The president won the election, with Russian assistance and against all odds. The win shocked the world, including Donald Trump himself. He hadn’t had to alter his most negative traits; he won with them on full display.
He was working-class white America’s rebuff to an erudite black man and a supremely experienced woman. Trump’s defects had been validated. He was loved among those who hate.
But Trump had no clue that his greatest victory could open him to his greatest jeopardy. For him, it is a stinging irony that his lifetime high could lay him low.
He is incensed by the threat and is shifting every lever of power to thwart it. His own survival, and that of his family and empire, is all that matters. For him, this is the ultimate game of Machismo Monopoly: The properties are at stake and there’s a “Go To Jail” square in Robert Mueller’s corner.
Another part of all of this that must sting is that much of this legal mess springs from Trump’s own recklessness and impetuousness.
The people he surrounded himself with were shady characters, just like him. For instance, Carter Page is the most weaselly of creatures. And yet the president was touting him as one of his foreign policy advisers.
The dud of a memo by the near-treasonous water boy Devin Nunes was mostly about FISA repeatedly granting the F.B.I. permission to monitor Page’s contacts with Russians. Far from tarnishing the investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign, the memo seemed to bolster the credibility of that investigation.
The investigation was not only born of the Christopher Steele dossier, as Trump and his lackeys had insisted. The memo says this about Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos:
“The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an F.B.I. counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by F.B.I. agent Pete Strzok.”
Papadopoulos has since pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. and is cooperating with the special counsel.
Worse than firing a blank, Trump’s broadside on the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice with this memo may well have backfired.
The tantalizing possibility that this memo would contain actual, accurate damning evidence that the investigation was corrupt just vanished. The contents of that memo are as thin as Trump’s coif.
His attempts to smear the truthseekers with lies are failing. Sure, some die-hards — millions of them actually — will continue to believe, but the truth is a funny thing: It will not forever be hidden. Everything eventually finds its way to the light.
But take no solace in that, folks. The closer Mueller gets to the full truth, the more Trump’s panic will grow. He will feel more and more like a cornered animal, and it is very likely that he will resort to his final, unthinkable options.
Firing Mueller is a definite possibility.
People say that would create a constitutional crisis, but I say we are already trapped in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, or constitutional train wreck.
Trump will never put the country above himself. And his Republican assistants in the legislature have so bought into Trumpism that they now know that they will share his fate.
Buckle up, folks: This ride will get much rougher before it finally comes to an end.