It was only eight days ago that I wrote Trump Will Be Brought Down By His Own People. In that piece, I made the point that witnesses like Rick Gates and Michael Flynn will be providing the most compelling evidence against President Trump. I noted that the Office of Special Counsel has interviewed virtually everyone in the Trump’s inner circle, and that most of them probably told the truth while others were compelled to sign cooperation agreements. Susan Glasser provides another take on this in a new piece in The New Yorker:
“Largely overlooked in the daily flood of Trump-era news, a week ago, his former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said in an interview that Trump had repeatedly pressed him to violate the law… The coverage of Tillerson’s interview with the journalist Bob Schieffer focussed more on Trump’s outraged response than on the underlying revelation… But Tillerson’s allegation was more than just another bout of Trump-era name-calling between a former Secretary of State who once called his boss a “fucking moron” and the President who fired him by tweet. Imagine Tillerson before Congress come January, testifying under oath and live on television, about which laws Trump told him to break.”
This morning, Michael Cohen appeared on ABC News with George Stephanopolous and made two important points. First, he reiterated that he did nothing unless directed to do it by Donald Trump, and that Trump was fully aware that he was requesting Cohen to commit crimes. Second, when asked whether Trump has been telling the truth about his collusion with the Russians, Cohen responded, “No.”
So, to make my original point again, you can anticipate a parade of witnesses against Trump. But those witnesses won’t be tell-all mistresses or victims of sexual harassment or victims of fraud and aggrieved contractors or pissed off members of the intelligence community. They will be people from Trump’s inner circle who are often testifying reluctantly, and under duress. In some cases, like with Rex Tillerson, the testimony may not be all that reluctant, but it will still come from members of the campaign or administration who were firsthand witnesses to a conspiracy or crimes of grossly unethical behavior. I’m thinking of people like Reince Priebus and Don McGahn.
These are the kinds of people who Republican senators are supposed to dismiss if they’re going to hold the line for Donald Trump.
Anything is possible with this generation of Republicans, but I have confidence that this line will not hold.