Littwin: One thing you can count on — GOP won’t follow the Trump-Cohen (hush) money

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr: Creative Commons)

This was the day Donald Trump finally became an impeachable president.

I’m not predicting impeachment (though it’s possible if Dems win the House in November) or conviction (unlikely in any case), but everything changed with lawyer/fixer/better-call-Sauler Michael Cohen’s guilty plea in which he implicated Trump as co-conspirator-in-chief.

It’s no ordinary co-conspirator implication. Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws in paying off two women “in coordination” with and “at the direction of” an unnamed candidate in 2016. We know the unnamed candidate. We know the women — porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. We know they were paid hush money to keep quiet about alleged Trump affairs in the days leading up to the election. We know that Cohen said, in his guilty plea, that he did this with the “principal purpose of influencing” the election. We know 80,000 votes in three states decided the election.

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You want more? The Washington Post reports that Tuesday’s legal filings show that the Trump Organization paid Cohen $420,000 for the hush money, which Cohen justified by turning in “sham” invoices. These monthly invoices, by the way, were paid after Trump was elected president. Trump will say he doesn’t know anything about this. After all, he doesn’t know anything about, say, trade. Or health care. Or, well, you get the idea. But I’m not sure ignorance works here.

Cohen is a well-known liar, of course. He was also a well-known liar under oath taking a plea that would put him away for maybe five years and desperately looking for a way out.

Trump tweeted on Day 2 of the most damaging (so far) period of his presidency that if you’re looking for a lawyer, don’t hire Cohen. What was left unsaid, of course, is don’t hire Cohen unless, that is, you’re looking for a crooked lawyer.

Which, it’s easy enough to surmise, is exactly what Trump was looking for.

At this point, Trump’s former campaign manager, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, Trump’s trusted lawyer, Trump’s national security adviser and Trump’s campaign foreign-policy adviser have all either been convicted or pleaded guilty to felonies. No wonder the New York Daily News’ front-page headline was “All the President’s Henchmen”.

Meanwhile, Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis (didn’t you think/hope we’d seen the last of him forever?) said Cohen did not want to be “dirtied” by a pardon from Donald Trump. When Cohen calls you dirty, you’re at least waist deep in the big muddy. Davis also said, or at least heavily implied, that Cohen has so much more on Trump, on the Russia meeting, on the Russia hacking, on the hush money, on God knows what else. Cohen is ready to talk to Mueller and you know Mueller has the tape recorders warming up.

So, impeachment? Democratic politicians don’t even like to say the word, at least not until after the midterms. Bret Stephens, the conservative New York Times columnist, has tweeted that Trump should resign or be impeached. You’ll see more like that in the coming days. And guess who else has already chimed in. Yes, our own Victor Mitchell, runner-up in the Republican primary for governor, has called for Trump to resign.

That means, of course, that Walker Stapleton will have to answer the question. I’m looking forward to that well-crafted response. This is not the beginning of the end for the political repercussions. It is, to cite an uncrooked politician, the end of the beginning.

The Manafort-Cohen verdict day — which some are comparing to the day John Dean testified before the Senate Watergate committee— will have, no doubt, a huge impact on the midterms, in which Democrats were already slight favorites to retake the House. It may have an impact on the Senate, too, which Democrats are underdogs to win back.

 If you want to understand why Trump still has approval ratings in the low 40s, all you had to do was get up close and personal with the Trump base at his West Virginia unironical “lock her up” rally Monday night. If you want to understand the fix the enabling Republican Congress finds itself in, watch as they pretend that nothing has changed, nothing new needs to be investigated and that they’re perfectly fine with not following the Trump hush money.

Let’s see how far-reaching this thing could go. It’s no more than a footnote, I guess, that standing by Trump’s side (actually a few steps behind in the photo I saw) on Monday was Cory Gardner. He presumably wasn’t there simply to lend support for the Embattled One, but to join him at a rally for West Virginia senatorial candidate Patrick Morrisey.

Will Gardner, whose job it is to run the GOP Senate campaign team, spend the next few months traveling with Trump to this rally and that? I mean, do you think Gardner would rather be photographed with Trump these days or with his Filipino handshake buddy Rodrigo Duterte? 

And here’s the thing: At some point, presumably, Gardner will have to actually answer questions about the Trump situation. He hasn’t yet, but it’s his job to go on TV and lay out the getting-Republicans-elected strategy, which is now facing a few more bumps than it did when the week began. 

We already have Trump saying that none of this has anything to do with collusion, as if, yeah, he committed some impeachable offenses — and, yeah, he’d be indicted right now if he weren’t president — but where’s the collusion evidence? Well, Manafort is now facing the rest of his life in prison. If he flips, we may get some evidence. If Trump pardons him, the impeachment talk will get only louder.

For Trump, the real problem is that Mueller is not nearly finished. And though Trump, as president, can’t be indicted — that’s the Justice Department’s position anyway — Don Jr. and Jared Kushner, just as two examples, can be. Remember Nixon and the tapes? We’ve Cohen and tapes and Omarosa and tapes and not a Rosemary Woods in sight.

Trump, in his desperation, keeps calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. Well, the hunt has hit home, and, if you look closely, you can see the outlines of a coven not far from the Oval Office.

8 COMMENTS

  1. “Trump, in his desperation, keeps calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt.”

