About 8:30 last night, I finished writing the overly long blog about Trump's explosive interview with the New York Times, and went to watch the Rachel Maddow news show.
And then all the news breaks started breaking. As an alternate to staying up all night to analyze these things, I'll just list them. We'll be following them along and have much more to say. If you want to read a lot about Trump's interview, it's below.
1. The New York Times reported that the Trump legal team is trying to undermine and curtail the Mueller investigative team, claiming multiple conflicts of interest. They're also charging that Mueller is far exceeding his mandate in the investigation. This is the result of Mueller getting deep into Trump's financial world.
2. There is indication that Mueller's investigation is looking into several areas of Trump's past financial dealings that involve Russians, including the 2008 sale of a luxury estate in Palm Beach, FL that Trump bought two years earlier for $50 million and then sold to a Russian oligarch for twice the amount -- without either of them ever living in the mansion. This smacks of money laundering, a common practice of the Russian oligarchs. They are also looking into his financial dealings connected with the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow in 2013, and the financing and sale of condo units in Trump Soho tower in New York, which also involved a lot of Russian money. They have subpoened records from Deutchebank that has been Trump's largest source of loans in recent years when no New York bank would lend him money. He supposedly has a very large debt to them currently. The subpoena will compel copies of Trump's financial records that the bank has. Deutchebank recently had to pay a huge fine for money laundering.
3. There is also new and damaging financial information about Paul Manafort coming out, including the fact that he was apparently in serious financial debt to a Ukrainian oligarch over some money laundering scheme that went sour at the beginning of 2016 -- a few months before he became chairman of the Trump Campaign. And about the same time, the Ukrainian oligarch stopped trying to collect the $17 million that Manafort supposedly owed him. Any connection with that and the Trump campaign?
4, The Washington Post reported this news break: Trump has asked his lawyers to look into his authority to issue pardons -- to his staff, his family, and even to himself. In another development, the spokesman for Trump's legal team for the Russia investigation, Mark Corallo, has resigned. Additionally, the head of the Trump legal team handling Russia, Mark Kasowitz has announced he is cutting back on his involvement. Trump has recently hired at least two other, high profile lawyers who are more adept in this world of Washington politics.
Not exactly a slow news night. Here's the obvious question underlying all this, including Trump's anger at Jeff Sessions for recusing himself: Why all this, unless Trump has a lot to hide? An awful lot that could potentially send him and some family members to jail.