By now you know, former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen on Tuesday admitted that he made an illegal campaign contribution with President Donald Trump’s knowledge and direction. In other words, at this point there’s no need for Michael Cohen to testify for the Special Counsel’s office, he just plead guilty to a crime that implicates President Trump directly, Cohen could not have committed the felony to which he just plead guilty to, without Trump also having committed the same crime.
That is a big deal.
You know it is a big deal when Fox buries the entire story, as The Five on Fox acted as if the president’s closest friends and advisers plea guilty to felonies all the time, perhaps that IS true with respect to THIS president: Transcript via Rawstory:
“I know that Cohen isn’t squeaky clean. I know that Manafort isn’t squeaky clean. Hell, I know Trump isn’t squeaky clean,” he said.
Gutfeld added, “This isn’t about these guys, this is about reversing an election. That’s all this is. People are getting so wrapped up in it, and there is real stuff going on. It’s not breaking news that Cohen is a fixer.”
He would have said the same thing about Obama, had Obama had a “fixer” and not been so squeaky clean.
It is true that it is not breaking news that Cohen is a fixer, however if he had added that the thing Cohen plead guilty to – fixing a problem with a porn star in a manner that involved a felony violation of federal election laws, at Trump’s express direction, now that is breaking news. That actually is “real stuff going on.” From The New York Times::
[Cohen] made the extraordinary admission that he paid a pornographic actress “at the direction of the candidate,” referring to Mr. Trump, to secure her silence about an affair she said she had with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payment was “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016.
The guilty plea could represent a pivotal moment in the investigation into the president: a once-loyal aide acknowledging that he made payments to at least one woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, in violation of federal campaign finance law. Mr. Cohen had been the president’s longtime fixer, handling his most sensitive business and personal matters. He once said he would take a bullet for Mr. Trump. The investigation of Mr. Cohen had focused in part on his role helping to arrange financial deals to secure the silence of women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, including Stephanie Clifford, an adult film actress better known as Stormy Daniels.
This is not the end of Trump, but it is the beginning of the end. He can no longer claim witch hunt, not claim it and have anyone serious listen. This is a president whose campaign manager, and long-term “lawyer/fixer” have both plead guilty to felonies. True, Manafort’s felonies do not touch directly upon Trump – yet. But they DO touch directly upon work done in the Ukraine on behalf of Russian interests, and isn’t that interesting? Russia, again.
To the great one, Charlie Pierce, we bow:
This is a mortal blow to the administration*, which may stagger around for a year or so before it falls over and crushes people, but there is no way I can see that this gets any better for the president* or the people around him. The president* and his fixer paid off Stormy Daniels, and also paid off a tabloid media company, in order to bury stories about the president*’s wandering Donald, and did so in direct violation of even those campaign finance laws that Anthony Kennedy left in place. That’s an open admission of a crime involving the President* of the United States and, as CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin pointed out, that’s something that never happened even during Watergate. In the immortal words of Micheal Ray Richardson, the ship be sinking.
Notice we just went through a clear case for impeachment, and didn’t need to bring up Russia? Ironically, on this same day, Manafort was found guilty of crimes that do not touch Trump directly, but do arise out of money made doing business for …Russia, in the Ukraine. The jury convicted him of 8 of 18 charges, enough to send him to prison for the rest of his life, and Manafort still faces trial on other charges touching much more directly upon Russia, in the next few months. Manafort will soon be making a deal, unless he is so afraid of polonium that even prison looks better. Let us also please not forget that this is the same president whose first choice for National Security Adviser couldn’t make it to the inauguration without lying to the FBI, about Russia, again, Russia. It is a president who couldn’t name an attorney general without having the attorney general lie during his confirmation proceedings about …Russia, and then recuse himself from all things Russia in the administration, something for which Trump has yet to forgive him.
Back to Pierce:
More to our purposes, though, it is now plain that the Trump campaign in 2016 was merely a vehicle for various grifters and opportunists to get rich. I still believe none of these people had the foggiest notion that Trump would become president*. But if your primary goal in life is to grab enough loot from enough places, a political campaign is a nice fat turkey to be sliced up. So I think they all had their own agendas, including the president*, and all of them were sort of in business for themselves, but under the Trump flag, as the Gambinos used to put it. Most of them had been working in a corrupt business enterprise for decades before it turned itself into a political campaign and then a presidency*.
We have reason to believe that Mueller does not think he possesses the authority to indict a sitting president for crimes committed while in office. But, Cohen just plead guilty to an act that involved an felony that took place prior to Trump ever taking office, same as Cohen. What Mueller will do with this is still anyone’s guess, but …
Not only does this represent the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, but it puts the Brett Kavanaugh nomination in serious jeopardy, not the least because the entire presidency itself seems more and more an illegitimate criminal enterprise, borne of an illegitimate international criminal conspiracy, involving a criminal conspirator who knew of the crime to put him into the presidency. Whether such a president, one in such peril, should have the ability to appoint Supreme Court justices would be an important enough question. But, given that Kavanaugh has written and commented extensively on his antagonism to the idea of investigating presidents while in office, it would seem that he would be a particularly tough sell right now, as every Democratic Senator can point out that this president obviously could foresee the future and just happened to pick a man who might find the whole investigation to be unconstitutional, or at least rule his way.
We can’t know how it is all going to play out. After all, with a president that is so obviously a Russian agent, it is rather amazing that the first confirmed felony established against him would be a campaign finance law violation involving a porn star. But, we do know that today was not just another day, that important things are going on here (or else Fox might’ve reported on it), and, though today didn’t end the Trump presidency, it certainly marked the beginning of the end.
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