We’ve seen this dance before.
During an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, President Donald Trump warned special counsel Robert Mueller against looking into his finances as part of the Russia probe, but he stopped short of saying he would fire the special counsel for doing so.
Asked if it would be a “breach of what his actual charge is” if Mueller looked at the President’s finances, Trump replied, “I would say yeah.”
When asked if he would fire Mueller if he went outside the parameters of the Russia probe, Trump wouldn’t say.
“I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen,” the President said.
Trump also criticized Mueller for having conflicts of interest.
Okay… Trump criticizing someone for conflict of interest? Words only his base will nod along to. (It’s also interesting that he gave this interview to the NYT. Fake news, and all.)
His “I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen” demanded a follow up question – “What if it did happen?”
Trump has, indeed, set the bar for firing Mueller. He’s drawn the line in the sand, and if Mueller crosses it Trump will feel he has a right to act. And given his near panic whenever his finances come up I think Mueller will be out of a job – since it seems the political explosion over the firing is preferable to Trump’s finances seeing the light of day. Keep following the money.
But here’s part of the NYT article that caught my attention:
“I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia,” Trump added. “They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that.”
This statement is interesting in what it doesn’t claim. No one thinks the problem with Trump and Russia is that he “made money”. The problem is that he may owe money to Russia.
And I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his “I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows?” claim. Didn’t he sell to anonymous (wink, wink) buyers? Who knows, indeed.