Thursday, April 19, 2018|2 a.m.
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Keep one’s cool and raise hell. The forces of reality and justice may be surrounding President Donald Trump, however there is no need to believe they can accomplishment without huge displays of outrage in the streets and at the polls.
Possibly the most major hazard Trump has actually ever faced came last week when FBI representatives robbed the office, home and hotel room of his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen. By all accounts, Cohen’s role for the president and the Trump Organization has been that of a “fixer” who brings in offers and makes issues disappear.
As everyone understands by now, Cohen “facilitated” payment of $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about the sexual tryst she says she had with Trump. And inning accordance with a claim submitted by previous Playboy model Karen McDougal, Cohen was included behind the scenes in cementing a $150,000 agreement that squelched her story of a 10-month affair she says she had with Trump.
However the president’s sex life may be the least of his worries on the Cohen front. For more than a decade, Cohen remained in a much better position than anybody– arguably, even Trump’s kids Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric, who also worked in the household company– to know the intimate details of Trump’s company negotiations.
Was the Trump Company buoyed by an influx of Russian money, as Donald Jr. as soon as declared? Existed Russian contacts that have not yet been revealed? Did Trump or his project collude with Russians to meddle in the election? In its realty sales, did Trump’s company take the required safety measures versus loan laundering by shady characters? Did Trump’s swashbuckling business design, which he so frequently boasts, ever cross the line into illegality?
Cohen can likely offer responses. If required, FBI representatives may refresh his memory with the audio recordings they apparently seized of Cohen’s telephone call.
“Attorney-client privilege is dead!” Trump tweeted after learning of the raid. “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”
On the rare occasions when federal authorities rob a lawyer’s workplace, they must go through elaborate and extensive treatments. A judge needs to approve the search warrant, which requires a showing that evidence of specific criminal activities will likely be found. Files seized are examined by a special “taint team” of prosecutors who have actually had no previous participation in the event and whose only function is to edit products covered by attorney-client privilege before passing the rest to the principal investigators. The Cohen raid was licensed not by special counsel Robert Mueller however by the office of the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New york city. None of this is good news for Cohen– or for Trump.
The other advancement that reportedly has the president in a rage is the scathing verdict on his character provided by former FBI director Jim Comey in a freshly published book and an interview with ABC News.
All right, Comey does come off as something of a sanctimonious tool. But his book’s account of Trump’s duplicated needs for a promise of individual loyalty and completely unsuitable efforts to interfere in the Russia investigation ring true. In the ABC interview, Comey charged that Trump was “ethically unfit to be president.”
Comey compared Trump to a mafia manager– “It’s the family, the family, the family, the family”– and said there is “some proof” that the president dedicated obstruction of justice. Asked by George Stephanopoulos whether he thinks the Russians “have something” on Trump, Comey responded, “I believe it’s possible.”
For those people who concur with Comey’s judgments about the president and invite the vise-like pressure on Cohen, all of this is mentally satisfying. But so what?
The White Home asserted last week that Trump has the power to fire Mueller, and clearly he would enjoy to do so. Trump might also look for to sterilize Mueller’s probe by shooting his supervisor, Deputy Chief law officer Rod Rosenstein, and installing someone more pliant.
If Trump took either of these actions, would Congress stand up to him? Not this Congress. Not unless millions objected throughout the nation to demand action. Massive demonstrations may work– however also might not.
The only sure way of guaranteeing that this aberrant administration is investigated, held liable and properly limited is to put Democrats in control of one or both houses of Congress. A brand-new Washington Post poll reveals that the Democratic edge over Republicans ahead of the midterm election has narrowed. Rather, it has to grow.
Only you and I can stop Trump. It’s all about November.
Eugene Robinson is a columnist for The Washington Post.