Anytime there’s an escalation in Russiagate rhetoric by Team Trump it’s worth noting and wondering what news might be coming that they know about but we don’t — yet. Rudy’s in contact with Mueller’s lawyers and of course he’s endlessly fielding media inquiries about the investigation; from those two sources he’s bound to get broad hints about new developments that haven’t become public. For instance, it seemed strange and random when POTUS went on a Twitter tirade about Paul Manafort on Sunday:

What the hell was that about, people wondered? My guess was that maybe Manafort had finally agreed to cooperate with Mueller, Trump had gotten wind of it, and he’d taken to Twitter to pre-spin the news that was coming. Some sort of Manafort news was surely coming, though. Lo and behold, within 24 hours the NYT was reporting that Mueller suspected Manafort of witness tampering. The paper probably asked the White House for reaction over the weekend, triggering POTUS’s “Paul who?” Twitter spasm.

Now here’s Giuliani with the hardest knock on Mueller yet, accusing him of not just conducting a baseless “witch hunt” but of preparing to frame the president for a crime he didn’t commit. Does … he have reason to believe that Trump’s about to be formally accused of something by Mueller? Or is he just caught up in the moment in the clip below, pandering to a friendly audience with irresponsible chatter about the head of state being framed by deep-state operatives like all cautious, judicious lawyers do?

An amazing true fact via Harry Enten:

The hero of 9/11 is at 29/44 nationally, fully 20 points underwater among independents. The last time Quinnipiac polled him, in 2007 during his brief presidential run, he was at 47/32. I think obituarists will be kind to him when his time finally comes by leading with his 9/11 response but don’t hold me to that if the Russiagate standoff turns ugly this year and Rudy remains the tip of Trump’s messaging spear. Depending on how crazy things get, maybe this ends up as his legacy.

In lieu of an exit question, read Paul Rosenzweig on why Mueller’s witness-tampering claim about Manafort is not just weak but may signal trouble for Mueller. Quote: “This is a sign that they are feeling pressure. Possibly from Trump. Possibly from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Possibly just from their reading of the public tea leaves. Whatever the source of the pressure, they have an increased sense of urgency to move quickly.” If they desperately need Manafort’s cooperation at this point to make something stick, maybe they have less evidence against Trump and his inner circle than we all suspect. Which makes Rudy’s “framing” comment even weirder.