On today's BradCast: We begin with some very brief good news today on a new automatic voter pre-registration scheme for 16 and 17-year olds in California, as signed into law by the Governor on Wednesday. That, before diving headlong into the deep dark heart of Donald Trump's seemingly, very quickly imploding White House. [Audio link to show is posted below.]
The spate of jaw-dropping news over the past 48 hours, all pointing in one direction, is remarkable, even by the standards of this particular White House. Following on Wednesday's shock news that Trump's third Communications Director, Hope Hicks is resigning, there has been much speculation as to why she is leaving. As one of Trump's closest personal confidantes and most trusted advisors --- and among the last of the original team that's been with Trump since he announced his candidacy in 2015 --- some are reporting that the 29-year old former model quit after being berated by Trump for admitting to a Congressional committee the day prior that she was required to lie on his behalf. Other reporting suggests she could be facing legal jeopardy after finding herself at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into obstruction of justice by the President.
Hicks was also described as Trump's "last emotional crutch", which does not bode well for where this White House may now be heading.
At the same time, a number of blockbuster stories have broken in recent days regarding Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, whose family real estate business has long faced financial woes. Kushner's interim top secret security level clearance was recently downgraded after his FBI background check failed to clear him for permanent security clearance, a number of foreign countries were reported to have been intercepted discussing how to manipulate him based on his financial problems, two major money lenders reportedly gave his family company huge refinancing loans shortly after meetings with him in the White House, and our guest today, MARCY WHEELER, believes that Mueller could be working toward charges against Kushner for "conspiracy against the United States."
Wheeler, a longtime national security journalist at Emptywheel, detailed the reasons why Mueller may now be closing in on Kushner in a New York Times op-ed yesterday. She joins us today to explain those possibilities --- centered, in part, on his various foreign entanglements and multiple failures to properly disclose them --- on today's show.
"We've been talking about 'collusion' since before the election," Wheeler says. "Collusion is not a crime. It is a shiny object used by Trump to be able to deny something over and over again. He was never going to be indicted for it, because collusion is not a crime. He will or could, however, be an un-indicted co-conspirator in a conspiracy." And, in the broad conspiracy that Mueller seems to be documenting through his indictments to date, she argues, Kushner may well find himself indicted as one of those conspirators.
We also discuss whether and how Trump can possibly survive the apparent ongoing implosion, with Hicks soon gone and Kushner now believed to be in serious jeopardy. "Trump is losing people he trusts. And eventually he's going to be sitting there alone in the White House watching 25 screens, all of them playing Fox and Friends, and tweeting angrily in response," Wheeler tells me. "At some point, the White House becomes so hollowed out it starts collapsing, and I feel like we're pretty close to that."
Finally today, after our discussion of Hicks' departure and Kushner's tightening noose, CNN breaks a new story reporting that the FBI is said to be eyeing financial questions surrounding business dealings by Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter, close advisor, and one of the only other still-standing "originals" left, along with Hicks and Kushner, in the Administration...
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