The news that the criminal investigation of the Russia scandal has reached a senior Trump adviser in the West Wing of the White House is the latest crippling blow for an administration on the verge of collapse.
The Washington Post reported, “The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter. The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.”
The fact that the significant person of interest is a senior White House official inside the West Wing means that there has been a breach in Trump’s firewall of plausible deniability. Yesterday, during his press conference, Trump carefully noted that he personally did not collude with Russia to win the election, but it doesn’t really matter if he made the phone calls or not. If the President knew about the collusion or was part of the plot, he is guilty.
Trump keeps a minuscule circle of senior advisers around him in the West Wing. The worst case scenario for the Republican Party itself would be if this person of interest were former RNC Chair Reince Priebus because his involvement would expand the scandal beyond Trump and to the entire party. The worst case scenario for Trump is that this person of interest is either the President himself or his son in law Jared Kushner.
The criminal investigation has reached the West Wing of the White House. It is becoming impossible for Trump to claim that he had no knowledge of the activities of his own campaign, especially since a significant person of interest works in the West Wing with him in the White House.
As a reminder, this is a criminal investigation. It is a process that does not guarantee criminal charges. It will take time to resolve itself. On average, presidential scandals take two years or more to resolve fully.
That being said, it feels like this Republican administration is teetering on the brink and only seems like a matter of time until the final decisive blow arrives that will topple Trump and remove him from the presidency.