Prediction Markets on Firing of Special Counselor Mueller

From PredictIt tonight, “Will Robert Mueller be replaced as Special Counsel by Dec. 31?”:

28 thoughts on “Prediction Markets on Firing of Special Counselor Mueller

  1. Jeffrey J. Brown

    (Incidentally, CBS News reported that there were four interesting sealed indictments filed that might be connected to the Trump investigation.)

    The timing of the releases of the indictment and then the Papadopoulo plea agreement yesterday was interesting. Predictably, following the news of the indictments, Trump sent out a “NO COLLUSION” tweet, and then Mueller released the plea agreement, whereupon I believe that Trump’s Twitter feed went silent.

    Following is a link to a Vanity Fair article on Papadopoulos and an excerpt from the article (check out the pic in the collusion article):

    Sam Buell worked the Enron case as a federal prosecutor, and now teaches at Duke University law school. “The Papadopoulos plea is very significant,” he says. “Mueller has a witness, a cooperating witness, who has pled guilty and is prepared to testify about pretty extensive contacts between himself in his capacity as a campaign official and individuals purporting to represent the Russian government. And in those discussions there’s talk about an exchange of information, in the form of e-mails, for help fostering a relationship with Donald Trump. If this isn’t collusion, I don’t know what collusion is.”

    It would seem that this is very much shaping up to be a “Winter of our Discontent” for the GOP. In about two months, they will be in a mid-term election year, and traditionally I believe that the party in control of the White House tends to lose congressional seats, even in the absence of extraordinarily bad news for an administration.

    As this situation unfolds, the GOP would seem to be trapped between a delusional GOP base and an increasingly hostile group of moderate Republicans and independent voters. Note that the percentage of Republicans who still support Trump (81%) is quite similar, percentage wise, to a poll last year that indicated that 72% of Republicans did not believe that Obama was born in the US (NBC/WSJ poll in both cases). In other words, a delusional Republican base nominated Trump, voted for Trump and still supports Trump.

    In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Trump becoming more and more unbalanced as this situation unfolds.

    In 2018, we may be looking at a situation where anyone who ever swore an oath to “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and anyone who supports the Constitution, may be morally compelled to vote a straight Democratic Party ticket.

    1. ilsm

      ” himself in his capacity as a campaign official”

      “High crimes and misdemeanours” even faux ones are not in the job description of a campaign official in either Clinton or Trump organizations.

      Guilt of employees is not guilt of the boss.

    2. Erik Poole

      Jeffrey: Thank you for the link to the Vanity Fair article.

      All this back and forth on alleged Russian interference in the presidential election not only makes the White House and the GOP look bad; it makes all Americans look bad.

      For one, it constantly reminds us that the USA interferes in the elections of other select countries on a regular basis. For two, it makes American voters look like they are stupid and easy to manipulate.

      I sure hope that agricultural and weapon system exports to FSU countries that are now members of NATO make all this grief worthwhile.

      To paraphrase Mme Albright: “Americans. They never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity.”

      1. ilsm

        Kissinger, Albright, Clinton, W Bush etc “opportunities” are so immoral “missing” them is the morl high road.

        Arming up the FSU was Obama’s plum for the war profiteers.

    3. Jeffrey J. Brown

      Followup Vanity Fair Article:

      After Monday’s indictments, the president blamed Jared Kushner in a call to Steve Bannon, while others are urging him to take off the gloves with Robert Mueller.

      Until now, Robert Mueller has haunted Donald Trump’s White House as a hovering, mostly unseen menace. But by securing indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and a surprise guilty plea from foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, Mueller announced loudly that the Russia investigation poses an existential threat to the president. “Here’s what Manafort’s indictment tells me: Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization,” said former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. “Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s f——d.”

      The first charges in the Mueller probe have kindled talk of what the endgame for Trump looks like, according to conversations with a half-dozen advisers and friends of the president. For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream. According to a source, advisers in the West Wing are on edge and doing whatever they can not to be ensnared. One person close to Dina Powell and Gary Cohn said they’re making sure to leave rooms if the subject of Russia comes up. . . .

      Bannon’s sense of urgency is being fueled by his belief that Trump’s hold on power is slipping. The collapse of Obamacare repeal, and the dimming chances that tax reform will pass soon—many Trump allies are deeply pessimistic about its prospects—have created the political climate for establishment Republicans to turn on Trump. Two weeks ago, according to a source, Bannon did a spitball analysis of the Cabinet to see which members would remain loyal to Trump in the event the 25th Amendment were invoked, thereby triggering a vote to remove the president from office. Bannon recently told people he’s not sure if Trump would survive such a vote. “One thing Steve wants Trump to do is take this more seriously,” the Bannon confidant told me. “Stop joking around. Stop tweeting.”

