Among print, TV, and podcast takes on yesterday's events, I have have identified two views that offer suggestions for the Trump response that merit some consideration.
1. One view argues that Manafort, et. al. should just bide their time for the present in full confidence that the president will pardon them. None of them will ever serve a day in jail. Instead of spilling their guts, they should just keep their mouths shut about any and everything illegal or constitutionally questionable that they observed or in which they participated. Manafort aged 68, for example, if convicted of the charges against him, would die in prison. Even if he were charged by the NY Attorney General where most of his money laundering took place, once pardoned of federal charges, he could take the fifth amendment against incrimination and probably plea bargain the charges down to a suspended sentence. Spiro Agnew's lawyer argues this scenario in Time magazine because he followed a similar one for his client in the early 1970s.
This is risky for Manafort and Gates for several reasons. While it is likely that Trump will pardon them eventually, it is by no means certain that NY will prove as malleable as Maryland. As part of his federal plea bargain, Agnew agreed to resign as Vice President. Manafort and Gates have no such position to offer. The NY Attorney General, a Democrat anxious to add Republican scalps to his war belt before pursuing higher office, would be a tough opponent and an unsympathetic jury is a sure bet. An illicit $75 million is a lot of weight to carry into a courtroom of average people.
2. Another view is that Trump should have the assistant Attorney General fire Mueller now. If anyone resists him, dismiss them all until he finds a willing actor. Congressional Republicans are a cowardly bunch led by worms who only care about their tax cuts. The have put party over country since Obama days and, given Trump's current popularity with the base and a few dissidents aside, the worms will never impeach, much less convict. That could change if Dems win one or more Congressional houses in 2018. The early indictments are only the tip of the iceberg and the more brought by Mueller the more spine some Republicans will grow and the greater probability that public support will erode. Now is the time to strike while they remain invertebrates and the base is behind them.
This one seems the likely choice to me. There is a blizzard of criminal charges coming down the pike. At the very least Trump will be charged with obstruction of justice. Whether prosecution is delayed until he leaves the presidency is a legal matter beyond my knowledge. At present he has nothing to fear from the Republican Congress. Efforts to push a bill forward that would require a three judge panel to oversee and adjudicate any dismissal of Mueller is going nowhere. The base is rabid for Trump and the party is bending to his command (re: standing ovation at recent Congressional lunch). Moreover, Trump's overall public support is eroding. It is likely to continue to fall which could affect the base as well. Why wait until it is so dismal that Congress begins to grow a spine? While Trump would have to repeat the Saturday Night Massacre (look up Watergate, children), he would face no fight from the party, even when the media went bonkers. Power is in his hands and Trump should use it. The constitutional crisis has no where to go. Trump has full pardon power, he can dismiss appointees with impunity, and the deed will have to be done by an acting Assistant Attorney General or someone down the line in the Justice Department. True, it will tear the country apart, but what the hell does Trump care. He is a god. He is the president.