Trump is tied directly and inextricably to Flynn’s personal destiny, despite not caring very much about it.

The rumor has been circulating for days: Michael Flynn, who was briefly President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, is supposedly willing to fully cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia inquiry. Mueller’s task is to uncover whether, and to what extent, the Trump team was already in contact with government officials in Moscow during the election campaign. Now Flynn admits that he conducted such communications “by order of someone in a higher position,”* and that he lied to the FBI. That shows the former general no longer sees a way out. It also demonstrates that the team of investigators working with Mueller is determined to handle its job seriously and does not want to see the investigation fizzle out because of a drawn-out process.

Much is at stake, starting with the credibility of America’s democratic institutions. Moreover, nobody, not even—especially not— the president, is above the law. Perhaps Trump, having been socialized in the golden pomp of his empire, may see it differently. However, Mueller is now clearly bringing him and his allies back to reality.

This reality could turn grim for Trump soon. After former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were placed under house arrest, former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was harshly questioned, Flynn’s plea in federal court is a development which could still become a large threat for Trump’s administration. There is a good chance that the president will begin his political diversion tactics in the next few days.

Trump is tied directly and inextricably to Flynn’s personal destiny, despite not caring very much about it. In case evidence is discovered that Flynn’s communications with Moscow were conducted at Trump's behest, it would definitely be a crucial argument for beginning impeachment proceedings.

Such proceedings are political, not judicial. The Republican Party, which has supported Trump thus far, should reflect deeply about how long it can keep supporting him without hurting itself. The answer to that is still completely up in the air. A very cold winter looms over Trump.

*Translator’s note: This quotation appears to be a paraphrase of the excerpt “a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed FLYNN to contact officials from foreign governments,” from the court documents detailing the charges against him.