Special counsel Robert Mueller’s intensive investigation into the misuse of power by president Donald Trump reveals massive misuse of power, outright theft of public funds and not before seen levels of graft and corruption on a national scale, sources close to the investigation say.
“It is the oldest trick in the political playbook,” says a former justice department lawyer. “All Mueller has to do is ‘follow the money.’ ”
Interviews with dozens of political operatives, White House insiders and longtime Washington watchers show a president with the lowest public approval rating in history and a chaotic government that is out of control.
Close examinations of Trump’s bizarre tax returns provide what investigators call “an extensive roadmap” of money trails that raise serious questions about money laundering, public and private grafts and bribes and slight-of-hand fund transfers that have kept investigators busy in the probe that has already consumed millions of dollars by Mueller’s team of lawyers and investigators.
Trump, their investigations reveals, shows no regard for law, accepted standards of business or personal behavior or the rules that are supposed to govern a president and keep him in check by a government that is supposed to prevent his shenanigans.
Trump’s lawyers dismiss his actions with claims that a president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice or cannot be sued for his transgressions or hauled into court. Constitutional lawyers scoff at such claims.
Mueller’s ever-widening investigations are expected to bring charges against Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, first son Donald Trump Jr. and possibly daughter Ivanka Trump for mixing government actions with moves to enrich the family real estate business and pay bills for Trump and his lavish lifestyle.
American taxpayers pay the tab for trips to foreign capitals for Donald Trump Jr. to make deals for hotels and other properties for the family business while Ivanka Trump promotes her fashion business in government events. Kushner’s involvement in collusion with Russian governmental officials is expected to be a highlight of indictments against him with former White House strategic advisor Michael Flynn providing evidence directly to Mueller.
“The Donald Trump presidency is a real-life ‘House of Cards’ that will provide fodder for history and political science buffs for decades,” says one longtime Washington lawyer.
Those who know Trump say he is “coming apart at the seams” with his angry Twitter tantrums that provide even more ammunition for Mueller’s teams. His claims that he, himself, decided to fire Flynn for lying about contacts with Russia shows more knowledge of the Russian role than he has admitted before and his tirades against the FBI and anyone who questions him deepen the hole he is digging for himself.
“He’s out of control,” says a former White House staff member who says he left on his own because “I finally had to accept Donald Trump for what he is: A con artist.”
Public polls show continuing drops in support among even hard-core Trump supporters. A growing number of those who expected him to be a “hero of the working class” now see his actions as “taking care of his rich buddies” while “screwing the rest of us.”
“He continues to play to a base that is shrinking,” a Republican pollster confides privately. “Our surveys show diminishing returns for those who have anything to do with our president.”
Yet Republicans continue to shrink away from publicly criticising Trump, even casting votes for a tax plan they didn’t read before approving and now finding anger back home from voters who are discovering what it does to them.
“When Trump crashes, the collateral damage should inflict mortal wounds on the GOP,” says a former party operative. “Hell, it could wipe out the political system as we know it. That could be the real success story of Donald Trump.”
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