Donald in Crosshairs of Obstruction of Justice Probe

…The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said. [The Washington Post]

JAMES COMEY never had a better target.

If this was a novel, the foreshadowing would ooze from the page like a wound.

President Donald J. Trump did this to himself and he did it in plain sight.

Obstruction of justice is the one thing that could send his presidency into the ash heap of history.

Most White House officials feared Robert Mueller would go after President Trump for obstruction of justice. The signs were everywhere: James Comey’s testimony that Trump urged him to drop the FBI probe of Michael Flynn; Trump’s forceful denial, and counterattack on Comey’s character; Mueller hiring high-powered lawyers steeped in complexities of presidential power; followed by the president contemplating firing Mueller.

[Axios]

For his entire life, Mr. Trump has lived in the teeny, tiny pond of Trump, Inc. Able to bully people, and torture laws to his will, creating chaos wherever he went, usually coming out unscathed.

There was always Page Six or the New York media he could call to twist his case into positive press.

Trump thought he could fire James Comey without repercussions. He’s always been able to dispense with his adversaries any way he chose. This colossal blunder could cost the President everything. Any attempt to coerce Rod Rosenstein to fire Robert Mueller will make the Saturday Night Massacre pale in comparison. Social media will act as a nuclear detonator, with Trump’s presidency ground zero.

Gallup is reporting that Republican satisfaction with how things are going in the U.S. is down 17-points since last month, to 41%.

This puts President Trump in an even more dangerous position because his base is eroding, while disapproval for his presidency is at 60%.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is constructing an Olympic-level prosecuting team that should keep POTUS up at night. James Quarles III is just the beginning…but when Mueller hired Michael Dreeban, the buzz went viral.

There is no good news in Trumpville today.

Jared Kushner is about to learn a lesson he didn’t learn the first time when he saw his father go down.

From Wired

The rapid recruitment of Quarles attracted immediate attention: A famed litigator who was an assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate investigation, Quarles specialized in campaign finance research for the Watergate task force, which surely will be an area of focus for Mueller’s investigation. …

It’s a team that’s not just a paper office tiger but one with deep experience investigating crime around the world.

More recently, Mueller has recruited Andrew Weissmann, his one-time general counsel at the FBI and a long-time adviser who once led the Justice Department’s fraud unit. In the early 2000s, Weissmann also oversaw the Enron Task Force, the storied Justice Department unit that investigated the complex machinations of the failed energy giant. …

Then Mueller added Michael Dreeben, who has worked for years in the Justice Department’s solicitor general’s office, which argues the government’s cases before the Supreme Court. “Dreeben is 1 of the top legal & appellate minds at DOJ in modern times,” tweeted Preet Bharara, the former top Manhattan federal prosecutor. Walter Dellinger, an accomplished law professor at Duke and former acting solicitor general, went one step further, telling The Washington Post, “Michael is the most brilliant and most knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer in America—period.” Writing on the Lawfare blog, Paul Rosenzweig recalled watching Deeban [sic] argue a Supreme Court case—one of more than a hundred he’s done—without a single note, and also concluded, “He is quite possibly the best criminal appellate lawyer in America (at least on the government’s side). That Mueller has sought his assistance attests both to the seriousness of his effort and the depth of the intellectual bench he is building.”