Live TV footage shows the Trump plane taxiing through the midnight gloom. There have been no announcements from the White House, not even a tweet, since an Appellate Court earlier in the afternoon upheld an order to unseal Paul Manafort’s autopsy report. There is no realistic hope that the eight members of the Supreme Court will intervene in the matter.
No one is sure who is on the plane. No flight plan is available. Press Secretary Omirosa Manigault issued several sunny statements earlier that evening, but took no questions and has not responded to calls.
Democrats are publicly asking the FBI to stop the plane from leaving, but it isn’t clear who would have the authority and under what cause. It has been months since the Attorney General stepped down and no replacement has been named. Indictments against Jared Kushner and Ivanka are expected from the New York AG’s office tomorrow, but it could still be weeks before formal changes are submitted against the President. Republicans have begun to discuss impeachment.
Crippling political problems had seized the Administration from Day 1 and they never improved. Of the hundreds of political appointments the President can make, he failed to ever appoint half. Failure on Obamacare repeal was followed by a brief, messy attempt at tax reform. Before that could completely fall apart the direct evidence regarding collusion with Russian intelligence and ties to Russian organized crime started to emerge.
When state AG’s began probing the Trump organization’s business ties skeletons began tumbling like a landslide. One state AG successfully subpoenaed tax records and the situation became critical.
Still, the wall of GOP support held inexplicably firm until the deadly ambush of Marines in Northern Syria. Questions swirled over the apparent role of Russian intelligence in leaking the soldiers’ position and movements. The miserable, deadly scramble to extract remaining units from the country was bad enough. Worse, perhaps, was the President’s long series of angry, rambling tweets at Katy Perry while the incident played out. Anonymous sources say he was unavailable at the time to provide approvals for airstrikes, while the Administration insists he was in the situation room monitoring events.
Grainy cell-phone footage emerges of the Trump plane on a tarmac in Moscow. The President’s first Tweets make no mention of his travel, only rehashing his election victory and referencing his “overwhelming” public support. Administration officials who haven’t yet resigned at first claim he is on a state visit to the UK. Others say he’s at Mar-a-Lago. After two days of confusion, and the release of the indictments against Kushner and others, Trump himself acknowledges on social media that he is in Russia. No word on when or whether he plans to return. He does not respond to inquiries.
Paperwork indicates that the Trump businesses have already taken steps to isolate many of their assets, reorganizing ownership under entities based in the Caribbean, Qatar and Russia. It isn’t clear whether American prosecutors or plaintiffs can reach any of the family’s substantial overseas assets.
As weeks pass the President remains in Russia without issuing any statement explaining his actions or describing any plans to return. Word leaks that federal prosecutors are ready to file charges against Trump himself, possibly including treason, but confusion and resistance inside the Justice Department is holding up action.
Republicans in Congress finally agree to take up impeachment, but that process could consume weeks or months at best. It is unclear whether a 25th Amendment declaration can gain support, allowing the Vice President to assume leadership. The President has not resigned and has not signaled his intention to resign, even though he is now effectively in exile, in flight from prosecution. Most of the White House staff has stopped showing up to work and the acting press secretary no longer gives briefings or responds to inquiries.
Small clusters of Trump supporters engage in dreary protests all over the country, begging him to come home and expressing anger at his unjust persecutors. Breitbart hails the cleverness of his successful escape from a shadowy Jewish conspiracy and insists that his domestic authority remains undimmed. Infowars insists Trump is still in the country, hiding with survivalists in Idaho and planning an insurrection. Alex Jones claims to be in communication with him daily. No one knows where Steve Bannon is.
Through sheer dumb luck, the book published by disgraced former Press Secretary Sean Spicer hits stores the same week Trump flees. It is a massive best-seller. While Reince Preibus awaits trial, Spicer accepts an invitation to appear on a special edition of Dancing with the Stars, paired with Melissa McCarthy.