The common wisdom around Trump's pardoning of America's Most Racist Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, is that it was blood red meat to his white nationalist base but also a message to those being targeted by the investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. By abusing the presidential pardon for purely political reasons to rescue an ally, Trump was telling them that they are "made men" (to borrow an entirely appropriate mob phrase); that they're protected.
But if Trump thought pardoning Arpaio would send a signal of safety, Special Counsel Robert Mueller just sent a much louder signal: Good luck with that.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.
It's almost a certainty that Trump was not aware that his power to pardon does not extend to the state level. This puts a serious cramp in his plans because much of the criminal activity under investigation is of a financial nature. Even worse, because so much of it involves Trump's New York real estate as well as money laundering through big banks that have branches in New York, it all falls under Schneiderman's jurisdiction. Conveniently, most of Trump's inner circle are con artists that do a lot of shady business in New York, making them vulnerable to Schneiderman's attentions as well. Birds of a feather flock together. And get caught in the same net. And then plucked, cooked and, ah you get the idea.
If Trump sticks to his usual game plan, we can expect to see a sudden surge of attacks on Schneiderman in the near future. Or rather, a renewed surge since Trump has already spent time tweetraging at the attorney general while he was winning the case against Trump's university scam. Trump never forgets a grudge and he has a lot more to lose than just money this time. Cooperative witnesses will be able to end his presidency.
Accordingly, look for a sudden interest from Fox News, Breitbart, AM Hate Radio and Republicans into every detail of Schneiderman's life. Is he a friend of Hillary Clinton? Bias! Has he ever been in the same room as James Comey? Bias! Does he like Dijon mustard on his hamburger? Elitist snob! We know how this story goes. Republicans are masters of the politics of personal destruction. Why argue the merits when you can invent a scandal to remove people from the board?
Oh, and he's Jewish so look for the alt-right to have screaming meltdowns over that.
If Trump was alarmed before, his hair is going to be on fire now. Unlike Mueller, Trump has no feasible way to obstruct Schneiderman. And if there's one thing that drives Donald trump wild, it's not being able to bully, intimidate or fire people who anger him.
This is going to get ugly.
There are 431 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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