J: Check this out, T – apparently Flynn Daddy’s head is being measured for the stocks as we speak.
T: That one was predictable, I think. Is it tied more directly to collusion?
J: I think so… Flynn has more direct international contacts, and the whole Turkish problem, too.
T: Money laundering keeps coming up.
J: You have to wonder if any of that money made its way to the campaign. If it did, that’s serious trouble for Trump.
T: I have a feeling that the money mostly made it into Manafort and Flynn’s pockets, but you never know. Both those guys are pretty much espionage agents for hire.
J: That could be too, but you know Mueller’s people are following the money.
T: Oh yeah – anyone in front of them who thinks they can hide money is betting against roosters at sunrise.
J: We expected Flynn to get charged eventually… who’s going to be next on the guest list at Club Fed? Manafort and Flynn were obvious… now we’re getting into less-obvious choices, and choices that could be more problematical for Trump. Page or Stone, maybe… could he charge a Russian national with something? If so, the ambassador might have a problem.
T: Hard to say, now that the bottom branches are picked over. Carter Page?
More likely, it’ll be somebody below the radar. Somebody connected on the other side of the money deals, maybe? Bankers? Investors?
Whoever it is, the next falling domino should give us an idea what direction the investigation is heading.
J: Yeah, the next one will tell us what direction Mueller is going, and who among the higher-ups is going to be on the hot seat next.
T: I sense that we are going to learn some new names.
J: Stone might give Mueller enough to go after one of the kids, or Kushner.
T: I expect ‘em to get Stone eventually, but I think he’s too big a fish to hook early. My guess is that he’ll get taken down when one of the early worms turn. Page, maybe?
J: Yeah, I wonder how many Papadopouloses (Papadopouli?) there are yet to come, guys who didn’t make a lot of headlines but have critical pieces of the puzzle.
T: How about an indictment in absentia for Assange?
J: Maybe… at some point they’ll probably push harder to extradite him than they have.
T: I doubt they want him in a pink jumper; I think they want him to come be their tattletale for a minute. First Amendment issues would make an Assange indictment a minefield even birds won’t fly over, but they want to know who gave him the emails.
J: If they have enough evidence to charge the Flynns, I would expect them to move on it: don’t give your targets time to flee the country.
T: Do you think we’ll have another round of indictments this week?
J: I’ll be interested to see if there are more than two indictments. Sessions was called back in front of the Judiciary Committee; he has some trouble coming up too, it would seem.
T: I can’t help feeling like the Flynn and Manafort indictments are either well out in front of the main event – or they ARE the main event. This might be it for the big ones.
Anyone beyond Manafort and Flynn will be bombshells at this point, won’t they? I mean anyone we’ve heard of, or anyone who can take the big names down.
J: Manafort and Flynn were pretty obviously targets from the word go; anyone beyond them, particularly anyone in Trump’s inner circle, would be a bombshell indeed. I thought it was interesting that Trump’s lawyer said that any investigation of Trump’s financial dealings would be out of bounds… he might as well have said, “Look over here, Bob! Here’s some dirt!”
T: Oh, I think that’s one of those misleading things, though. I see three sides to that; give me a second to explain. The story is coming out in three ways, one from the needy media, one from the left media, and one from the right media, to simplify it.
Needy media – that’s the “Hey, look over here!” perception. By saying “hands off my finances” – especially in light of his refusal to reveal his tax returns – Trump and his lawyer are seen as trying to bully Mueller into staying away.
Left media – variation on needy, where “Of course he’s dirty, that’s why he’s hiding his taxes!” replaces “Why would he point at his finances if he has nothing to hide?”
Right media – little green men are kidnapping our virgin daughters and turning them into strippers. Oh, and of course the media made this shit up. Trump’s finances ain’t got shit to do with Russia so leave him alone or we’ll sic Elvis and his 8,000 love children on you. And yes, of course Elvis is still alive. I haven’t seen the body; have you?
T: The truth, as usual, is in the middle. The truth: Trump is paranoid about his finances, but fuck him, the whiny bitch. Mister President, you hired these guys.
Manafort: money laundering. Flynn: money laundering. Let’s see those tax returns, Donny.
J: I don’t think Trump is as dirty as the left media paints him, but he’s definitely not as simon-pure as the right would have you believe, either.
T: I think the point here is that his finances have to be part of the investigation. Whether he’s dirty or not doesn’t really matter at this point. His finances can’t be considered to be pristine and pure with all the money laundering surrounding the campaign. No fiery judgment here – just a lot of smoky probable cause.
J: I think that will be Mueller’s argument.
Whether it carries enough weight to get a warrant is another matter.
Y: Well, he doesn’t have to start in 1987. He needs to start with the campaign finances and see if there is a trail that takes him to Trump’s taxes first. I imagine he’s been working on that for several months, though. I wonder where he is at the moment? Does the lawyer comment mean Mueller is reaching back around, scratching a spot where Trump is a little ticklish about his tax returns?
J: It might be… or maybe Mueller got in contact with Trump’s accounting firm or something, and the CPAs called the lawyers, and thus the warning.
T: Yeah, something tickled the lawyer’s sense of privacy, if not actual shame.
J: The Whitewater investigation ended up looking into blowjobs, so I don’t see how the lawyer can claim anything is off limits.
T: I really hope that’s not what this is going to be, just another fucking witch hunt. If Trump didn’t collude, let’s not spend the next six years desperately looking for excuse to hang him. If he’s honest, leave him alone. Don’t let him take the launch codes into the shitter, but leave him alone.
J: It’s pretty early in the game, but I’m inclined to agree with you, except that I’m on the side of “if he’s not dirty, why not release the taxes?” Release the returns, endure the firestorm, and let’s all move on.
T: I can see why he doesn’t want to let them go, even if he’s “clean”. He’s mister corporate welfare – perhaps the largest beneficiary of corporate welfare ever.
J: I doubt he’s truly “clean”, but anything that’s even remotely questionable is going to be played up in the media for weeks… a lot of them DO have a hard-on for him, anything that makes him look bad gets above-the-fold treatment.
T: Yep. It’s pretty much the same reason Hillary didn’t want to release those “personal” emails. Nobody wants the world to see them without makeup, and these people are (1) public figures and (2) pretty shitty people. Trump’s tax returns and Hillary’s “private” emails are hidden like we hide our porn.
J: That’s why we clear our browser histories regularly. They can’t, though. Everything they do is public record, forever.
T: I clear mine religiously: every Sunday, and twice on high holy days.
J: I have an agreement with my stepson. Whichever of us dies first, the other one has to clear the browser history.
T: I think I’ll go do that now, while I thinking about it.
J: Yeah, then go take a shower.