  2. Jeffrey J. Brown

    Trump’s firing of the FBI Director was a monumentally and historically stupid decision, so it’s hard to predict what a (presumably) increasingly unbalanced President will do, given what he has already done.

    My understanding is that Trump has two primary ways to obstruct the investigation: (1) Fire Mueller (following Nixon’s lead) and/or (2) Preemptive pardons.

    If Mueller were fired, I don’t think that he has any redress, and it would be up to Congress to act, thus my comment about the mid-term election next year. It could be shaping up to be the most consequential mid-term election in US history.

  3. 2slugbaits

    If the GOP Congress votes for tax cuts (notice I didn’t say “tax reform”), then a lot of congress critters will have to ask themselves of what further benefit is Donald Trump to their re-election chances. The clock is ticking on primary challenges, so that threat will be minimal in a few months. The optimal strategy might be to find a way to ease Mike Pence into the job. Maybe a few Trump loyalists flatter Trump by telling him that the country has let him, Donald Trump, down and the country just doesn’t deserve all of his personal sacrifices. Give him the old line about a prophet in his own country. By golly, if the country doesn’t appreciate Donald Trump, then he’ll show them…he’ll show them all and resign. When the country goes to hell, that’ll teach ’em! Feed him a bunch of BS and flatter his ego into leaving office.

    I wonder how many people that voted for Donald Trump also twice voted for Richard Nixon. People with a track record like that should stop and reflect on whether or not they really have the good judgment to vote again in 2020. In both cases any sentient voter should have known what they were getting with those two mendacious and unbalanced creatures.

    1. PeakTrader

      The only way to get rid of Trump is to impeach and remove him, which many wanted even before he took office. So, it looks like you’ll get a “beautiful” tax cut & reform this year 🙂

      1. 2slugbaits

        PeakTrader Actually, I hope that Trump remains President. Four full years of 38% approval ratings would be just the cure for Trumpism in 2020. Trump is a bumbling idiot and has this tendency to shoot himself in the foot. The worst outcome for Democrats would be anything that would put someone like Pence in the presidency. Pence is wrong on just about every issue, but he’s a far more effective politician.

          1. ilsm

            Any thing under 60 kilotons is just a fission firecracker…..

            Do you suppose there are no people in the “chain” to shoot those things?

  4. PeakTrader

    Mueller is working up the chain towards his target: Trump.

    I’d also like to see an investigation on the Clinton campaign, just to be fair, although there seems to be more there there.

  5. CoRev

    Menzie, a hypothetical impact of a hypothetical action? That’s a lot of unlikeliness, or just wishful thinking?

    This prediction was made before the inauguration:
    “…Scott Adams wrote that, to his critics, the first year of Trump would be a play in three acts:

    Act One – Trump is literally a Hitler.

    Act Two – Trump is not literally Hitler, but Trump is incompetent.

    Act Three – Trump is not incompetent, but we don’t like his policies.”

    From here:

    Joseph is clearly caught in 1 & 2. 2slugs is in #3. Menzie, OTH, is fabricating his own play of hypotheticals.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      CoRev: Gee, go tell PredictIt. And while you’re at it, tell the Iowa Electronic Markets “to begone”. And Ladbrokes, and all the other betting sites.

      Really, just go back to trying to debate science with scientists. That is much more amusing.

      1. CoRev

        Must have touched a nerve, Eh? At least I can debate the science, climate that is. There are no climate scientists on this site.

        1. 2slugbaits

          You don’t “debate” science. You constantly contradict yourself…one day there is no warming, the next day there is warming but it’s good, the next day the problem is global cooling. Now I am not a scientist, but I have taken enough advanced math to follow the science. And I have an adequate understanding of time series analysis and econometrics. Can you say you’ve studied any of those subjects?

          1. baffling

            2slugs, corev is not a scientist. but he stayed at a holiday inn express last night. so he is qualified on the subject.

    2. 2slugbaits

      CoRev Shakespeare wrote in five acts. My Act Four would be “Trump is incompetent.” Act Five would be “only cynics like his policies.” For example, Rick Stryker is not a fool and knows perfectly well that Trump is a buffoon. Recall that in the waning days of 2015 no one was more biting in his criticisms of Trump than Rick Stryker. But now Rick Stryker has taken the cynical view that Trump is a temporarily useful idiot with plenty of clueless fellow travelers defending him. So if the wolves eat the sheep, so much the worse for the sheep. The lesson is to be a wolf, not a sheep. Rick Stryker’s starring role is in Act Five. In which Act should we look for your appearance?

