By late Monday evening, some television pundits were calling October 30, 2017 a very “historic” night in American politics. They were also saying that Donald Trump should be afraid of what is coming as Special Counsel Robert Mueller forges ahead in his investigations. Based on Trump’s early morning tweets to distract America, he is already sweating.
United States attorneys have three primary responsibilities pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 547. Among their most important duties, they prosecute both criminal cases brought by the federal government and civil cases in which the United States is a party. United States attorneys also boast a significantly high ratio of prosecutorial successes. When it comes to the “long arm of the law” federal prosecutors have the longest reaches.
According to the United States Department of Justice, in 2013 U.S. attorneys received over 72,000 criminal matters in the United States District Courts. Of those cases brought to prosecution, federal prosecutors won 57,156 guilty verdicts and 186 not guilty decisions. Some cases were dismissed and others were settled by various judicial mechanisms including Rule 20 transfers, but 80% of the criminal cases pursued by federal attorneys resulted in a guilty verdict.
There is a reason Robert Mueller has already obtained one guilty plea in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. He does what United States attorneys are accustomed to doing — dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s.
Before the public spectacle of Monday’s indictment release and the arrest of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Mueller had already secured an indictment and guilty plea from George Papadopoulos. All former members of the Trump 2016 campaign team, the men’s arrests present a major obstacle for Trump — Papadopoulos’ guilty plea in particular could be the crux of Trump’s downfall.
That Mueller gained an early foothold with a guilty plea has reinvigorated the investigation and struck fear into the hearts of not only Trump, but republican members of congress as a whole. Monday night brought a wave of silence from both House and Senate members who previously had spoken out — and loudly — in support of Trump even in the face of his tanking public opinion polls. Everyone in Washington is waiting for the next indictment to drop, knowing that Mueller is one of the best at what he does among United States attorneys.
Even Trump himself has been unusually tame today — fuming in private perhaps, with his tail between his legs. One of his last early morning tweets complained that Manafort’s alleged criminal activity occurred long before he signed on as a member of the Trump campaign. He ignored reporters’ questions about Manafort and White House insiders are talking about the “walls closing in” on Trump as he seethes in the Oval Office.
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
When Manafort conducted his illegal activity seems irrelevant considering Trump’s repeated assurances while vouching for Manafort, Gates, and Papadopoulos. There is a certain guilt by association that accompanies Monday’s indictments and arrest that Trump will be unable to avoid.
In response to the growing pressure from Mueller’s investigation, the White House has increased the dissemination of misinformation designed to mislead the public and refocus the media. This is a new low in American politics. Even Richard Nixon did not send Ron Ziegler out to lie with impunity to the press. What America is witnessing is a full-fledged assault on a democratic way of government by a power-hungry fascist businessman with dictatorial aspirations.
Trump can no longer disown the Manafort affair, and he cannot distance himself from those who aided and abetted his usurpation of the White House. For two years, Trump has been telling America about the “best people” that he chose to be part of regime. He has personally assured the press and public about their credentials and qualifications — even when there were none to cite. Three of those “best people” are now in custody.
Regardless of whether Robert Mueller can charge Trump, there will be a ripple effect from yesterday’s arrests. A leader is only as good as the people who support him, and Trump’s support is proving to be a rotten foundation. It will not be long before the tower crumbles.