Nov 13, 2017
On October 30, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicted Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates on 12 counts, including money laundering, making false statements, and conspiracy against the United States.
On the same day, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign, pled guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials while he was with the Trump campaign.
With these indictments and guilty pleas, Mueller is signaling that he’s going after Trump himself. It’s clear that these are just the beginning. It’s also clear that these indictments and guilty pleas are meant to be first steps in “working up the chain of command,” to the very top if necessary.
The charges against Manafort and Gates include activities that go all the way back to at least 2006, when they began working as highly paid lobbyists for a Ukrainian government with connections to Russia – without revealing that connection or those millions of dollars in payments. Commentators have noted that Manafort probably could have continued to make a killing as an agent of a foreign government for years into the future – if only he hadn’t gotten mixed up in the Trump campaign.
Trump himself appears to have financial connections to Russian mobsters, who very conveniently bought floors in Trump Tower and paid to construct buildings with his name on them – starting 20 years ago, after he declared bankruptcy.
And again, he probably could continue to have shady connections to Russian mobsters for another 20 years – if only he hadn’t become president, and if only he weren’t so arrogant.
Because Trump’s biggest crime, as far as the Feds are concerned, is that he picked a fight with the wrong people – the state apparatus itself. Starting when he asked James Comey, the FBI director, to stop investigating Michael Flynn, and then fired Comey when he didn’t, and continuing with every tweet attacking the investigation itself, he has just compounded his problems.
Trump and all his appointees have caused problems for the State Department, the military, and the FBI and Justice Department – all the big apparatuses that the U.S. ruling class uses to push its interests here and around the globe. And every time they send him a message that he’d better knock it off, he demonstrates that he’s uncontrollable. And so they ramp up the investigations even further.
They’d rather just bring him to heel. But if removing the president is the only way to keep their apparatus running smoothly, they’ll do it.
Trump’s big mistake has been that he thinks he’s bigger than the bourgeois state itself. He’s finding out that the state apparatus is not the new “Apprentice” – he can’t just dismiss it with a tweet.