      Oh BTW, I’ll bet you voted for Tricky Dick in 1972. Am I right?

      1. CoRev

        2slugs, why change the author? He has no relevance, nor does your interpretation of Rick’s beliefs. I suspect Rick can well explain himself.

        What is apparent is that Trump derangement syndrome is more virulent than Bush derangement syndrome, and you were also plagued with that dissociative disorder. I note a trend.

        1. 2slugbaits

          CoRev Why change the author? Because Shakespeare is a better writer than Scott Adams. As to Rick Stryker’s views about Trump, he clearly stated them in the very early days leading up to the GOP primaries.

          As to Trump derangement syndrome, I think you meant to say deranged Trump syndrome.

          I also not a trend…you tend to vote for the worst candidates on the ballot.

        2. ilsm


          I note that the folks afflicted with TDS are operating on the same logic plane as those afflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome!

          “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” Mark Twain

          I am not sure which side has the “experience” advantage.

          Or are we all seeing stunted grieving over the Clinton/DNC campaign debacle?

      2. Rick Stryker


        In the early days, I misunderstood Trump and the Trump phenomena. But by the time the election rolled around, I enthusiastically voted for Trump. And I’m a strong supporter now.

        You may be interested in what another Trump supporter, Yale computer scientist David Gelernter, had to say on this subject. Gelernter in my view does not appreciate Trump nearly enough but his analysis on what led to the Trump Presidency is spot on. Gelernter’s new book on AI is really good by the way.


        “People on the left find Trump not merely objectionable on principle but they hate him as a person. They find him grating and annoying and he drives them crazy. I understand that. He often drives me crazy. Obama had the same properties….He was such a pain. I think there is nothing worse than a combination of patronizing arrogance and insincerity. Whenever he opened his mouth, your stomach turned over. It was painful to hear him talk. Now I understand that people — my friends on the left — have the same reaction to Trump, but the remarkable thing is what this says about the way the country swings and why did we elect Trump? The left and academia [are] too busy hating him to ask why their countrymen were

        The American people know perfectly well what is due to the office of the presidency. I think Trump is undignified in a lot of ways. I think Trump falls short in a lot of ways and I think that is absolutely as clear to a farmer in Alabama or a cowboy in Wyoming as it is to the Washington Post.

        People were driven to elect Trump not because they deemed him a perfect candidate to be president but because they were angry, they were incensed, they couldn’t stand where the country was going and the analysis that should follow upon that isn’t there. I mean, it goes on in conservative circles but it ought to be the number one topic in the study of American government, in the study of American history all over the world, and it’s not, of course. Needless to say.

        I remain absolutely a supporter and a sympathizer of Trump. And you know, no president checks every box. I think his virtues far outweigh his faults. I do wish he would take the office and the history of the office more seriously than he does…

        Just the fact of getting elected was an extraordinary accomplishment. I mean, you could say it was the most culturally democratic moment in the history of the world. Never before has a great power spurned everything the elite — the intellectual and the social elite — knows, left and right, about who should be running the country. Never before has a great power said to hell with that. The dignity of the country is important and has a lot to do with the power of the country, but this is an emergency and we’re going to make use of the best candidate who’s out there. And the implications are enormous. The left believes that, since it refuses to report on the right, the right doesn’t really exist, that it’s just a bunch of uncollected morons with no serious thought.

        We all know this. We’ve reached a point where the left’s blindness is aiding the collapse of the intellectual structure built up since the rise of Marxism….The left is too arrogant, too complacent, too self-satisfied to notice it or do anything about it — I hope.”

  6. King John's return

    Peak Trader = Fair and Balanced!

    Why don’t we see a deeper dive into how much the Trump campaign paid and promised Tony Podesta to turn on his own brother?

  7. Mike

    Given the indictment relates to pre-campaign chicanery, the prediction market is relying heavily on two outcomes:

    1) The FBI hopes Manafort and Papadopoulos have explosive evidence to make further indictments. This seems to take a leap of faith given these two weren’t high ranking in the Trump sphere of influence.

    2) Trump is so stupid he will fire Mueller even though Mueller has no evidence to pursue charges against Trump and/or high ranking officials within Trump’s sphere of influence. This also requires Mueller to find evidence that relates to the 2016 campaign.

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