After reading aloud, Trump Denounces F.B.I. Raid on His Lawyer’s Office as ‘Attack on Our Country,” Marquel put down the Times and thought.
What does the raid on Cohen have to do with Mueller’s charge? And why does it stump Mueller?
He’s a smart guy, isn’t he? The questions mounted, forcing Marquel to crouch under their weight. He called Mufi, his Asian best friend but also the most well-informed person in the world. Mufi answered the call from his restaurant in Chinatown.
“What is it my friend?” asked Mufi, as if he didn’t already know. He knows everything but enjoys playing with me, thought Marquel. I’ll play along.
“What’s this stumping Mueller all about?” Marquel asked.
“Ha!,” laughed Mufi, “I thought you’d never ask. Nobody knows this, so it’s on the hush hush, okay?”
Mufi is the only person in the world to have been a spy on behalf of every world power at the same time; only Marquel knew, also, that Mufi had acted as a counter spy all the while. He was a genius at juggling roles, abstractions, and chicken wings. A pure genius.
“That’s fine,” said Marquel.
“It’s okay, just kidding,” said Mufi, and Marquel could hear him juggling the wings with his spare hand. “it’ll be public knowledge by tonight.”
“So what’s the deal?” asked Marquel.
“It’s like this, and hold onto your yarmulke,” said Mufi, who practiced every known religion and a few that he made up himself. “Trump signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with himself.”
“Is that possible?” I asked.
“More than possible. He’s done it. All his advisers said it was impossible which, legally speaking it seems to be.” Mufi had double law degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford. He always said a Harvard degree was “too white” for him. “So he drafted one himself.”
I thought about that. It defied thinking. It’s pure silliness. Perhaps too deep for me? But Spanky could think it up?
“Mufi,” I said. “What’s the bottom line?”
“The bottom line is that he is prohibited from saying anything covered by the NDA.”
“So what’s covered?” I asked.
“Everything.” Mufi said. “That’s what it says. Everything. Otherwise he owes a million dollars.”
“So every time he says anything subject to the NDA he owes a million dollars?” I asked.
“Absolutely. So Mueller is stumped.” Said Mufi.
“Okay, that’s the part I don’t understand. Why should Mueller care?”
“If Trump discusses anything, he’ll owe a million dollars every time he opens his mouth.” Said Mufi.
“And?” I asked.
“He told Mueller he can’t afford that and he wants an indemnification agreement.” Said Mufi. “Every question is going to cost Mueller a million dollars.”
“This is surreal. Can’t they grant him immunity?” I asked, thinking myself somewhat of a genius at that point. Catching Mufi is tough, in fact impossible.
“The Fifth Amendment has nothing to do with this. It’s not self-incrimination. It’s self-indebtedness. I tell you it’s a work of genius.”
“But he’ll just owe the money to himself.” I countered. “Surely that cannot matter.”
“It’s still a debt.” argued MufI.
“What does Mueller care?” asked I.
“That’s why it’s pure genius. Witnesses have to cover their ordinary expenses. But not extraordinary ones. And that’s what this is.”
I thought of this. Spanky a genius? That seems to stretch things beyond the possible. Is he really master of the art of the deal? Could this be the final proof? I must confess I was and am speechless. Which is amazing since I’m still writing this.
“So Spanky thought this up himself and it stumps Mueller. Is that the bottom line?” I asked.
“It seems to be better than the attorney-client privilege. The President has outdone himself. He said it was anti American to search an attorney’s office. Think what it would be to violate an NDA someone has with himself.” Said Mufi, a bit wearily it seemed to me. There’s nothing Mufi likes better than to solve a challenge but nobody has (yet) put him on this case.
“What is your prediction about all this?” I asked him, my best friend and genius.
“The only way to get the data would be through you know who and you know what.” He said.
“You mean…?” I urged. “You can’t…” I repeated.
I heard him drop one of the wings. “You can’t mean?” I finally asked a third time.
“Yes. Zuckerberg. Facebook.”
I hung up. A sense of jamais vu was in the air.
By MARQUEL: Mueller refuses to meet with Trump. Says he’s “stumped.”