Flynn pleads guilty as Mercury turns retrograde on Trump

(4 December 2017) The Russia investigation dominated the news cycle again last week as former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts shortly after the election.  Robert Mueller's investigation has taken a significant step forward as it reaches Trump's inner circle for the first time.  Stock markets sold off sharply, although only briefly, on the news of Flynn's plea on Friday.  The odds that Trump would still be president on 2018/12/31 fell from 72% to 66%.  Investors are only now beginning to consider the possibility of a worst-case scenario in Washington where Trump is forced out. 

Obviously, this kind of uncertainty is bad for financial markets.  To be sure, Mueller is long way from implicating President Trump himself and the chances of finding the proverbial smoking gun remain fairly remote.  And yet the more the investigation reveals this kind of deception on the part of Trump's associates, the more it could gradually undermine the presidency.  Ironically, this political setback for Trump arrived in the same week that his bold tax overhaul bill passed its Senate vote.  This is one reason why stocks recovered on Thursday afternoon as the bill now seems certain to be signed into law in the coming weeks, perhaps before Christmas. 

The Flynn guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with Mueller are not unexpected given the current planetary alignments.  In a post about the Mueller investigation from October 12th, I thought that the early December period would bring bad news for Trump due to the close placement of Mercury and Saturn in some key charts.  On December 3rd -- just two days after the Flynn plea -- Mercury turned retrograde while in a close conjunction with Saturn and this occurred in sensitive places in the Trump horoscope and the PEOTUS horoscope. 

The Mercury-Saturn conjunction hits Donald Trump's chart on the 5th house cusp and brings in his natal Mars also.  The conjunction also occurs near the 4th house cusp of the PEOTUS chart.  Without going into arguable and speculative details about houses, any Saturn alignment to any equal house cusp increases the risk of negative outcomes.  Mercury stationing and turning retrograde in the same point in the sky merely makes the probability of difficulties that much higher.

What's next?

I think December is likely to bring more pressure and difficulties for Trump.  Saturn is slowly moving through the cuspal area of his 5th house at 6 sidereal degrees of Sagittarius.  It will be conjoined by the Sun on December 21st and then by Venus on December 25th.  While the Sun and Venus may be seen as more benign than Mercury retrograde, the presence of Saturn in these alignments may not be conducive to progress or improvements. 

Jupiter will be a positive influence throughout this time, however, so that could represent the passage of the tax bill through Congress.  However, the position of Saturn usually indicates that some kind of hardship or frustration has to manifest somewhere in Trump's life.  These days that has usually meant the Russia investigation.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner also looks to be under a lot of pressure in the second half of December as transiting Saturn conjoins his Venus (= loss of happiness) while Mars squares his natal Mars (= conflict, frustration).  There is a lot of speculation that Kushner may be next in Mueller's sights and certainly his horoscope offers some support for this view.  While other sources of personal difficulty are possible, the Russia investigation is an obvious scenario that fits the planetary pattern during the Christmas holiday period.

After a relatively quiet spell, I think Trump could enter another tense phase with the investigations starting in late February.  Transiting Mars will conjoin his Moon-Ketu and oppose his Sun-Rahu while Saturn prepares to station retrograde at 15 Sagittarius -- exactly opposite his 11th house Mercury.  This is a terrible transit that is made worse by the stationary nature of Saturn.  This means that the restrictive and pessimistic nature of Saturn is within range of his Mercury for two or three months.  I should note that this will likely be a bad period for the US economy since Trump's 11th house of income and gains symbolizes the country as a whole.  But the Mercury affliction also may represent Trump's growing inability to achieve his ambition and fulfill his wishes.  Saturn will likely put him on the defensive more than ever. 

The Saturn station at 15 Sagittarius also opposes the USA's natal Jupiter at 15 Gemini so it is worth speculating how Jupiter (law, morality) will be blocked or compromised by this negative Saturn influence.  Some kind of damaging evidence with respect to Russia may come to light here which taints the presidency more decisively.   Although it is clearly a difficult transit, I do not expect Trump to resign at this time.  Instead, I would think there could be a worsening of his position, both in terms of public approval and perhaps more so in the eyes of his own party.  Even if Mueller uncovers some damning evidence against Trump or his campaign team, it is another matter entirely what the political damage may be.  Trump seems unlikely to resign in any event, and he is very unlikely to be impeached when the GOP controls both houses of Congress.  After next year's midterms, that calculation may be different, however.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks appeared to extend their winning ways on Monday as investors initially cheered the Senate's passage of the GOP tax plan.  The Dow set another record close above 24,000 although most other indexes actually reversed lower during the day as the rally fizzled.  Maybe all that glitters is not gold.  The Indian Sensex has also resumed its winning ways is again fast approaching its previous high of 33,000.  I thought we might have seen a bit more of an across the board pullback last week on the approach of the Mercury-Saturn conjunction but US markets managed to buck the down trend as Europe, India and China declined.

With Mercury now retrograde and in the proximity of Saturn for all of this week, there is an elevated risk of declines across many markets.  The alignment with Mars at midweek also boosts the possibility that we will see some downside this week.  And with the Mercury Rx-Sun conjunction due next week, there are an unusually high number of potentially bearish short-term alignments over the next little while that offer some evidence for a pullback. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.