Monday’s indictments brought to mind the predictions a wise lawyer made this summer about the Trump-Russia investigation.
First, he predicted, Mueller would investigate the people around Trump. If he found possible crimes, he would indict them and offer them a choice: Help the investigation or go to prison. (Twenty years for Manafort.)
Then, the lawyer predicted, we’ll find out how much loyalty these people feel to Trump. Will they protect him, or will they sing?
Loyalty is a two-way street. We know how much loyalty Trump shows to the people around him. Like the “low-level volunteer” (Trump’s description) who has been cooperating with the investigation for months. Last year, Trump identified the same guy as one of five foreign-policy experts advising him. “Excellent guy,” Trump said then.
How much loyalty does that guy feel now?
To sum up the story so far, here’s a great analysis of Monday’s indictments from Lawfare:
“The first big takeaway…: The president of the United States had as his campaign chairman a man who had allegedly served for years as an unregistered foreign agent for a puppet government of Vladimir Putin, a man who was allegedly laundering remarkable sums of money even while running the now-president’s campaign, a man who allegedly lied about all of this to the FBI and the Justice Department.
“The second big takeaway is even starker: A member of President Trump’s campaign team admits that he was working with people he knew to be tied to the Russian government to “arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government officials” and to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of hacked emails—and that he lied about these activities to the FBI. He briefed President Trump on at least some of them.”