Every day invites a new opportunity to be alarmed by the Orange Man in the White House. The past week alone has seen Donald Trump take enough objectionable actions to cover all synonyms of the word ‘appalling’.
It would seem odd to hope things get worse, but that might just be our best hope for Trump’s removal from office. And so, amid the American president’s ongoing indifference to the plight of Puerto Rico, most recent petty feud, and continued chastising of African-American NFL players’ right to protest, we were actually delighted to find out about mounting evidence that his administration had colluded with Russia.
(Another win: Trump’s transgender military ban was blocked by a federal judge).
Back to his Russian ties. Yesterday saw some major developments in the ongoing investigation of President Trump and his administration’s collusion with Russian authorities ahead of and during the 2016 federal election.
Who you should know
There are four names you should be familiar with at this point: Robert Mueller, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos.
Robert Mueller is the special counsel in charge of overseeing the investigation into Russia’s alleged involvement in the American election.
Paul Manafort is Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Rick Gates was his associate. Papadopoulos worked as a foreign policy adviser for Trump during his presidential campaign.
Yesterday, Mueller filed 12 charges against both Manafort and Gates, including conspiracy to launder money, being unregistered agents of a foreign principal, false and misleading statements, and conspiracy against the United States. Both men plead not guilty. If they’re convicted, these charges would result in some major prison time.
Papadopoulos, meanwhile, plead guilty to lying to federal investigators about his communication with Russian officials during Trump’s campaign.
So, what does it all mean for Trump?
There’s very little precedent for this type of investigation, especially since Trump isn’t directly indicted – yet. Many journalists are referring to the case as bigger than Watergate. It’s possible that Mueller files criminal charges against Trump for his aides’ wrongdoing – something that has never been done against a sitting president. Trump could be also be found directly guilty of obstruction of justice as a result of firing FBI Director James Comey, who was looking into Trump’s Russian ties, in May. Trump, of course, has his own opinion on the matter.
….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
Again, it’s very difficult to asses whether or not any of these charges would result in impeachment. The most likely scenario if Trump and his administration is found guilty to have colluded with Russia, is that he will lose re-election in 2020.
And if his supporters gloss over the fact that their president pulled some shady deals with a historical nemesis, well, maybe there’s no hope for anything less than an eight-year term.