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Abramson writes: "With special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation moving ever closer to President Trump himself, it looks like someone inside the family is about to be sacrificed."

Donald Trump. (photo: AP)
Donald Trump. (photo: AP)

Game of Trumps Is About to Get Really Bloody

By Jill Abramson, Guardian UK

05 December 17

The investigation is taking a new twist, as Donald Trump appears to be distancing himself from his son-in-law

ame of Trumps is about to get really bloody. With special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation moving ever closer to President Trump himself, it looks like someone inside the family is about to be sacrificed.

With Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleading guilty last week to the charge of lying to the FBI, much more about the Russia scandal is now coming into focus. The Flynn flip was by far the most dramatic event so far in the investigation into alleged Russian interference in 2016’s US presidential race. Flynn’s evidence can only lead up the chain of power towards Trump.

Consider this chronology. On 23 November it was widely reported that Flynn had informed the Trump legal team that he could no longer discuss the case with them. The end of cooperation with Trump surely signalled the beginning of cooperation with Mueller. Two days later the New York Times and Washington Post carried nearly identical stories about Jared Kushner’s waning influence.

The Times story had three bylines, including Maggie Haberman, the president’s go-to reporter. It concluded: “Mr Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who had been in seemingly every meeting and every photograph, has lately disappeared from public view and, according to some colleagues, taken on a more limited role behind the scenes.”

Ashley Parker, who was a frontline reporter on the Trump campaign for the Times and now covers the White House for the Post, parroted virtually the same line in a story headlined “The shrinking profile of Jared Kushner”.

Someone high up in the White House seemed anxious for the word to spread. The Times story was attributed, in part, to three “advisers to the president”. Parker’s included an earlier interview with Kushner and came “from interviews with Kushner himself, as well as 12 senior administration officials, aides, outside advisers and confidants, some speaking on condition of anonymity to offer a more candid assessment”.

Both stories raised the question of how long Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, the president’s daughter, would remain in Washington.

The Flynn plea deal makes clear that he was not acting as a lone ranger in his communications with Russian officials, including the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Documents show that Flynn was told to call the Russians and other key international officials to discuss the sanctions President Obama was placing on Russia for interfering in the US election. Within minutes of the plea deal being announced, several news organisations reported that Kushner was the one directing Flynn’s communications, which Flynn then lied about to the FBI.

In the statement Flynn made about his guilty plea, he noted that he made the decision to cooperate because it was in the best interests of his family. No doubt this is a reference to his own son, Michael Flynn Jr, who worked for his father during the transition.

Until now, Kushner has survived the fights that are common inside Trump’s circle. During the campaign he dictated changes in the campaign leadership. In the White House, he won a bloody duel with Steve Bannon, whose hard-right, nationalist agenda was set back as a result. But Kushner’s time may be up.

The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere. Before the Trumps were even in the White House, he tried to set up a backchannel to communicate with the Russians. He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council. Then there were the secret reassurances to the Russians that the Obama sanctions were nothing to worry about once Trump took office. Kushner was behind those machinations, too.

What he told the president about firing former FBI director James Comey will be critical in assessing whether Kushner is also vulnerable to obstruction of justice charges. Those details are yet to leak. Other clues include that fishy meeting during the campaign to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer close to Putin. Kushner was there, too. And, during the transition, his meeting with a sanctioned Russian bank. There was also the failure to include some of these contacts on his initial federal disclosure forms.

Declining power. Flynn turning state’s witness. It doesn’t look good for Kushner. When President Trump turned over his business empire to his two sons, he said that if they did a bad job he would not hesitate to say: “You’re fired.” The same is surely true for his son-in-law. But what Kushner fears more is Mueller saying: “You’re charged.” How he might deal with this, and what this might mean for President Trump, no one yet knows. your social media marketing partner


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+57 # Carol R 2017-12-05 10:32
"Both stories raised the question of how long Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, the president’s daughter, would remain in Washington."
Trump is only comfortable with people he can trust. How long will he be able to contain himself if Ivanka and Kushner leave? I've read that he already is yelling at the TV and aides are working to keep him calm. He is mentally unstable and this would possibly push him over the edge.

