If you’re in a war and you have strong adversaries who have surrounded you, it’s advisable to surrender so you can live to fight another day.
Donald Trump has just been surrounded by new legal problems that could be his undoing, but he has no intentions of surrendering. Instead, he’ll probably just deny everything and go to twitter to attack his opponents.
But that strategy may not work given the extremely serious legal developments which have arisen in the past two days:
- The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump’s former attorney John Dowd tried to negotiate pardons for Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn. It appears that Dowd was doing this to keep Manafort and Flynn from testifying against Trump in the Mueller probe. If true, then this would be witness tampering and obstruction of justice. So now Mueller has even more material to explore in bringing possible criminal charges against the president.
- New evidence came out on Tuesday that Mueller’s team may have proof that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates had been in contact with a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 campaign. A court filing by Mueller said that a person who worked with Manafort and Gates not only “has ties to a Russian intelligence service” but in fact he was a former GRU intelligence officer according to the filing.
- The Washington Post had reported on Wednesday that Konstantin Kilimnik, a long-time Manafort associate who oversaw one of his business offices in Kiev, Ukraine, had meetings with both Manafort and Gates during Trump’s campaign for the presidency. Tuesday’s court filing by Mueller was the first time he put it on the record that the man was an active Russian spy in 2016. If Mueller is engaged in a “witch hunt” then Kilimnik is the witch.
- Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti on Wednesday filed a new defamation suit against Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, hoping to force the president to testify under oath. “We want to know the truth about what the President knew, when he knew about it and what he did about it,” Avenatti said.
- Trump has two other lawsuits against him, by Summer Zervos and Karen McDougal, and both of these could force Trump to testify also, and be subjected to the legal discovery process. If that happens many facts may come out that Trump would rather keep secret. Plus, he could be prosecuted for perjury if he doesn’t tell the truth (which he seldom does).
- Trump’s legal tangle became even more complicated Wednesday when a federal judge gave the go-ahead to a lawsuit alleging that Trump took illegal foreign gifts. He ruled that foreign governments payments of large amounts of money to hold events at Trump’s Washington, DC hotel were hurting other hotels in the District of Columbia and Maryland. This may be a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, and this could open Trump to an impeachment charge.
All of these court cases when added together expose the President to new legal jeopardy that could bring him down. They increase the possibility that his most closely-guarded secrets will be exposed to the public eye through the discovery process. His business history and sexual history might both become targets of the world-class lawyers working for his opponents.
These lawsuits may very will bring out new information that will end Trump’s presidency. If so, then justice will have been served.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.