Special counsel Robert Mueller is gearing up for war against President Trump.

And the current front in that battle is the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

As part of the pre-trial legal maneuvering, Mueller revealed he has five surprise witnesses and it could be bad news for the President.

Last year, Mueller indicted Manafort on a series of allegations regarding financial crimes from long before Manafort went to work for Donald Trump.

Mueller charged Manafort and Deputy Rick Gates of conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, and tax crimes from 2006 to 2014.

The special counsel dropped the bomb on Manafort with the expectation that the former Trump campaign chairman would see the hopelessness of his situation and turn on President Trump.

Then once Manafort had flipped, Mueller could squeeze him for information about Russian collusion or any wrongdoing – no matter how minor – to spin it into grounds for Congress to impeach Trump.

But much to Mueller’s chagrin, Manafort has fought the special counsel every step of the way.

Mueller has responded by ramping up his pressure on Manafort.

The special counsel successfully argued for a judge to revoke Manafort’s bail and remand him to prison where he has been kept in 23 hour-a-day solitary confinement.

Mueller also listened in on Manafort’s phone calls from prison and pushed the facility to strip away the amenities he was being provided.

And finally, Mueller just filed a motion with the court for a grant of immunity for five witnesses.

Mueller won’t reveal their identities until they testify in court, but the special counsel is seeking immunity for them because they have asserted they will exercise their fifth amendment rights if called to testify.

Mueller wrote that he was requesting the court keep the identities of the witnesses secret because, “The government seeks to seal five Motions for Use Immunity for Trial Testimony pertaining to potential witnesses in the trial presently scheduled for July 25, 2018.1 The motions indicate that the named individuals will not testify or provide other information on the basis of their privilege against self-incrimination, and that the government is requesting that the Court compel them to testify at the upcoming trial. 2. The five individuals identified in the motions at issue are third parties who have not been charged in this matter, and who have not been identified publicly with the case. Disclosing 1 Although the government is also filing the five motions for use immunity ex parte, it will provide any corresponding orders for use immunity to defense counsel in advance of trial.”

“The motions would reveal those individuals’ involvement in the investigation and the trial, thereby creating the risk of their undue harassment. Such concern potentially would be heightened by the additional revelation that they have invoked their privilege against self-incrimination and may be granted immunity from the use against them of any compelled testimony. There is also a concern that the witnesses’ invocation of their privilege against self-incrimination and the Court’s subsequent grant of immunity could lead to reputational harm for the witnesses.”

Mueller is playing for keeps.

The special counsel is threatening to put Manafort’s head on a pike in order to force him to turn on the President.

Will the revelation that Mueller has five witnesses who will testify against Manafort finally push him over the edge?

We will keep you up to date on any new developments in this story.