The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    How Robert Mueller Outfoxed Donald Trump

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces a unique challenge in his investigation of Russian influence during the 2016 election. In addition to gathering information and prosecuting criminals, he has had to avoid getting fired by his resentful, mercurial, and unscrupulous commander-in-chief. Fifteen months into the investigation, he appears to have done a masterful job. By manipulating and distracting Donald Trump and his team of lawyers, he has not only preserved his job, he has maintained complete autonomy and seeded a cluster of spinoff investigations that will be nearly impossible for the White House to stifle. And despite Trump’s insistence that he’s “totally allowed” to intervene whenever he chooses, he won’t dare make a move this close to the midterm election, which means Mueller’s investigation will be protected for at least three more months.

    How has he done it?

    Read the article at Daily Beast



    Great piece, Michael.  I kinda hope trump’s team doesn’t read it though, LOL!  It is clearly written, and presents a view many had not considered, I think.  

    Thanks, CVille. It's too late for Trump to make his move in any case. If was going to do it, he should have done it much earlier. Now he'll have to wait until at least November.

    Marcy Wheeler's noted he has investigators/legal teams for maybe 9-12 areas, my soft brain has trouble keeping up. Trump declared in June 2017 he'd be willing to talk to Mueller. Yes, the obstruction focus may work in Mueller's favor, though it gives Trump's team a bit of a tack at "see, we didn't obstruct" as excuse to shut down - we'll see.

    NO COLUSHUN !!  tHE tRUMPS jUST aanted to save the RUSSIAN ORPHANS..!!


    nice photo choice, those Russian orphans are even cuter than puppies

    Yeah, Trump has a soft spot for children without parents.

    I know a pizzeria...

    Wrong! Children without parents get attention and affection that should be paid to me!

    Another slow roll out is the background of financial benefits the Trump family has enjoyed from multiple transactions with Russian rich people. The first Manafort trial introduced what evidence of that kind looks like in court and how difficult it is to make it mean anything other than what it is.
    The Special Counsel is leaving a way out for Trump. He can leave on his own terms. Each indictment shrinks that option.
    Forests moving closer to fortified positions.

    Excellent point. I wish that I'd mentioned it.

    Love this.  Though I always thought the “resolution is weeks away” bit isn’t something Trump’s lawyers believed so much as a lie they told to mollify their client.  Though your explanation makes more sense since you can only roll the “weeks away” line once or twice unless you’re talking about ending the Iraq War.

    Little of both, I suspect. Both Mueller and Trump's lawyers wanted to discourage him from doing something rash. Though who knows with Giuliani; he seems to have been sucked into Trump's fantasyland. 

    Bravo, Michael! Great piece.

    Thanks, Doc. Nice to write something that isn't about the progressive era for a change.

    Certainly doesn't look like Kansas, Toto.

    Now that Mueller has apparently agreed to accept at least some answers in writing from Trump, does that change the calculous in any measurable way?

    Notably, the concession (if it is one at all) deals strictly with the matter of the campaign and possible collusion with Russia, nothing else:

    Mueller did not rule out interviewing the president as part of his wide-ranging inquiry. His Friday letter indicated that he may revisit his long-running request to pose questions to Trump directly about Russia’s activities during the campaign after reviewing his answers.

    And the special counsel left open the possibility that he may still try to press Trump in person about a second piece of his investigation: whether the president has sought to block the probe since taking office.


    But this is Mueller's "you be loving it" strategy that Michael writes about - keep Trump focused on obstruction, give him hope that a slick well-lawyered response to Mueller in writing will get him off the hook, while that forest inches steadily closer to Trump - legally and PR-wise, like with Woodward and his own gaffes. But good that the Daily Caller can chat with Trump, but not Mueller or Woodward. Most. Transparent. Administratiin. Ever.

    ETA: Abramson thinks this is Mueller calling Trump's bluff, and doubts Trump will even answer in writing.

    It is good that Trump feels like he can chat with the likes of the Daily Caller and various Fox news folks, because he unwittingly gives Mueller ammunition every time he does- just like with his tweets.  There's the transparency we've all learned to demand, and then there's the transparency that Trump offers up every given day.

    That Mueller is calling Trump's bluff is a no-brainer, always has been.  Of course he's dealing with the various and sundry attorneys representing Trump, so it's been a merry-go-lawyer situation from the start ... yet I doubt that the comings and goings of Trump's legal team has caused even a bead of sweat on Mueller's forehead.  He's focused, and he's also pragmatic enough to know when to nod and when to punch.  Bet'cha Hillary gets it.  wink

    Yep, another example of Mueller sidestepping confrontation to give his investigation more rope.

    On potential obstruction-of-justice issues, “he said he’d assess it down the road,” said one person familiar with Mueller’s letter who requested anonymity to discuss private communications. “They’re essentially saying, ‘We’ll deal with this at a later date.’”

    Michael, I saw this when it appeared in the Daily Beast. Well done. 

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