    Mike, in his masturbation, keeps hoping the Mueller will magically overturn the 2016 POTUS election and install Hillary as Queen of America for ever and ever.

  2. Love the reference to Rosemary Woods!

    And someone styling themselves as Deng Xiaoping is criticizing you?
    It’s been years since I’ve seen buffoonery of that level. LOL.

  3. I keep expecting to turn to my media sources and see SOME reaction from elected Republicans from Colorado. Stapleton says “it’s a Washington problem” — which means, I guess, he won’t be talking about national politics like, say, health insurance. C. Coffman & Williams appear to be missing in action; Gardner, Buck, M. Coffman, Lamborn & Tipton still have press pages and Facebook accounts, but I haven’t seen them reacting either. Maybe it’s just my connection to the internet that’s on the fritz.

    Victor Mitchell stands out, calling for resignation or an impeachment process.

  4. com·plic·i·ty
    kəmˈplisədē

    the state of being involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing.

    synonyms: collusion, involvement, collaboration, connivance, conspiracy;
    informal being in cahoots

  5. Elections have consequences

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president. He was sliding in the polls before the video, and the video now means that he has no way to climb back. Which independent voter, which suburban woman, which Main Street Republican on the fence is going to vote for Trump now?” – Mike Littwin

    Magical thinking: The belief that one’s own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. It is common in very young children. – Radiotherapy

    President Trump 306 Electoral votes
    Hillary Clinton 232

    #droptheMike

    }{

    Yippee, he’s gonna get impeached!: Part Deux. Or is it Part Trois?

    Well, anyway, Mr. Littwin uses the phrase “impeachable president” because it titillates the majority of his readers who will quickly forget that in the very next sentence—-that’s right the very next sentence—-he quickly walks that back, “I’m not predicting impeachment”. There may have been quicker reversals but not many outside of a gridiron.

    Mr. Littwin wants to cover all his bases because, well, it’s what he does. He doesn’t want to get burned again by making unequivocal statements like, “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president” or have to explain how President Trump was elected despite being described by Mr. Littwin’s as “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party.”

    And his renewed talk of impeachment is based on allegations made by lawyer Michael Cohen who Mr. Littwin admits is “a well-known liar”.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    What Mr. Littwin seems to forget is impeachment talk plays in President Trump’s favor. This from The Atlantic, “But Democratic leaders—Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, the people running the House and Senate campaign committees—utter the I word only when asked, and only to insist that whatever Democrats may believe about Trump’s culpability, campaigning about it would be bad politics.  Impeachment, as a partisan issue, is a loser on the trail.”

    Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Trump critic, said “Democrats are smart to leave the I word alone.”

    In this column Mr. Littwin quotes the Washington Post but the following quote, also from the Post, suggests there are portions of the Washington Post Mr Littwin prefers not to read: “some advice for commentators about the Paul Manafort conviction and the Michael Cohen guilty plea: They tell us a lot. They do not, however, tell us whether the president is going to be impeached.

    But we aren’t close to President Trump’s removal from office or his resignation. It still looks as though the Republican Party is going to pick up seats in the Senate and may even hold the House.”

    And this from Alan Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School, “It also is not criminal for a candidate to pay hush money to women whose disclosures might endanger his campaign. So if candidate Trump paid hush money to his two accusers, there would be no violation of any campaign or other laws.”

    But in his rush towards impeachment Mr. Littwin failed to mention the really, really bad news for President Trump: Steven Tyler threatened legal action if our president used any Aerosmith songs at his political rallies. That’s a game changer!

    These days Mr. Littwin needs a reason to get up in the morning and with Tom Tancredo no longer on the political scene maybe impeachment talk will have to substitute and if Mr. Littwin didn’t remind readers of his 50 years as a journalist his column wouldn’t offer a clue.

    50 years as a journalist and none in journalism.

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Flags of Valor
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation

    Veterans Day – November 11, 2018

  6. Lmao…keep mumbling from the corner Comrade Don. It’s good to see you still can’t defend the indefensible. It’s apparently quite the contagious condition among Republicans…but particularly virulent among trolls.

    Duly Elected
    elected in the way that is correct or expected according to the law or rules

    Synonyms
    appropriately, congruously, correctly, fittingly, happily, meetly, properly, right, rightly, suitably

    Antonyms
    improperly, inappropriately, incongruously, incorrectly, unseemly, unsuitably, wrongly

    Traitor
    one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty, one who commits treason

    Stolen Valor
    a term applied to the phenomenon of people falsely claiming military awards or badges they did not earn, service they did not perform, Prisoner of War experiences that never happened, and other tales of military derring-do that exist only in their minds.

  7. You commenters are not all that well informed. If the Dems win the congress, and statistics are saying they have a 72% chance, they can form many committees to investigate Trump, his finances, foreign emoluments breaches, etc. the list goes on. Impeachment is complex and doesn’t exactly mean the President gets kicked out. Nixon was not impeached for obstruction of justice on Watergate; he quit first, and the Repubs backed him up until the last minute,and his approval rating was then around the same as Trump’s is now. The forces of history are against this truly terrible President and his blindsided fans who are still singing Lock her Up when she’s no longer in play and Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, and Cohen, his crooked lawyer are the ones headed for jail.

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