October 30th 2017 proved to be the Indictmentgate for which so many of us had waited so long. After a weekend spent in anxious anticipation, the early news of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Rick Gates — a Manafort associate having been indicted was surreal.
Mueller had provided us with such great intrigue. We watched as he assembled a phenomenal team stacked with experts, and read their speciliaties as a telegraphing of sorts. “Oh, look, another expert on tax evasion and money laundering!,” we gossiped, in unison with politicos and various legal experts.
Then, of course, there was the titillating details of Paul Manafort’s home having been raided just after he testified. But until October 30th, Robert Mueller was a shadow figure.
As it turns out, Mueller is as good at keeping secrets as one would hope a man with such a deep history in our intelligence community would hope… because none of us saw the Papadopoulos bombshell coming. Prior to October 30th, George Papadopoulos was better known as “Literally WHO?!” but that all changed once we found out he’d already pleaded guilty and struck a deal with Mueller. The intrigue started again in earnest: what did he give Mueller, did he somehow provide Mueller fresh intel between the time of his plea deal and the unsealing of his plea?
Nobody was more surprised by the Papadopoulos plot twist than Trump himself. We can be certain of this because the former foreign policy adviser the president previously dubbed “an excellent guy” has been reduced to “a low level volunteer.”
Robert Mueller really must be commended for strategy here. He gives us a big fish (Manafort), a barnacle (Gates), and then a psychedelic electric eel (Papadopoulos).
George Papadopoulos is bigger than himself right now. He is a siren call from Mueller to post-indictment Manafort and Gates, as well as the Flynns and all the rest of the dirty dominoes. There’s only so much germane information to go around. Who’s willing to give up the best dirt? Who wants the next deal? Who thinks a long stint in prison will be just the sort of character-building exercise they have always needed?