Donald Trump is reportedly feeling the pressure after the Russia investigation claimed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and a source close to the Trump family said the president may be prepared to throw his own daughter and son-in-law under the bus if it means saving his own legacy.
On Friday, Flynn appeared in court to plead guilty to a count of lying to the FBI about his meeting with the Russian ambassador after Trump’s election victory. The single charge was interpreted by most legal experts to mean that Flynn has flipped and is now cooperating with Robert Mueller’s investigation, and Trump may be the next target.
As Newsweek pointed out, Trump likely has reason to be worried as Flynn would be able to tell investigators whether the president knew — or even personally ordered — collusion with Russian officials. The report added that Trump’s son-in-law appears to be in the crosshairs as well.
“Friday’s announcement could have implications, too, for Jared Kushner. Trump’s son-in-law was present along with Flynn at a meeting with the Russian ambassador in December,” the report noted. “Kushner reportedly met with investigators working for Mueller and answered questions about the meeting.”
Other reports identified Kushner as the senior campaign official who ordered Flynn to contact Russia. With the possibility that the investigation could endanger either Kushner or Trump’s own daughter, Ivanka, one longtime associate believes that Trump will not step in to save them if it puts him at risk in any way.
“This is about his legacy. His legacy is on the line,” a person close to the family told Vanity Fair. “If you think he’s going to tie himself to the kid, you don’t know anything. And people who say that his love for [Ivanka] means he’ll stand by [Jared]—the truth of the matter is he left them once before,” the person said, in reference to Trump’s divorce from Ivana Trump. “They’ll try to say that no matter what, he’s going to protect him. Not if it’s going to cost him his legacy. Not a chance.”
This is not the first time someone close to Trump has suggested that he will do whatever it takes to preserve his own legacy and avoid taking the fall. Tony Schwartz, who served as the ghostwriter for Trump’s best-selling 1987 book The Art of the Deal, predicted earlier this year that the president will likely resign if the heat gets to be too much and he becomes implicated in the Russia investigation.
While the Russia investigation has now ensnared two top Trump officials — after charges were already levied against former campaign manager Paul Manafort — there is not yet any solid evidence that Donald Trump himself knew or was part of any collusion with Russia.