My personal belief is that they need to be gone and have no business being in the WH. Neither is qualified for the job.
+16 # goodsensecynic 2017-12-05 20:36
The question is: To whom does Ivanka have ultimate loyalty?

To her father?

To he husband?

Or is she secretly planning a quick flight to Shanghai where she can seek economic asylum and ratchet up her presence in the Chinese fashion houses and discount department stores.
+4 # indian weaver 2017-12-05 11:16
Too much conjecture, too many maybe's, might's, possibly's in this article to have any substance. Report stuff, not possible stuff, which is infinite.
+22 # RMF 2017-12-05 15:01

Flynn's guilty pleas certainly is not conjecture. Nor is the severance of ties between the Flynn and Trump legal teams, which clearly indicates Flynn is now singing to Mueller.

What more do you need to know -- just ask and I will gladly inform you in detail.
-17 # harleysch 2017-12-05 16:50
Typical of the Guardian, which has been at the forefront of "Russiagate" since the beginning. One of their correspondents wrote a book under a pseudonym, "To Kill the President" which essentially advocates assassination of Trump (Jonathan Freedland is his real name). Another just wrote a book in praise of Christopher Steele, the "ex"-MI6 operative, who wrote the dossier alleging Putin had video of Trump cavorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel -- which Mueller, despite prodigious effort, has been unable to verify!

Funny how British "meddling" -- going back to 2015, when the GCHQ first began looking into the Trump-Putin "connection", the role of Steele, etc. -- never comes under scrutiny. After the role of Blair pushing Bush with a fake dossier on Iraqi wmds, and Cameron pushing Obama and Clinton on regime change in Libya and Syria, maybe we should begin an investigation into British meddling in U.S. elections and policy!
+2 # Salburger 2017-12-06 07:19
This confuses the tail with the dog
+4 # librarian1984 2017-12-06 11:24
We're focused on the canard of Russian influence while England, Saudi Arabia and Israel are ignored, and China is being dealt with not at all. Sure, let's raise the debt a couple of trillion more. Let's sell every asset to foreign interests and then wring our hands, a multimegamedia flailing in fake hyperbole, over a few thousand dollars worth of Macedonian teens' Twitter and Facebook taunts.

The Giant Scam is live and running.
+6 # goodsensecynic 2017-12-05 17:53
The only interesting stuff is in Mueller's brief case. Until it's opened, there nothing to play but party games. Possible stuff may be infinite that doesn't mean it's not fun to speculate about.

And, besides, when the real agriculture hits the air conditioning, all this will be forgotten in a Mar-a-lago minute.
-3 # sbessho 2017-12-05 19:35
News reports about government are largely reports of what one person or another has said, often unofficially. In this way, a complete picture of a complicated story is put together over many weeks or months. If you only want to know what has definitely happened, just read Time or Newsweek after the fact.
+5 # Catskinner 2017-12-06 15:41
Just not sure that Time is about to remain a viable source for long...'Nuff said!
+28 # Blackjack 2017-12-05 13:15
This entire family has no loyalty to anyone except himself/herself . Any of them will sacrifice any of the others to save their own skin. So, who will rat on whom first? We don't know yet, but it will happen. . .and then that rat will rat on another rat. How great it would be if they all had to stew in their own lying juices . . .together in a federal prison is preferable!
-14 # PABLO DIABLO 2017-12-05 16:22
Nothing here more than gossip.
+23 # angelfish 2017-12-05 19:01
Trump is loyal to NO ONE, not even Family. Hopefully, Kushner will roll on him and Flush his Toilet once and for ALL! WHY Trump is allowed to continue his Rape and Pillage of this country while under Investigation is, Beyond Belief! Still sticking his Ignorant, Filthy Fingers into Every Pie in Washington is not only distateful, it's most likely Toxic as well! IMPEACH him and his ENTIRE Administration for their Treasonous Self-Serving Destruction of our Rules of Law and our Constitution, which they are bent on re-writing to favor NONE but the Mega-Wealthy! HOW is this Legal? He has NOT divested from ANY of his businesses and has made Millions of our Hard Earned tax Dollars running off to Mar-a-Lago and other Trump Venues! ALL he has done since assuming the Office is to Lie, Cheat, Obfuscte and Horrify our Allies, Our neighbors and the very people who give him FREE Rein to Play Golf and coerce our Allies to stay at his Flea-Bag Hotels! Is that NOT an Impeacheable Offence? He is Pyschopathic, unable to take Responsibility for ANYTHING that goes wrong but leaps right in to clain Kudos that belong to others, when things go right! A More Insecure, Infantile individual has Never occupied our Oval Office. God save us fromhim and his Evil Cabal of Mouth Breating, Knuckle-Draggin g Greedsters!
-7 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-06 14:42
"Flynn . . . pleading guilty last week to the charge of lying to the FBI, much more about the Russia scandal is now coming into focus. The Flynn flip was by far the most dramatic event so far in the investigation into alleged Russian interference in 2016’s US presidential race."

