Over the past 18 months, as the evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia became incontrovertible, I have come to rely on a dozen or so Twitter accounts to keep myself informed. Chief among these is the pseudonymous @Countercheckist, a shadowy but extremely well-connected personage Louise Mensch refers to as ?The President.?
(Sidenote: At this late date in the Trump/Russia story, if you still doubt Mensch?s credentials, her sources, or, worst of all, her commitment to the anti-Trump cause, I encourage you to go back and read what she was writing between November 2016 and January 2017, and ask how long it took the MSM to catch up. I also encourage you to STFU).
Among the more cryptic tweets sent by Counterchekist are his ?FEATHERS? announcements. For example:
There have been exactly ten ?FEATHERS? mentioned; ten ?takeoffs? so far. These correspond, the thinking goes, to subjects of the various Mueller investigations. The great Laurie Brenner has provided this helpful spreadsheet:
And this further explanation:
Here is a closer look at her list:
FEATHERS spreadsheet by Laurie Brenner.
As you can see, there are seven ?FEATHERS? currently ?airborne,? and some of these flights may involve multiple individuals (i.e., Manafort/Gates).
If Brenner is correct that ?Runway 1? involves higher-level subjects than ?Runway 2,? then there are only a handful of people superior to Manafort, the campaign chairman, in the chain of command: Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, and Donald Trump pere et fils.
As for Runway 2, the second tier may involve: a) the Donald Trump, Jr./Trump Tower ?adoptions? meeting and its bungled cover-up (Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus); b) lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians, especially Sergei Kislyak (Sessions, Michael Cohen, Carter Page); c) the coordination of data between Trump and Russia (Steve Bannon, Erik Prince, Roger Stone, Brad Parscale); d) the New York FBI/Anthony Weiner sting (Rudy Giuliani, Prince again); or some other avenue we haven?t yet paid much attention to (involving Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, Wilbur Ross, Sebastian Gorka, etc.). There are, needless to say, more potentially guilty parties than there are feathers.
FEATHERS 14 and 15 were announced on November 28, which suggests that the timetable for their landing is?any day now. Both are Runway 1. It is unlikely that there will be any movement against the President yet; it?s too early in the process. Given last week?s RUMINT, one of these two is almost certainly Kushner. I have been suggesting for months that Pence ? who was brought into the campaign by Manafort and remained in contact with him, Rick Gates, and Mike Flynn well into 2017 ? will have to resign the vice presidency before Trump can be removed; you don?t replace a guy up to his eyeballs in treason with a guy only up to his waist. Pence has been notably silent of late, and postponed a trip to the Middle East for suspect reasons; he?s also been lawyered up, big time, for months ? almost as soon as Mueller got started.
In any event, the Counterchekist list suggests that Mueller has already moved against four top-tier collaborators; not counting the president, there are only four left at that level by my count (Pence, Sessions, Kushner, Junior). As Bill Palmer posited, this would also explain the GOP?s mad rush to pass their big tax bill before the end of the year; maybe they know something we don?t.
It is frustrating, of course, not to be able to predict the timing of the indictments, to say nothing of the removal of Trump from office. But Mueller has only been at this since May and has made remarkable progress. And the Flynn guilty plea was a bullet to the gut of the Trump residency. It will take time to bleed out, but the wound is fatal.