Bookies set the odds at 12-to-1 that Jared Kushner wrote the “Resistance Inside” bombshell, and if I were a gambling man, I might take a piece of that action. After all, rarely a month has passed during the reign of The Donald without a story leaking about his son-in-law and daughter laboring to curb the excesses of President Daddy. Key themes of the unnamed “senior official” in the New York Times — that President Trump is bonkers, and thank heavens for the good guys inside the administration — fit neatly into the same narrative.
The Jared Theory also answers a question so many have asked since the op-ed was published on Wednesday: Why doesn’t this self-styled patriot resign? There’s no leaving for Jared Kushner. As the saying goes: You marry The One, you marry the family. The only clean break from his dilemma is to wake up from a nightmare in June 2015. In that case, he could trip a circuit breaker at Trump Tower and disable the golden escalator on which Trump commenced his historic descent.
And the theory addresses the venerable standard: Cui bono? Who stands to benefit when Anonymous is eventually unmasked, as surely the author will be in the city that keeps no secrets? A dramatic “Aha!” could serve as the perfect cliffhanger from which to launch a new season of the Trump family reality show. In this one, Jared and Ivanka return to New York and resume their climb to the top of Manhattan society.
Having been so close two short years ago, now they’d have a hard time getting invited to the opening of a vape shop in Hell’s Kitchen. But errant sheep returning, shall we say, sheepishly to the fold is one of the great plotlines of literature and Page Six. If a bookie will give me 15-to-1 odds, I might lay a bet Chelsea Clinton hosts their inevitable book party.
No one, not even the Impresario of the Oval Office himself, could reasonably blame Mr. and Mrs. Kushner if they’ve begun planning their exit strategy. So many administration figures are eying the doors that, as one of them puts it, the days after the midterm elections will be a great time to sublet a house in D.C. Life is getting mighty uncomfortable as the president discovers — contradicting his core belief of the past 40 years — that there is such a thing as bad publicity, after all.
Publicity is bad when it attracts the dogged scrutiny of a special counsel along the lines of Robert S. Mueller III. The man isn’t perfect. But he is deeply experienced and impervious to distractions. Trump has loosed a rabid and foaming Rudolph W. Giuliani on Mueller, to no more effect than a Pekingese yipping at a Greyhound bus. With his patrician wealth, his Bronze Star and his sterling résumé, Mueller neither wants nor fears anything Trump can bring.
On the other hand, Mueller has obtained certain things that, I’d wager, lie at or near the root of Trump’s mania. No, not the sordid details of a porn-star payoff. Trump has been known to spill dirt on himself to the tabloids just to stroke his own ego. He could be the emoji for shamelessness.
I’m talking about Trump’s bank records , turned over last year by Deutsche Bank, which also coughed up $630 million in fines in 2017 to settle charges of participating in a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme. And I’m talking about the immunized testimony of Trump’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg . If anyone knows the details of money (Russian or otherwise, licit or not) moving through Trump’s privately held businesses, it’s this guy. And I’m talking about Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, the ones he has been so determined to keep private, which Mueller almost certainly possesses .
This is the forest, I’ll bet, from which the president’s increasingly nutty behavior is being shaken. Candidate Trump expressed his view that not paying taxes “makes me smart;” Mueller is likely determining exactly how smart Trump was. Perhaps the special counsel will find nothing hinky in his examination of Trump’s baroque finances. But as reports pile up from more and more sources of a president ranting about the implacable Mueller with all the poise of Capt. Queeg in the final reel, Trump continues to invite the question: Is this the demeanor of an innocent man?
Now and then we see signs that even the boss is engaged in contingency planning. “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” Trump tweeted in June, before hastening to add that he has done nothing wrong. Maybe that was merely the thought experiment of a stable genius in command of a well-oiled machine . But I wouldn’t bet on it.
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