Did Abramson even read Mueller's indictment?

1. Mueller's indictment pushes Russia out of focus and Israel into the crosshairs. Mueller concedes that there was no connection between Russia and Trump's team before the election. He's concerned with the contact in January 2017. The real substance is Trump's working with Israel.

2. The Flynn flip was hardly dramatic. It was anti-climactic. I thought the meeting with Trump Jr and the Russian lawyer was the biggie. And the Facebook adverts.

I have to say that Russiagate is falling apart. Nothing is being accomplished, other than the destruction of Trump's presidency.

I read recently that everyone inside the white house is stressed. They don't know who is wearing wires for Meuller. They can't talk frankly to one another. It is odd that an unaccountable prosecutor can create this sort of disruption in the most secure place on earth. White House business relies on a high level of trust and confidence in the members of the staff. Mueller has been able to destroy that. My guess is that Mueller will be removed or something soon. No one would put up with his tactics. It may be that severe restrictions are imposed on his investigation
+2 # ericlipps 2017-12-06 18:44
Removed "or something"?

That sounds vaguely Mafia-esque, RR. What "something" did you have in mind? A convenient accident?
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-07 16:14
No, not mafia-esque. I just don't know what will happen to Mueller. I don't think he will go on for more than a year more. Something will happen. But of course, I don't have a crystal ball or something.
+1 # ljslotnick 2017-12-07 01:11
RR: You continue to disregard the fact that Republicans control the House and Senate. And Establishment Republicans want Trump gone. Of course, they are happy to take advantage of this Mueller investigation's public-attentio n-diversionary power to allow themselves the opportunity to: 1 - pass this heinous tax scam; 2 - corporatize the Internet; 3 - destroy the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and now 4 - legitimize Israel's decades-long land theft from Palestinians.
Who the F really cares how we get rid of this international embarrassment.. .this destroyer of civil society ? Maybe President Pence will turn Mueller's attention to the Clinton Foundation next. That would be fine by me and millions of others, and could truly unify the nation.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-07 16:22
Ijslot -- yes, thanks. Good points. All sides in congress love the distraction. The rape of the middle class, Palestinians, Arabs, and Asians goes on.

No doubt that republicans don't like Trump but they won't allow him to be impeached. Neither will democrats. After all, with Trump gone what would the democratic party have? A big fucking vacuum. Here's today's Wapo:

"House votes to kill Texas lawmaker’s Trump impeachment effort"

The vote was 364 to 58 to kill the impeachment bill. There are 188 democrats in the house, so 130 of them voted to kill the impeachment bill. Explain that? If I were a democrat in the house I would have voted "Yes" impeach the bastard.

All republicans voted to can the bill.

Pelosi, Hoyer, and the leadership voted to can the bill.

Democrats don't want to impeach Trump either. He's all they've got.

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