'Follow the money.' Watergate prosecutor says financial wrongdoings may take Trump down


In the end, Donald Trump may have only his own rash actions to blame if it is the investigation into his administration's financial misdeeds that brings him down.

Donald Trump doesn't like to accept the blame for anything.

It is much easier, and more in service to his ego, to blame the media time and again, the Democrats as a whole, former President Barack Obama specifically, among so many others, rather than to admit fault or flaw within himself.

After all, this is the man who promised the country that we would "win so much" if he became president that we would collectively become "so sick and tired of winning." That is not a self-assessment which leaves much room for admitting errors.


But as the special counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in our election, and Trump himself for obstruction of justice, expands to include potential financial misdeeds of Trump and his associates — particularly those of his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner — Trump may be left with no one on whom to pin the blame for his downfall but himself.

As Jill Wine-Banks, a former assistant special prosector on the Watergate scandal, told MSNBC's Joy Reid, it was Trump's reckless move to fire FBI Director James Comey which led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

And thus, if Mueller's inquiry uncovers serious financial crimes by Kushner, or even by Trump himself, who has kept his tax returns hidden away from public view, Trump will need look no further than his own mirror to find the person responsible for his newest predicament.

REID: The jeopardy here is that this is not an independent counsel, this is not a Ken Starr situation. This is actually a prosecuteor that, in theory, the president could fire. He could order Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, to fire Mueller, or he could just, you know, somehow engineer to get him out, in theory. Can you talk a little bit about the jeopardy here, that this is an investigation that could go in a lot of different directions, right? It's not limited just to Russiagate.

WINE-BANKS: It is definitely not limited, and although it may sound trite, let's remember in Watergate the phrase "follow the money." Because I think your question to the last guest is really on point, and that it is the financial wrongdoings that may be the undoing of this president, and that the investigation can easily go to those kinds of dealings, to looking at what would we see if we saw his tax returns? What are his dealings with the Russian banks? Why was Jared Kushner meeting with a sanctioned bank?

There seems to be no legitimate explanation for that. And this investigation is being led by someone who is greatly respected by many, by almost everyone — maybe not by President Trump, who is now trying to impugn his credibility, but that hasn't been successful. And so I think that it could really lead to something much bigger, and he made a big mistake when he took actions that led to the appointment of the special prosecutor. And our deputy attorney general has said he will not fire him, except for cause, which means the president would have to repeat the Saturday Night Massacre — he'd have to fire Rod Rosenstein so that he could appoint someone who would carry out his order to fire Mr. Mueller.

Trump can try to keep firing people, and to play this bizarre musical chairs within the FBI, but he cannot escape this ever-deepening scandal. The American people won't allow him to, and neither will the Democratic Party.

But it's not the New York Times, or Barack Obama, or the intelligence community who would be responsible for Trump losing everything.

It's the man who promised us nothing but "winning."