Manafort, Gates, Cohen and Trump’s rat-infested campaign

While President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE falsely claims that immigrants are infesting America, the real story of American politics, which will support a huge Democratic victory in the midterm elections, is that Trump’s 2016 campaign was rat-infested at home and colluding with a Russian dictator who attacks America from abroad.

Washington, D.C. is now braced for the Bob Woodward book, "Fear," which will be released on Sept. 11, less than two months before the midterm elections. It could well be an encyclopedia of Trump-related rats ratting on each other.

While revelations of wrongdoing are cascading before the midterms like water pouring down from Niagara Falls, there are two stories that tower above all others in importance, both involving Trump Tower in New York.

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The biggest story was offered by President Trump himself in the tweet from hell (for Republicans) last weekend. Trump admitted that the infamous meeting at Trump Tower was, indeed, called for the purpose of getting dirt about Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 The Hill's Campaign Report: High stakes at last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday MORE obtained by illegal Russian actions.

 

This tweet was the moral equivalent of a confession by Trump of the central issue being investigated by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.

Russia attacked America. Russia illegally obtained dirt against Clinton. Russians sought the meeting at Trump Tower for the purpose, proven in the written invitation for the meeting, which was seen by three top Trump associates, of giving Team Trump the dirt as part of Putin’s project of electing Trump in 2016.  

The president’s son, Donald Jr., proclaimed how thrilled he was by the prospect of receiving this Russian-supplied information about Clinton, especially if it was offered close to the election. 

Now Trump himself, who previously promoted a false story from Air Force One that the meeting was only about Russian adoption, admits in his tweet that was not true, and the real purpose of the meeting was to get dirt against Clinton from the Russians. 

For whatever reason, whether he realized it or not, Trump was ratting on Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTrump Jr., Meadows wear matching Trump jackets on 'Fox & Friends' Group auctioning off hunting trip with Donald Trump Jr. Trump allies to barnstorm Iowa for caucuses MORE, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortPresident Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks Free Roger Stone Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump declares US-India relationship 'stronger than ever before' Trumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate MORE who all attended this infamous meeting that Trump now admits was called to get the Russian dirt about Clinton, not to discuss adoption of Russian children.

The second hugely important story originated from Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer, who apparently claims he will tell Mueller and the prosecutors that there was a second Trump Tower meeting to prepare in advance for the major Trump Tower meeting to “get the dirt” against Clinton. 

According to this alleged story, there were others at the second Trump Tower meeting who were not previously known, including Rick Gates.

The story about the second Trump Tower meeting has not yet been proven true, but if it is proven true, the implications are enormous and decisive. Gates has already copped a plea with the Feds and ratted on Manafort.

If Gates was present at a second Trump Tower meeting to plan for the expected dirt Russia had promised to provide against Clinton in the major Trump Tower meeting, Mueller would know exactly what happened at that meeting from his plea bargain deal with the Feds!

Rudy Giuliani, who plays Trump’s flack the way Cohen plays Trump’s fixer, has long claimed he was negotiating conditions under which Trump would be questioned by Mueller. 

The chance that Trump would volunteer to be questioned by Mueller about these matters is less than the chance that I will be asked by the Green Bay Packers to start at quarterback on opening day of the NFL season!

Observing the Manafort trial, it is a battle of the rats who are ratting on each other about a rat-infested campaign for president. Manafort and Gates are like rats biting each other in court, accusing each other of multiple crimes. They are probably right about each other.

The only difference between them is that so far, only Gates has copped a deal with the Feds and there is a treasure trove of written documented evidence backing his claims. If Manafort is convicted, he may well join Gates and rat on others.

Waiting in the wings in this rat-invested sewer is Cohen, who has already begun to rat on Trump. Cohen claims Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance. He apparently claims there was a second meeting at which Gates was present. What other dirt will Cohen dish on Trump to get a good plea deal?

If Cohen delivers the goods on Trump to Mueller, he could be the John Dean of the Russia scandal, and this scandal would probably end like the Watergate scandal, a subject for a future column.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.