Forty-four years ago, I wrote a column for my newspaper in Illinois about the resignation of an American president drowning in lies and scandals.
Now, I write on this political news website about the former personal attorney of our current president pleading guilty to eight felonies, including two that clearly implicated Donald John Trump in illegal actions to affect the 2016 presidential election that allowed him to become the upset winner.
In papers filed with the pleas of Michael Cohen in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday, Trump is identified as “Individual 1,” legal speak for a felony suspect in what the U.S. Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors” that qualifies a president for impeachment.
In 1974, a Congressional committee charged with investigation of Nixon’s misdoings voted to impeach Richard M. Nixon for his high crimes but Nixon resigned in disgrace before actual proceedings could begin.
Since then, Congress has only impeached one other American president — Bill Clinton for perjury in lying about his sexual dalliances with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That impeachment, driven by Republicans, failed and Clinton completed his second term.
Now, with Trump in the White House with what he considers “absolute power” to run the nation as a ruthless dictator, the Republican-led Congress is both complicit in his illegal and immoral actions and too cowardly to act in the best interests of the nation.
“This is a very big deal. The president of the United States has been directly implicated in federal crimes, and implicated not by some enemy but by his own personal lawyer,” Neal Katyal, a former U.S. solicitor general who is now a white-collar criminal defense attorney, told The Washington Post Tuesday.
Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason, who now teaches law at George Washington University, says Cohen’s pleas most likely “implicated Trump in aiding and abetting the campaign violation, or in a conspiracy.”
Cohen’s guilty pleas came on the say day that a jury in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, VA, found former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. He faces another trial next month on other felonies.
Manafort’s trial and convictions came out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian collusion i the 2016 Presidential election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
Trump calls the investigation a “witch hunt” and claims, often, that he is not involved. The information that brought the guilty pleas by Cohen came from Mueller, who provide documents, tapes and other evidence to the federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
Cohen’s guilty pleas, under oath, now clearly implicate Trump in directing him to break the law by arranging to pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy nude model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about details of claimed affairs with Trump.
A $130,000 payment to Daniels by Cohen was reimbursed by the Trump Organization as part of more than $400,000 in expenses and fees. The payments, Cohen now admits, were made to keep damaging information from becoming public in the 2016 election — felony actions because they were unreported political contributions and exceeded campaign finance limits.
Not involved? To use the gutter language of Donald Trump, he is up to his fat, lying ass in this mess of felonies and subversion of America’s political process.
Ironically, those attending a campaign-style rally for Trump in West Virginia Tuesday chanted “drain the swamp,” a refrain he used in the 2016 presidential campaign.
That swamp he promised to drain is now his, a toxic dump filled with his criminal associated and dominated by the most putrid hog of all — Donald John Trump.
Forty-four years ago, I wrote in a newspaper column about the resignation of a scandal-ridden Richard M. Nixon from the presidency.
The headline read: “Jail to the chief.”
Nixon never went to jail for his high crimes against the state because Gerald Ford, an appointed vice president after Spiro Agnew got caught in his own felonies, pardoned the disgraced president.
Voters paid Ford back for that pardon by defeating him in the next presidential election.
Something that Republicans facing the midterm elections in November should remember if they don’t take action that is needed against the current criminal at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
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