A subject is a person of interest, as opposed to a suspect about whom the authorities have a reasonable belief that something untoward involving them has gone on, is going on, or will go on. A target, on the other hand, is the guy who talked into the underwire worn by his wife’s soon to be ex-best friend. So far, so good, but what is Mueller saying when he says Trump is a subject?
A predicate nominative, or predicate noun, completes a linking verb and renames the subject. It is a complement, or completer, because it completes the verb. Here, the verb would be “indict” and the predicate proper noun would be “Trump.” That’s something for the left to crow about, but they shouldn’t be too hasty because being a subject of an investigation is miles away from trading pin-stripes for prison stripes.
The right can take comfort in the fact that Trump’s a mere subject, as is only proper since the whole Mueller business is about interference in Trump’s election. Duh! Hillary Clinton should be a subject, too, for running her horse into the rail when it was six furlongs ahead.
Here’s where it gets interesting. FBI Director James Comey told Trump, thrice, after inquiry, that he wasn’t under personal investigation by the FBI, though why the thought would’ve crossed Trump’s mind remains mysterious. Was Comey truthful? The probable answer is “yes” because of the difference between “target” and “subject.” Tricky, but true.
One of the best defenses offered regarding complicity in 2016 electoral shenanigans comes from Trump’s own henchmen, namely that the campaign was too lame and disorganized to conspire with anyone. Having seen Trump in action over the last year, it’s hard to believe he ran his campaign any better than he’s running the country today. This isn’t to say that his minions weren’t up to their gills in molasses, just that this sophisticated a form of electoral chicanery might be beyond the president’s personal skill set.
Because no one really knows what Mueller knows, it’s pure speculation to hypothesize about how far “subject Trump” is from being “target Trump.” Hence, the split of authority inside the White House about whether Trump, an accomplished confabulator, ought to have a heart-to-heart with Capt. Mueller. Without sounding flip, the president should consult Jared Kushner and do exactly the opposite of what he recommends.
Clam up or blab, they’re the only two choices, but if Trump wants to clear his name and remove all lingering suspicions, he should have Mueller over to Mar-a-Lago for a tete-a-tete. No one likes a coward, and defendants who fail to take the stand, though it’s their right, are deemed more than inherently suspect. Trump wants to talk. Let him.