Donald Trump is the proverbial frog sitting in a pot of boiling water. The story goes that if you raise the temperature slowly enough, then the frog will never catch on, and it will sit there in the pot until it finally boils. Investigators have managed to trick Trump into staying in that boiling pot even while they’ve arrested his people and closed in on him. Now they’ve tricked him yet again.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals for conspiring to fix the election in Trump’s favor. Everyone who is of sound mind and body knows that this a terrible development for Trump. Inevitably this will lead to arrests of Americans, including people who worked on Trump’s campaign and in Trump’s family, for working with Russia to rig the election. However, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently held a press conference and said that this particular indictment didn’t have any evidence that these Russians had any success in changing the outcome of the election.
That line was aimed at keeping Donald Trump calm, so that he wouldn’t freak out and jump out of the boiling water. Trump hasn’t tried to fire anybody or sabotage the investigation since this latest indictment was announced, so it worked. Instead, he is gloating on Twitter about how Rosenstein “exonerated” him in the Russia scandal, and how this “proves” that Russia had no impact on the ultimate outcome of the election.
Of course Rosenstein just said that this indictment didn’t have evidence that these Russians changed the outcome of the election. That’s coming later, either in future indictments on other Russians, or in new, superseding indictments against the same Russians. Mueller and Rosenstein not only made the most significant and damaging legal move in the Trump-Russia investigation so far, they tricked Trump into believing it was a victory for him so that he wouldn’t try to retaliate. This means they’re free to keep dismantling him, which they will.