According to Donald Trump, the indictments announced in February by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities prove that he’s done nothing wrong. There’s been “no collusion,” Trump bragged on Twitter:
Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018
But the facts about the Mueller probe are light years away from what Trump is asserting. And the direction the investigation is now going in is especially troublesome for Trump because it involves money.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s business partner, Rick Gates, is the latest Trump campaign official to cut a deal with Mueller. In exchange for a reduced charge and leniency at sentencing, Gates is about to tell everything he knows about Russian money flowing into the Trump Organization over the years and how that included the federal crime of money laundering.
Back in February, former U.S. intelligence officer Malcolm Nance commented:
With Gates turned state evidence Manafort will plead soon. He will give up Trump, Kushner & Trump jr for a deal. Mueller’s Money laundering end game could come as fast in 60-90 days. Does not mean impeachment but will open up Trump’s tax returns. https://t.co/ik7pDRyTE3
— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) February 18, 2018
Ah yes, the Trump tax returns. The tax returns he refuses to release, no matter what. Mueller probably has them already, but Manafort and Gates can provide a blueprint that will allow investigators to find the source of all the funds sloshing around in Trump’s various bank accounts and business ventures.
Robert Kuttner, a professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School, explains why the indictments handed down against the Russians are so damaging to Trump:
“Trump and his family relied on massive bailouts of his failing business enterprises from Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin. When he became a presidential candidate, the Russians treated him as an asset ― a useful idiot, as Stalinists used to put it. And when the campaign finalists turned out to be Trump versus the hard-line Clinton, the Russians sought to destroy her and elect Trump. Trump, meanwhile, became the most pro-Russia president in U.S. history, refusing to breathe a word of criticism of Putin, behaving like the head of a client state. This much of the story is hidden in plain view.”
For Trump, money is valued above all else. But that mindset, which has gotten him so far during his life and career, could wind up being the Achilles heel which leads to his destruction. And that final act of immolation is likely to transpire before the end of spring.
Long live the resistance!