Behind the Veil
Note: This one is pure speculation – but let’s have some fun!!!!!
For the first time since the Inaugural crowd size flap (to Trump, size matters, ask the crew at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”*); this week the national attention has been drawn away from “Russia” and onto health insurance. But like any good addiction, we are inexorably pulled back into the fray. What’s going on “behind the veil” of the Special Counsel investigation? While unlike the White House, there doesn’t seem to be much leaking from Mr. Mueller’s office, here’s what the rumor mill has.
The first order of business was to establish a nexus between Trump and the Russians. In this case, it is nexuses (Webster’s Dictionary), five in fact: Flynn, Manafort, Stone, Sessions, and Kushner. While Carter Page may also be involved, and clearly has links to the Russian side of the equation, his direct links to the Trump side are more tenuous, and if he was involved (as mentioned in the Steele Dossier) it was more likely a “cut-out” between the five and the Russians as the conspiracy got going. He’s had multiple interviews with the FBI already, supposedly without benefit of counsel (a person who represents himself has a fool for a client).
Here’s the five, and here’s where they stand now.
Flynn – now exposed as an agent for Turkey (he made $530,000 for work before Election Day. ) Flynn, whose contacts with Russia and directly with Putin are literally on video, is looking to cut a deal. He has offered to testify for immunity from prosecution . Clearly, as more charges mount against him (income tax evasion, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, lying on his security clearance, acting as an agent for a foreign government while serving as National Security Advisor) the stakes will grow higher and perhaps the depth of his testimony greater. No one wants to go to jail and it seems pretty clear that Flynn won’t be the one to “take the fall” for Trump. If he’s got it, he’ll spill it – for a price.
Manafort – just admitted to acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Russian-backed Ukrainian government. The $12 million payment notation that was found in the abandoned ledger in the exiled Ukrainian President’s house has grown to $17 million. He is facing a myriad of charges, including laundering money and income tax evasion, as well as acting as an unregistered foreign agent.  Rumor currently has it that Manafort is NOT cooperating with the investigation. That may be for a couple of reasons. First, he may be so dirty, that it is impossible to offer him a deal for anything. He may also be so near “the top of the pyramid”, that the investigators are making sure he is going to face charges. Second, Manafort may be holding out for a better deal, one that would make a future long jail term vanish. It is likely that whatever there is to know, he knows it.
Stone – is always in the background, always up to something. He was the original campaign operative for Trump, and claims to be the one who put the Presidency in Trump’s head. Stone is already on the record with statements showing he had prior knowledge of the Wikileaks release of John Podesta’s (Hillary’s campaign chairman) emails, and Stone was in a campaign firm with Manafort back in the 1990’s. Stone probably knows less than he would have folks believe, but he definitely wants to get attention. He has offered to testify, but probably has little to add to the conversation.
Sessions: the Attorney General of the United States. Sessions is a man who consistently “forgot” about meetings with Russians in testimony under oath, particularly with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. He was the US Senator who first supported Donald Trump, and gave the campaign some aura of respectability. From listening to his testimony (“….Ah don’t recaul…”) he either is fumbling around his lies, or is using that persona to cover his omissions. It is difficult to figure out what he might know.
And finally, there is first son-in-law Jared Kushner. He accepted loans from Deutsche Bank right before election day  (Deutsche Bank has been fined for allowing Russian money to laundered through their accounts). Kushner was in charge of the data and social media operation for the Trump Campaign – the methods vastly aided by the Russian operations.  He also not only forgot secret meetings he had with Ambassador Kislyak, (and did not mention them in his security clearance) but actually tried to set up a secret communications channel through the Russian Embassy back to Moscow.
It is difficult to see Kushner accepting jail time – but he also is married to the “boss’s” daughter. Clearly Kushner knows whatever there is to know, and also is one at the “top of the pyramid.” Whether he would, or could, cut some kind of deal for immunity is a very open question.
So there’s the probable focus of the investigation, and where that inquiry will go.
*As I wrote this blog – the Twitter controversy broke after Trump’s comments about Mika Brzezinski. To Trump it’s a “even-steven deal” – Brzezinski made fun of the size of his hands on-air this morning. Trump missed that she’s a commentator – and he’s the President of the United States. There’s a difference! He also missed that his references about women have been ongoing and disgusting.
 Flynn seeks immunity from prosecution