Morning Briefing: Trump Behind Bars Is Now a Legitimate Possibility
What a wild week, folks. Early last week, we learned through Michael Flynn’s sentencing deal not only that he had given 19 hours of testimony in exchange for no jail time, but that there were three investigations going on around him, investigations that spell trouble for not just Trump, but Jared Kushner and Don Jr., as well. From the NYTimes:
Trump’s oldest children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, interacted with Russians who were offering to help the Republican candidate.
Ivanka’s husband, top campaign adviser Jared Kushner — as well as Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; his personal lawyer Michael Cohen; and his longest-serving political adviser, Roger Stone — also had contact with Russian nationals.
On Friday, in some ways, we found out just how valuable Flynn’s testimony was, because — though Cohen has been singing like a strangling bird — prosecutors nevertheless threw the book at him, and he’s expected to face at least 5 years in prison. He also provided Mueller with additional links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Individual 1 (i.e., Trump) came out of it looking like an unindicted co-conspirator on two counts of campaign finance violations.
Here’s our favorite spouse of a White House operative:
No, the criminal campaign-finance violations were found by professional line prosecutors in a Republican-controlled United States Department of Justice. It looks like a pretty good case. Kudos to them. https://t.co/PrtXErjcVI— George Conway (@gtconway3d) December 10, 2018
….which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s - but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me). Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2018
Better news still, as Democratic Senator Adam Schiff noted, if Trump is defeated in 2020, there is enough time on the statute of limitations to indict him, so his Democratic opponent can safely run on a “lock him up” message, in which case Trump would likely join his son and son-in-law in prison.
“My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” Shiff told Face the Nation yesterday.
I ask for so little, Lord: Give us this. Democrats: Let this man twist in the wind, get his ass spanked in 2020, and at the 2021 Inauguration of the new President, I want to see the FBI holding a pair of handcuffs, which they will slap on Trump as soon as the Democrat is sworn in. Better still, I want to see Trump run from the FBI, fall on his ass, and then get handcuffed while pulling up his trousers. I will refuse Christmas presents for the rest of my life if you give me this, Lord. Is it too much to ask?
There’s also still the matter of Paul Manafort, as well. He’s gonna go away for a long time, unless Trump pardons him, although even Marco Rubio says that doing so would be a “grave mistake,” for whatever that is worth (I know, I know. It’s worth absolutely nothing).
Meanwhile, Trump does still have two years left to serve on his
prison Presidential term, two years that will be dominated by the investigations into his Administration. His Chief of Staff John Kelly — who spoke to Mueller a while back — has resigned, and Trump — who put all his eggs in the Nick Ayers basket — has no one with whom to replace Kelly. Nick Ayers begged off, and I don’t care what excuse he gave, the real excuse was: He wants a future in politics, and being Trump’s Chief of Staff would essentially kill his political career. That means that Trump is likely going to have to ask someone whose future in politics is already ruined, like Corey Lewandowski, Anthony Scaramucci, or Chris Christie (I wonder if Christie would stoop so low? I bet he would, the groveling sycophant). Whoever it is will be miserable for the foreseeable future.
3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can't manage to pass his agenda.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2012
Downside: There’s still two years left of this Administration. Upside: We get to spend the next two years watching a miserable Donald Trump suffer, legitimately terrified knowing that handcuffs await him if he is defeated. I’m not counting on it, but I also wouldn’t be too surprised if Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans cut bait on Trump and run him out of office in an effort to salvage their 2020 prospects.
Header Image Source: Warner Bros.