|"THE RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES" By ROBERT MAUD (1890)|
It by now a forgone conclusion that presidential candidate Donald Trump knew in advance of the most pungent and thoroughly documented example of collusion between his campaign and Russia -- the infamous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting called by Donald "If What You Say Is True I Love It" Trump Jr.
Steve Bannon has said as much ("The chance that Don. Jr did not walk these Jumos up to his father’s office on the 26th floor is zero") and now the news media is breathlessly reporting Michael Cohen can testify that he was with Trump when he was informed of the forthcoming Hillary Clinton dirt-dishing meeting and green-lighted it.
Which prompted Trump to excitedly announce a few hours later (even though neither Donald Jr., Jared Kushner or Paul Manafort told him about the meeting!) that "I am going to give a major speech . . . and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting."
Putting aside for a moment the irony-absent response of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's strip-mall lawyer, that Cohen "has been lying all week, he's been lying for years," as well as Trump's panicky tweet about "the ridiculous news that the highly conflicted Robert Mueller and his gang of 13 Angry Democrats obviously cannot find Collusion," isn't Cohen's acknowledgment the icing on the collusion cake that Robert Mueller has been baking for the last 14 months?
Of course it is.
But (and you knew there was gonna be a but) Mueller apparently still is not ready to move against Trump as the window for him to do so long enough before the midterm elections so as to not to appear to overtly influence the outcome begins to close.
Our with-bated-breath wait comes as a Democratic takeover of the House and the initiation of impeachment proceedings seems increasingly preordained and even Trump's staunchest defenders are retrenching on what constitutes collusion.
"If he's proven to have not told the whole truth about the fact that campaigns look for dirt, and if someone offers it, you listen to them, nobody’s going to be surprised," Trump poodle Darrell Issa explained. "There are some things in politics that you just take for granted."
"Look, I don't think that it's bad if campaigns are turning to foreign governments for dirt," fecklessly asserted National Review pundit Andrew McCarthy on Fox News. "It's not collusion. It's not something that's impeachable; it's icky, but that's what this is."
And so a new word enters the Trump sycophancy's Alice in Wonderland lexicon -- icky -- as we find ourselves wondering, to riff off Simon & Garfunkle's "Mrs. Robinson," Where have you gone, Robert Mueller? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Mueller has not gone anywhere, and it is my view that the Trump denouement awaits another round of indictments.
In previous rounds, 13 Russian nationals were charged in February with using social media to kneecap Clinton during the campaign and then 12 Russian GRU intelligence agents were charged on July 13 with engaging in a sustained effort to hack the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee, other Democratic organizations, state election boards and especially the Clinton campaign. The later indictment dripped with hints of collusion, while a new round presumably would involve close Trump campaign associates and their meetings with Russians, setting the stage for the special counsel to move on the president.
An intriguing sidelight: Trump concocted a false cover-story statement released by Donald Jr. (even though nobody had done anything wrong!) that the Trump Tower meeting was about adoptions. That Trump Sr. was the sole author and that aides tried to warn him off because of the appearance of obstructing justice is beyond dispute. The statement came only hours after the now-president had a surprise and secret no-witness meeting with Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany, the cover story for which which also was adoptions. So not only did Trump know about the Trump Tower meeting in advance, but he may have concocted the false cover story with Putin's assistance.
All of this leads us back to Michael Cohen.
The fear of jailhouse man-rape, if nothing else, has transformed Cohen from Trump's trusty longtime lawyer and fixer to a key player -- if not the key player -- who can tell prosecutors about all kinds of incriminating stuff, including whether he indeed secretly traveled to Prague with Trump's approval during the campaign where he strategized with a powerful Kremlin figure and other Russians about ongoing election interference and perhaps paid off hackers to keep them quiet.
If Cohen is able to deliver, then it's Game Over.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.