The Trump White House is in tatters. The president’s long-time champion (and White House Communications Director) Hope Hicks suddenly abandoned ship on Wednesday. Rumors are swirling about the imminent departure of National Security Advisor H.R. McMasters.
In a little over a year, Trump’s administration has had a shockingly high turnover rate:
*By my count
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 28, 2018
The loss of Hicks, in particular, is a giant red flag. She has long been one of Trump’s most stalwart defenders, so the fact that she is getting out of dodge signals deep dysfunction in Trump’s inner circle. Vanity Fair delved into the implications of Hope Hicks’ departure:
‘Her closeness to Trump meant she was also nearest to the hottest flames of the fires that have burned in the West Wing, the most intense being the Russia probe. Hicks has racked up substantial legal fees, one source told me. “She’s in immense personal jeopardy,” one Republican close to the White House said yesterday. “This is a sign the Mueller investigation is a lot more serious than any one of us thought.”’
Her sit-down with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was likely the catalyst:
Mike Flynn asked Hope Hicks conceal the truth on questions concerning his contact with the Russian ambassador, according to a House member. Did any other White House officials ask her to conceal the truth or lie?https://t.co/9PZDNltmFs
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 1, 2018
These reports that even those closest to Trump are starting to be affected by the Russia investigation are bolstered by information coming out of the special prosecutor’s office.
Robert Mueller’s investigation began issuing indictments in October of 2017. That month, records were unsealed that indicated George Papadopoulos (former foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign) was arrested the past July. Papadopoulos pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, and is assisting in the investigation.
Buried in the Schiff Memo is the new revelation that Russian agents "previewed their hack and dissemination of stolen emails" to George Papadopoulos.
This is huge news. It means someone on the campaign already had an advance preview before the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) February 27, 2018
The next indictments came down in the same month. Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was indicted for a variety of conspiracy charges, as well as money laundering, and lying to the FBI. Manafort maintains his innocence, even in the face of additional state charges. Manafort’s right-hand-man, Rick Gates, served on the campaign and transition team. He was indicted on the same charges as Manafort, but struck a deal with Mueller’s team. Gates pled guilty to lying to the FBI, and is cooperating with the investigation.
Team??Mueller officially proposes to *DROP 17 charges* against Gates from the superseding indictment they issued last week.?
Tricky Ricky Gates must be delivering the goods on Manafort and Trump for Mueller to do that so quickly‼️?https://t.co/eefol0JCaM
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) February 27, 2018
Michael Flynn, who advised the Trump campaign, worked on the transition team, and also had a short-lived stint as Trump’s National Security Advisor, was indicted the following month. He pled guilty to lying to the FBI and is working with the special prosecutor’s team.
The next round of indictments focused on Russian interference in the 2016 election:
‘Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the defendants allegedly “conducted what they called ‘Information Warfare’ against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”
‘Some defendants traveled to America to collect intelligence and to reach a significant “number of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016,” the indictment says.’
Those charges touched on Russian interference, alleging that Russia purposefully meddled in our election by exploiting social media and grassroots organizations.
But the big question is: who else knew what Russia was doing, and did those people aid or coordinate with Russia in any way?
NBC News is reporting that the special prosecutor’s office is considering bombshell charges:
‘The sources say the possible new indictment — or more than one, if that’s how Mueller’s office decides to proceed — would delve into the details of, and the people behind, the Russian intelligence operation that used hackers to penetrate computer networks and steal emails of both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.’
It seems that Mueller is checking an item off his list:
— Elva Morris (@elva_morris) March 1, 2018
Featured image: Alex Wong/Getty