My lifelong friend Mr. Wolkind is wise beyond his years. His reaction to my ebullient post on the game-changing week just passed, highlighted by Robert Mueller's coded declaration that Donald Trump (aka "Individual No. 1") is the key figure in events relating to Russian election interference as his investigation moved from the speculative to the real, was pitch perfect. How indeed do we get the body out of Washington?
My view, based in equal parts on a deep knowledge of the Russia scandal and wishful thinking, is that Trump will get himself out of Washington.
As I concluded in that ebullient post, "Perhaps it has been all about the money after all," because with Trump it's always about the money. Having failed to stop the special counsel and with Democrats poised to unleash the power of the subpoena in exactly one month, is Trump going to mope around the White House and watch his personal "fortune" suffer the same fate as former campaign manager-turned-not-rat Paul Manafort, who forfeited $46 million to the government as part of his now-aborted plea deal?
Trump would sooner resign with an assurance from president-in-waiting Mike Pence that he'll be pardoned for his Russia scandal crimes just as Richard Nixon resigned with a promised pardon from president-in-waiting Gerald Ford for his Watergate crimes.
Trump's personal fortune, which he has routinely boasted is well north of the $2.7 billion that Forbes magazine has projected, is probably significantly less.
Timothy O'Brien estimates Trump's worth to be a measly $150 million to $250 million in his bestselling TrumpNation, which seems about right after several personal bankruptcies. That embarrassingly low figure has prompted the ever litigious mogul to sue O'Brien for $5 billion, a considerable fortune, on the grounds that it has damaged his sterling business reputation.
Trump kicked off his presidential campaign in June 2015 with the lie that "thousands" had turned out for his announcement at Trump Tower although there were only several hundred peeps and some were hired movie extras. And as lies go, Trump misstating his worth by a factor of 10 is benign compared many other far more insidious lies, which are an essential element of how he and his elegantly-dressed grifter pals got in such big trouble in the first place.
Lying has been second nature as they have lied and lied and lied, whether to friends, lovers, bankers, FBI agents or prosecutors -- which goes with the territory when you have larceny in your heart and the smug confidence that you're above the law, not to mention being smarter than a meddlesome interlocutor like Mueller. Oh, and having a selective memory helps since it was teeny-weeny lies that tripped up Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, as well as George Washington over that cherry tree thing.
In a fitting touch, when Cohen pleaded guilty last week to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project, Trump accused him of lying about lying. There has been so much lying in the Russia scandal that Mueller has routinely used perjury charges to unlock far greater misdeeds. Just ask Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Alex Vander Zwaan and Michael Cohen. Next up are Donald Jr., Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi, among others.
Then there is Trump's longest-standing lie of all, which lives on amidst teargas at the Mexican border, his non-meeting meeting with Putin at the G20 and Melania's hideous red Christmas trees: The Russia scandal is a hoax.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.