Why Trump Will Testify & Why He Will Win If He Does (and What Can Be Done To Make Him Lose)
Conventional wisdom is clear: Trump should not talk to Mueller. I am not an attorney but know enough to know that this is the case.
That is conventional wisdom.
Trump does not use conventional wisdom or play by typical rules.
Trump is playing and entirely PR game and a different PR game at that.
It is a PR game that values control and attention over content — even if that content or news is bad. It is a PR game that understands that bad news is sometimes even advantageous because it holds attention longer and increases the emotion of the audience. It is also a PR game in which reality and facts do not really matter if it furthers the narrative.
And, understanding the narratives, is why Trump could testify and why he might not have as much to lose as we think:
One of the big narratives is that Trump is being attacked by the deep state and the liberal media. In a sense he is a victim of these two entrenched, corrupt institutions. (Remember reality and facts do not matter.) These narratives have been pushed forward on Fox and by other conservative commentators. While Mueller has been gathering evidence in relative silence, this is one of the big narratives that they have been working on so that their viewers will filter any new information through it.
Now, imagine the image of Trump going in to meet with Mueller.
First, there will be discussion about the risks of doing this from all media. People will comment how reckless it was or at least question the judgment. He will absolutely control the media narrative about his appearance alone. This will play incredibly well to his base because it will look like he is taking them(the deep state) on face to face. He is not shrinking back. The optics of him walking into a building to meet will set them into a frenzy —there will be some concern and some stunned at his “bravery”. There will be comments about his sacrifice and how he did not have to do it. There will undoubtedly be biblical references in some groups.
Second, it does not matter what he does or says. There will be no cameras or taping. Let’s imagine worst case scenario. He walks in and tells them everything — even more than they know now. What will hahppen?
He will walk out and proclaim victory. There will be more talk about his bravery and how well he did among the conservative media. Mueller, for his part, will be silent as he is still gathering evidence. If a transcript were to be revealed which shows him admitting everything and more, he may deny it or not comment for a bit (remember control, hold attention). He will build suspense and then could say, probably at some rally, “I did it! I said it. I walked in there and told them everything. I told them stuff they still did not know after investigating for over year. Can you believe that? They STILL did not know stuff!” And then he will shake his head with incredulity. His supporters will laugh and cheer because he succeeded! He walked in and faced the evil deep state and made them look foolish and incompetent — because not only are they corrupt, they are incompetent too. The substance of his admission will be completely missed because his primary narrative — Trump vs. the deep state — will win the day. That the mainstream media will focus on the admission will demonstrate that they too are against him still.
At this point the admission is nearly meaningless because their thinking has been twisted to focus on us vs. them (or Trump vs. the deep state/msm). They will be thrilled that Trump faced them and made them look foolish! He Won! They Won! Trump’s favorite network will repeat this narrative — how the corrupt bungling bureaucracy wasted all this money and time — and Trump just walked in and told them everything in 5 minutes. Why did they not just ask him sooner? (Remember reality and facts do not matter.)
And here is why it matters. In all likelihood, Trump is not going anywhere until the House moves to impeach — and the Senate impeaches. A process, which is in all likelihood, not going to occur. As a result, Trump’s supporters will be more amped and ready for a fight. Emboldened that Trump faced the deep state and told them to their face that he broke the law and was still untouchable will make them feel even more emboldened and empowered. Nothing will be able to stop them either.
When we step outside of the traditional thinking, it becomes possible to understand how Trump really does not have anything to lose if he testifies — at least not while he is President. (This is assuming that he does not implicate anyone else but he can pardon them.)
All that said, he does not have anything to lose if he testifies as I stated above. What could turn the tables on him? If Mueller understands what is going on and takes action, he can out take the wind out of the sails and change the narrative.
Now imagine Trump heading into the building (bravely) to face down the entrenched, corrupt deep state surrounded by cameras and, just as he gets to the front doors, Mueller emerges to face him.
And what if Mueller, instead of letting him in to hear his testimony hands him Trump indictments. These indictments could be for Trump himself and/or Trump’s kids.
And then Mueller walks away leaving Trump with the decision to either follow Mueller or turn back through the media and retreat.
Mueller would send a big message and up end Trump’s optics and story. He would demonstrate that he did not need Trump and his testimony — making Trump seem irrelevant. Additionally, it would place Trump in a position of having to decide whether to follow Mueller into the building or retreat. Either way, Trump is placed in a “lesser” role.
If Trump actually testifies, he can’t lose. If, however, this later happens, Trump would not testify and could lose “bigly”.