Tuesday, August 21, 2018 will live in history as a bad day for Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. But it was an even worse one for President Donald Trump. It is more confirmation, if more was needed, of the culture of corruption surrounding the President which he brought with him to the White House.
Paul Manafort, former Campaign Manager for Donald Trump, has been convicted of eight felonies and now faces up to eighty years in prison. The felonies included bank fraud, tax evasion and hiding money in overseas bank accounts. Manafort still faces a second trial in DC on money laundering and foreign lobbying violations. At nearly the same time as this verdict was announced in Virginia Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, campaign advisor and former RNC Finance Chair was pleading guilty to eight felony counts including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Then to add to the sleaze that has now enveloped the Republican Party, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife were being charged with campaign finance fraud for using campaign money for personal expenses and filing false reports. Interestingly Hunter was one of the first two members of Congress to endorse Trump, the other being Chris Collins (R – NY) who has also just been indicted. Hard to disregard the saying “Birds of a feather”.
While many of the felonies in both the Manafort and Cohen cases were not directly related to anything Trump did, one guilty plea by Cohen clearly implicates the President in campaign finance crimes. Cohen said both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were paid off “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office”. That candidate is Donald Trump. This clearly implicates the President in campaign finance violations and tightens the noose closing around the White House. A number of lawyers including Jonathan Turley, professor at George Washington University, said the Cohen plea “actually turns Trump into an unindicted co-conspirator.”
Trump continues to call Mueller’s investigation a ‘witch hunt’. This despite the fact Mueller has secured 35 indictments and guilty pleas so far and it seems he is only getting started. Trump continues to try to keep his base happy with outrageous statements and worse actions. Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein who helped break the Watergate scandal resulting in the resignation of Richard Nixon has said “this is worse than Watergate”.
While Mueller will continue with his criminal probe and hopefully secure more indictments and guilty pleas, in the long run it will be up to Congress to deal with the President. The question every voter must ask is whether the people they elected to Congress have the will to do their job. Since Republicans control both houses of congress it will be up to them to move forward and hold the President accountable for his actions. Up until now they show no inclination to do that and seem perfectly happy to sit back while Trump and his administration/comrades destroy the country; making friends with our enemies and burning bridges with our allies.
The Republican leaders in Congress, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have acted as sycophants clearly not willing and apparently afraid to speak out. They have accepted Trump and his administration’s racism, homophobia and sexism with not even a whimper. They seem perfectly happy to wallow in the sleaze that has oozed from the White House and the people Trump has populated it with like the Stephen Miller’s of the administration. Their fear of the despot they helped to elect is palpable.
McConnell made a deal to have his wife serve in the administration and has done the bidding of Trump from day one. Ryan occasionally peeks out of his office to say something akin to a criticism then retreats just as quickly. A joke by Stephen Colbert seems all too true. After only a couple dozen white supremacists showed up to a rally in DC Colbert said, “Usually when two dozen white supremacists meet in D.C. these days it’s called a Cabinet Meeting”.
It is eminently clear to those following the news on any station other than FOX that the longer Trump is in the White House the more danger the nation and the world are in. We are moving backwards when it comes to the rights of women, immigrants, African Americans, and the LGBTQ+ community. Fewer people will have adequate healthcare. As the Trump tariffs go into effect Americans will be hurt by a growing trade war. Farmers are already suffering when tariffs have been imposed on their crops by other countries. Workers at some manufacturing plants have already lost their jobs and more could follow.
Americans cannot rewrite history and change what they did in 2016 but they have a chance on November 6, 2018 to put a brake on the erosion of our freedoms and show our friends around the world we are not all Trump. We are better than the sleazy group he surrounds himself with. We actually understand we are a nation built on the backs of immigrants and they are still welcome here. We are a decent people and want to ensure the rights of women, the LGBTQ+ community and all minorities. We as a people do care and want to stand with our allies to ensure world peace and fight climate change.
The opportunity comes with your VOTE. That is your chance to make this statement about our country. It will require everyone to go to the polls and VOTE for every Democrat on the general election ballot. That is our only chance to stop the despot in the White House and elect a Congress willing to hold him and his minions accountable for what they have and are doing to the country.
Tags: Cohen, Hunter, Manfort, Republican, Sleaze, Trump, Vote