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Having been spot-on correct about how misplaced the breathless and transparently shallow media reports were last week in stating that Robert Mueller's final report would be delivered to Attorney General William Barr this week, the special counsel is indeed winding down his Russia scandal investigation save for possibly one more round of indictments. And while we'll miss Donald Trump yammering about Maximum Bob's "witch hunt," which he has done a mind-numbing 1,100 times over the past 21 months, that's when his really big troubles will begin.
I'm not talking about the likelihood of Mueller's final report being leaked, which it almost certainly will be if Barr tries to suppress it, which I actually believe he will not do.
No, Trump's really big troubles will commence because once the special counsel moves on, House Democrats will have an open playing field. Their various committees will begin impeachment proceedings and get serious about a bunch of other investigations, including one into Trump's tax returns.
And all the while the investigations that Mueller handed off to other prosecutors will be proceeding.
These include the SDNY investigations into Trump Organization finances, including its dealings with Deutsche Bank, which has been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme, as well as inaugural committee irregularities, and investigations by other U.S. Attorney offices into Maria Butina and illegal influence by the Turkish government, including a campaign against exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, and a plot to kidnap and return him to Turkey.
Then there are New York state and Manhattan DA investigations into illegal Trump tax schemes, the Donald Trump Foundation and additional state-level charges against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to ensure he still will face prison time even if the president pardons him for his federal crimes.
The White House will get an early taste of things to come on Wednesday when Trump's longtime lawyer-fixer Michael Cohen is scheduled to testify in pubic before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about Trump's criminal conduct, use of racist language and the sleaze surrounding his 2016 campaign, including the illegal hush payments he made on his orders to silence two of the women with whom he had adulterous affairs.
Trump will be 12 time zones away in Vietnam meeting with Rocket Man and rehearsing for a Nobel Peace Prize that will never come. In May, Cohen will be in prison serving a three-year sentence in nine guilty pleas on lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project, the hush-money payments and a litany of other financial charges.
The White House has tried to take advantage of the drip-drip-drip revelations that have seeped out with every round of Mueller indictments in an effort to hold Trump's mythic "base" and hold down Republican congressional defections.
Despite a hint of collusion here, evidence that candidate Trump ("Individual 1" in the opaque legal code in one indictment) was in the loop there and a fusillade of lies everywhere, the "no collusion" drum has been beaten loudly and incessantly as arguments as to why the Russia scandal is a big zero have morphed from the bizarre to the ridiculous.
The latest pearl from the mouth of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in direct contradiction of Trump's own intelligence chiefs, is that "The president far and away was the better candidate. He had a better message and he outworked Hillary Clinton. That's why he's president. He didn't need to, nor did he, collude with the Russians. Pretty simple."
Then there is the newly-bearded Donald Trump Jr., who told his dad's pals at "Fox and Friends" in regard to the 37 indictments and 199 criminal charges brought by Mueller, that there were "no actual crimes," just "things people did in past lives."
Two footnotes on that final report, whenever and however it comes:
First, the punditocracy is deluding itself if it thinks Trump will run for reelection. His corruption and malfeasance are so immense that he won't make it to the primary season starting line even as the Republican Party, in its latest Orwellian convolution, works feverishly to try to abolish primaries altogether in states where Trump could face serious opposition.
Second, in 2016, FBI Director James Comey made an election outcome-influencing hash of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and his self-justifications since then have only served to further outrage those of us who understand the enormity of this ego-driven miscarriage of justice.
Mueller is not a self-justifier. In fact, I expect him to go quietly into the night after his work is done. But he owes America a narrative that ties together nearly two years of those drip-drip-drip revelations. And most importantly, a definitive answer to the biggest question. Not whether Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, but an explanation of how they colluded.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.