‘Total winner’: Trump in $5b showdown
An end-of-year explosion is looming for Donald Trump, as the Russia probe reaches its climax and the US faces a partial government shutdown over his $5 billion border wall demand.
The President said he would be "totally willing" to shut down the government if Congress does not approve the funding, with the Senate currently allocating just $1.6 billion for border security.
Mr Trump is using the chaotic scenes at the border to push the narrative that migrants are violent and dangerous, despite the fact US agents tear-gassed poverty-stricken families and barred entry to asylum seekers.
"Will CNN ever ask Border Patrol agents how they felt having large rocks chucked at them by criminal illegals?" he tweeted on Wednesday.
He told Politico: "I don't do anything ... just for political gain. But I will tell you, politically speaking, that issue is a total winner.
"People look at the border, they look at the rush to the police, they look at the rock throwers and really hurting three people, three very brave border patrol folks - I think that it's a tremendous issue, but much more importantly, is really needed.
"So, we have to have border security."
'WHEN DO TRIALS FOR TREASON BEGIN?'
If Mr Trump's spending plan - which includes $5 billion for the wall - does not receive bipartisan approval, a shutdown could take place on December 7.
But head of the Russia probe Robert Mueller has made it clear any shutdown will not stall his investigation, as he draws close to a potentially "devastating" conclusion.
Special counsel Mr Mueller has already charged 32 people in connection with the probe into alleged collusion between Mr Trump's presidential campaign and Russia - and more charges are expected.
He has gathered vast swathes of evidence revealing secret connections and nefarious plans for meddling in the 2016 US elections.
Clearly, Mr Trump is feeling the pressure. On Wednesday, he tweeted that "the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief."
He shared a photoshopped image from The Trump Train fan account that showed Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Mr Mueller behind bars, with the headline: "NOW THAT RUSSIA COLLUSION IS A PROVEN LIE, WHEN DO THE TRIALS FOR TREASON BEGIN?"
But the collusion is far from a proven lie - and a rush of activity this week suggests Mr Mueller is approaching a dramatic conclusion.
While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief. This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2018
The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other. Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2018
The Mueller Witch Hunt is a total disgrace. They are looking at supposedly stolen Crooked Hillary Clinton Emails (even though they don’t want to look at the DNC Server), but have no interest in the Emails that Hillary DELETED & acid washed AFTER getting a Congressional Subpoena!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2018
'PURE UNMITIGATED UNADULTERATED BULLS**T'
On Thursday night, it emerged that secret charges may be pending against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is living in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London after the country granted him asylum.
Mr Mueller alleged in a Monday night court filing that former Trump adviser Paul Manafort had repeatedly lied to investigators about his links with WikiLeaks.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Mr Manafort had met with Mr Assange a few months before WikiLeaks released the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Mr Manafort and Mr Assange both deny any meetings.
Conservative author Jerome Corsi said Mr Mueller's team was preparing to indict him for lying about an email he sent in August 2016 alerting Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone to upcoming document releases by WikiLeaks.
Mr Corsi allegedly spoke with a London contact at Mr Stone's request, before reporting back that WikiLeaks planned to release damaging material on Mrs Clinton.
Mr Corsi said he had rejected a plea deal from the Mueller investigation, insisting he was forgetful rather than deliberately misleading in answering questions about the relationship between WikiLeaks and Mr Stone. He could now face charges.
WikiLeaks released the emails authorities allege were stolen by Russia in October of that year.
Mr Stone and WikiLeaks have denied any coordination on the email release.
Mr Stone reportedly said the idea he had a role in trying to distract from Mr Trump's Access Hollywood tape through Wikileaks is "pure unmitigated unadulterated bulls**t".
But D-Day could be nearing for Mr Assange and Mr Trump. The Ecuadorean government removed its pro-Assange UK ambassador last week, and has prohibited his lawyers from meeting with him.
The US President finally delivered his written answers to Mr Mueller last week - a move seen as a tacit acknowledgment by Trump of the special counsel's authority, despite his hysterical tweets.
He replaced Attorney-General Jeff Sessions with Acting AG Matthew Whitaker, who is hostile to the special counsel's inquiry. But may not be enough to stop this juggernaut.
Mr Mueller is racing to complete the report, and the pre-Christmas fallout threatens to be monumental.