relevant to this case. If Trump’s prior business dealings, possible criminal activity, or even debt owed to various Russian interests are being used by Vladimir Putin to compromise him as “president” — that matters! Many people have suspected that, if he’s compromised by Russia, a big part of what Putin could be using to blackmail Trump are matters related to unethical, and possibly illegal, business dealings.
Donald Trump hasn’t helped his case much by repeatedly lying about why he won’t release his tax returns — something every single president for the last 40 + years has done.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Trump made sure to publicly state he feels Mueller digging into his personal finances would cross a red line right around the same time reports began surfacing that the special counselor was preparing to subpoena Deutsche Bank for information regarding Trump’s finances and business dealings.
As we’ve already seen, Trump’s not above making passive-aggressive threats to try to intimidate someone.
Knowing that Trump feels emboldened by a Republican Congress which loves making excuses for him and supporters who couldn’t care less what he does, I believe Robert Mueller’s days as special counselor are numbered. Personally, I’ll be really surprised if Trump doesn’t take the necessary steps to fire him here in the next few weeks. The moment he realizes what Mueller might be about to discover will be worse than the backlash he’ll endure for firing him, that’s when I believe he’ll give in to his irresistible lust for control over the situation.
What are your thoughts?
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