Special counsel Robert Mueller has, in a very short span of time, succeeded in validating the existence of his own investigation. He’s already indicted several Trump team members, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has also been forced to face justice at Mueller’s hand, with the announcement that he has struck a plea deal and is cooperating with the probe sending shockwaves through the capital.
The public is becoming increasingly convinced that Trump conspired with Russia, but up till now, it has been unclear what the president really thought about the ongoing investigation. He’s publicly maligned the probe and insisted on his innocence. Now, we have a better sense of how he actually feels.
CNN reports that Trump has been telling people in private that he expects Mueller to fully exonerate him, insisting that he’ll receive an official letter from the special counsel clearing him of any wrongdoing. He believes this letter will allow him to step in front of the country and the rest of the world and disperse the suspicion that has plagued his administration from the start. In private, he refers to the investigation as “b*llshit.” He also claims he doesn’t know any Russians, which is demonstrably untrue.
The sources also told CNN that Trump has been less visibly frustrated by the probe in recent weeks. It’s unclear if the president has truly deluded himself into thinking the investigation is in its final, exculpatory stretch, or if he is simply blustering and projecting confidence to those around him. One source stated that Trump’s lawyers, in their efforts to manage him and prevent him from flying out of control, have lulled him into a false sense of security.
Some close to Trump fear that he isn’t taking the threat of the investigation seriously enough, which is hardly surprising. Here is a man who has failed his way upwards his entire life, relying on the privileged standing of his birth to sail through mistakes and crimes that would ruin the lives of most people.
He has never been forced to face meaningful consequences before and so lacks the ability to contextualize and deal with his current predicament. The sources suspect that if the probe doesn’t wind down soon — as Trump says he expects it to — the president will fly into a rage.
“The President’s mantra is ‘All this Russia stuff, it’s all going to wrap up soon.’ He repeats it as fact. Part of me is like — ‘Are you serious? You believe this?'” one source told CNN.
Some Democrats fear that Trump will fire Mueller if the investigation goes on too long, or if the special counsel gets too close to the president. It’s a concern that some within Trump’s own camp share, with many warning him that any such action would destroy his presidency. One source predicts that if Trump doesn’t get his little letter he will become enraged, fire Mueller, and be summarily impeached.
There is an added danger for the Trump presidency going into 2018, as many expect Democrats to seize back control of Congress. If that happens, they would be able to hold public hearings, which would further sap the president’s approval ratings and grind his agenda to a halt as unsavory details about him and his team are finally brought to light.
Only time will tell what the full extent of Robert Mueller’s investigation will reveal, but the safest bet seems to be that it will be going on for quite some time. The president is lying to himself and those around him if he says otherwise. Buckle up Donald, things will only get tougher from here out.