24 February 2018


Yesterday, Donald Trump's assistant campaign chairman Rick Gates pleaded guilty to two criminal counts, conspiracy and lying to the FBI (details here). He is now the fifth of the six indicted Americans to plead guilty and, like the others, he is now cooperating with and providing testimony to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director supervising the criminal investigation into the President and his associates.

The only indicted American who has not pleaded guilty to date is Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chair. Gates and others undoubtedly are now providing closed-door testimony to the grand jury about Manafort and possibly Trump and/or his family and associates.

One would not be histrionic to declare that all hope seems now lost for Manafort. As Charles Pierce noted at Esquire (link here), "He is on a spit over an open flame and it’s turning ever faster. The skin is starting to crackle and Paul Manafort is almost done and ready for serving. And Manafort, unless he’s an idiot, which nobody thinks he is, has to be pretty close to serving up the only person he can serve up."

That one person, of course, is Trump.

But then maybe not. Mueller's sights may first be set on two vulnerable targets: Don Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, the latter being the President's son-in-law. If either or both of them are indicted, they can't claim any kind of immunity like Trump possibly could.

If he indicts one or both, Mueller might be trying to set up the President to do something particularly risky and self-destructive: pardon his own relatives. That could set in motion a constitutional crisis, with Republicans in Congress finally breaking with Trump if voter outrage is sufficient.

As well, it could trigger a legal challenge from prominent members of Congress and even some officials within the Justice Department, given no President has ever pardoned his own relatives before.

It also would put Trump's relations in a curious position: they could be forced to testify against the President. If a person accepts a pardon, he or she admits to guilt and the Fifth Amendment no longer applies, because there's no danger of self-incrimination.

If such individual refuses to testify and/or perjures him or herself, criminal contempt charges would be levied. Would Trump then pardon his relatives a second time?

Hopefully if we are far down this dangerous road, voter fury would be loud and strong enough that Republican members of Congress would see the writing on the wall and vote to impeach and remove from office.

We live in interesting if not dangerous times. Stay tuned.


  1. Anonymous03:51

    La hora de la gran verdad se acerca.Este modelo es culpable de acerarme el libido.Amigo venezolano,Cucuta

  2. ... W O W! such a pretty picture :)


Speak up!