Only twice in American history would the title of today’s article be accurate, I have lived in both administrations. As a young adult then-President Richard Nixon was my president and named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. Last week Tuesday, as part of his former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s plea agreement, Donald Trump made a senior citizen relive part of his relative youth. Not one of the highlights! It doesn’t end there, let’s explore.
Within minutes of that event a Virginia jury found Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort guilty of eight felonies. The right wing made a big deal out of the fact that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on ten other charges. If you want to play the numbers game ponder this: there were 216 votes (18 charges – 12 jurors) cast of which 206, or over 95%, were to convict.
More and more people are starting to describe the Trump administration and organization as an organized criminal enterprise; Dr. Howard Dean and I have been doing that for many months, (I think I was first). If anyone is paying unbiased attention, that is how Robert Mueller has approached this investigation. Furthermore, Mueller has protected the investigation by “farming parts out” to other jurisdictions. In protection of this quest for the truth and to protect against a Republican controlled Congress unwilling to do its job, state law enforcement entities are either entering the fray or appear poised to do so. The two states currently in question are New York and Virginia. Trump has neither pardon nor termination powers in the states and both are currently controlled by Democrats.
One of the axioms in following a scandal and its cover-up is: Follow the money. In that vein things got even worse for Trump on Friday when it was reported that his CFO, Alan Weisselberg, was granted immunity to testify in New York. We do not know the full extent of the immunity but we know it involves the hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal. Speaking of McDougal, Thursday wasn’t exactly a good day for Trump because it was reported that David Pecker, who runs the National Enquirer, was also granted immunity. It appears he did a lot of “catch and kill” stuff to aid Trump’s election. One of the instances involves McDougal. I am not a First Amendment lawyer, but I’m reasonably confident that its protections don’t include conspiracy to suppress the truth.
Anyone who thinks the Russiagate investigation is ending soon simply isn’t paying attention; or at least paying attention to credible sources (Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump are certainly not among the credible sources). Manafort’s second trial isn’t scheduled to commence until September 27th and Cohen’s sentencing is currently scheduled for December. Russiagate is with us at least through the end of the year.
I don’t think we have seen half of the evidence that will eventually be made public. For instance, international money laundering is still only on the fringe of discussions. Does anyone really think the number of paid off “friends” is limited to two? Remember almost every time a financial crime is committed it entails a tax violation on both the federal and state level, that’s two additional crimes.
As baby boomers like me continue to relive our youth we, along with all Americans, need to remember to focus on the signals and not get distracted by the noise. In a twisted paraphrase of Richard Nixon, my President is a crook.
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