Just last week, Donald Trump submitted his written answers to questions from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and at the time the president bragged the queries were incredibly easy to complete.
But when it was announced that Trump’s former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, had pleaded guilty and would now testify that he had numerous contacts with Russia in the months leading up the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf, many in the legal community noted that Mueller had just outfoxed Trump in a major way.
How exactly, you ask, did Trump get played? Well, think about the timing of today’s plea agreement between Cohen and the special counsel. As CNN legal analyst Ross Garber commented on Twitter:
A key question raised by Cohen plea: did Trump’s written answers address his business dealings in Russia? Timing of Cohen plea (right after Trump turned in answers) may be more than coincidental. (Mueller might not have wanted to tip his hand before answers were provided)
— Ross Garber (@rossgarber) November 29, 2018
Former DOJ official and MSNBC security analyst Matthew Miller concurred with Garber, adding:
Feels like Mueller was waiting for Trump to turn his answers in before he moved to the next phase, and now that he has them, the other shoes are starting to drop. Cohen first, then Corsi, Stone, and….?
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) November 29, 2018
Former Obama White House ethics attorney Norm Eisen also weighed in on how Mueller had just done a number on Trump:
Friends, no coincidence that the Cohen deal implicating Trump personally in Russia contacts during campaign is announced just AFTER Mueller locked Trump in on collusion in writing–& just BEFORE Trump will be face to face with Putin. As I have said all along: Bob loves surprises https://t.co/8iLsOuqSDy
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) November 29, 2018
And Neil Katyal, who served as solicitor general in the Obama administration, pointed out that Trump’s name was all over the plea agreement filed in court Thursday:
Cohen’s plea evidently has Trump all over the document including 3 discussions with Trump. Full doc Should be public soon. https://t.co/708HkHe9NK
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) November 29, 2018
Also, Mueller waited until the day he knew Trump would be leaving for the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires to make his big reveal in a Manhattan courtroom with Cohen. Cohen stood and calmly explained to the judge exactly what he had lied about in testimony he gave to the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this year. And he also made clear that Trump had personally instructed him to make numerous trips to Moscow in an attempt to get approval for a Trump Tower to be built in Russia.
All of this suggests that not only does Mueller have the goods on Donald Trump, but he’s preparing to move on the Trump Organization and members of the Trump family (Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric) who also have key positions within the Trump business structure.
Not only did Robert Mueller manage to play Trump and Trump’s attorneys like a damn fiddle, he also let the world know that he has all the evidence he needs to destroy this illegitimate president.
Lock all of the traitors up, Mr. Mueller!