Just following up on some predictions from March, because circumstances change…
If I were a betting man, I’d say Mueller’s investigation, before it’s shut down, will still lead to more evidence of arguably legal/arguably illegal collusion, but few if any charges filed on these issues. This in itself will be a fairly huge scandal for some and not for others. He will also file charges (and in fact, he already has) of obstruction/lying to investigators/witness tampering/destruction of evidence which are not about the collusion itself, but about the coverup. Again, I predict this will be a fairly huge scandal for some and not for others. Lastly, I predict a raft of charges of money laundering/tax fraud/bribery/corruption/RICO-type things (such as those charges already filed against Manafort), again not really about the collusion itself, but about illegal things uncovered during the course of the investigation.
Papadopoulos: Pleaded guilty to making false statements.
Patten: Pleaded guilty to failure to register as a foreign agent.
Manafort: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the US, various financial crimes including money laundering, and witness tampering.
Cohen: Pleaded guilty to fraud and campaign finance violations.
van der Zwaan: Pleaded guilty to making false statements.
Gates: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the US and making false statements.
Pinedo: Pleaded guilty to identity fraud.
Flynn: Pleaded guilty to making false statements.
At the end you’ll have a fairly unsatisfactory conclusion: the Trump campaign will be exposed to have colluded with Russian intelligence services in an arguably illegal manner, many staffers and high ranking officials will be charged with a broad range of crimes, from obstruction to money laundering. And Trump supporters will still say that collusion is not a crime and this was all a witch hunt by the liberal Comey/Mueller/Rosenstein cabal, a fishing expedition that merely netted a few dozen high-ranking or cabinet-level bad apples who were just low-level volunteers after all.
So far so good. No real corruption or RICO stuff yet, and the cabinet hasn’t quite been breached, but the show’s far from over and that all seems more likely than before IMO. Rudy’s even already telegraphed Team Trump’s new approach to formerly-decent-and-honest-witch-hunt-victim Manafort with his blatant Tweet revision: “the President did nothing wrong
and Paul Manafort will tell the truth”, the party line changing 180 degrees in full public view like fine Soviet clockwork.
And, most importantly, I’m still predicting the Republicans will hold the House and Senate in 2018 (although I’m predicting Democrats will win a landslide in terms of votes cast), and that this is when the Mueller investigation will definitely be shut down if it hasn’t been already. So regardless of charges filed, impeachment will never be considered for any officials at any level, and I think Trump will have a strong chance of re-election in 2020. The House and Senate may, however, decide to launch an investigation into Mueller.
Haven’t changed my mind here either, but this is still prediction-land. I currently have Democrats nationally winning by a spectacular 11 point mega-landslide margin, but still narrowly failing to gain enough seats to take control of the House, and losing a seat in the Senate. When the Democratic advantage hits 12, things get interesting on both fronts, and that’s a possibility I wasn’t considering even remotely plausible back in March.