Wagons are circling, the noose is tightening or the drama is drawing to a close. No matter which of these metaphors you choose, special counsel Robert Mueller’s methodical, secretive probe into the Trump administration’s collusion with Russia during the last presidential campaign might be fully revealed before the end of the week.
The damaging evidence against Trump took a dramatic leap with the court filings of Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, and Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman. Besides what they might disclose, there are the truths that could emerge from Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as he waffles in his quest for leniency for lying under oath about his client’s machinations with Russia.
Moreover, perhaps the nation will gain a better idea of the questions posed by Mueller to Trump, although it’s hard to believe there will be much there to incriminate him. What is most intriguing is the way the special counsel and his team of 17 lawyers are building their case, which has already corralled a number of Russians and prepared a trove of subpoenas.
And whatever happened to Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy, and what revelations will spill from his testimony on the Ukraine debacle and fraudulent arrangements?
The major tipping point might stem from Cohen’s twists and turns as his sentencing date in a week or so arrives. But this development, like so much of Mueller’s tactics, will be carefully considered, mainly to assure that enough evidence is presented to protect Mueller should Trump decide to fire him.
Playing his cards close to the vest, Mueller, other than a foray into members of Trump’s family, has disclosed no direct allegations that Trump might have obstructed justice, particularly with the firing of former FBI chief James Comey, who has promised to testify behind closed doors. The obstruction of justice charge is possibly the final shoe to fall.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted Monday, “He lied for this outcome,” referring to Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for the president, “and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”