This will go down in American history as an extremely significant week. This is the moment where likely we saw the beginning of the end of the Donald J Trump administration. The parallels to the end of the Richard Nixon administration continue to deepen. It is as if we decided to repeat the same errors forty years later. The parallels are impressive, and this includes his party. For the moment, the Republican Party is still in denial. Though some Republicans are starting to show signs that they are getting nervous, though not yet in public.
Newsweek quoted an LA Times White House Reporter as follows:
Speaking to host Nicolle Wallace on Monday, Eli Stokols — a White House reporter for the Los Angeles Times — said that concrete evidence of wrongdoing by Trump could make continued Republican support for the president untenable.
“There is some understanding, I think, inside the White House of just how dark it may be getting,” the reporter said, adding that there were “private conversations people there are having with Republicans on the Hill who are starting to be concerned.”
This is why all these matters. When Richard Nixon resigned, he did so after he lost the GOP. He did not take that step until he lost his party. In fact, there was a delegation of his own party who drove to the White House and pointed to the president how dire the situation was. Nixon not just faced impeachment, he faced indictment in the Senate.
The situation is different today. Leader Mitch McConnell has control over the Senate and he could, conceivably, hold off on a trial on the Senate. Why Democrats will not pull the impeachment until they know the Senate is on board. We may be getting to that point.
An impeachment is a political act. Never mind that the founders conceived of it as a way to remove a president that has broken the law. We did not set a new system of government where the president is the equivalent of a king. No president is above the law, Never mind that the Justice Department believes it cannot indict a sitting president, or that the office has evolved into near imperial trappings.
But there is more…
Un-indicted co-conspirator Donald J Trump
Like Nixon, Trump has been implicated in at least two felonies, with the Michael Cohen indictment. One involves violations of Campaign Finance Law, which is one of the weakest pieces of legislation ever. And now some in his party are comparing this to the John Edwards saga in 2008,
John Edwards did have co-conspirators rolling on him. But the prosecution could not show that either Edwards, or anybody on his staff, solicited campaign contributions specifically for the purposes of paying off his mistress, Rielle Hunter. There was no tape of Edwards telling his lawyer to make it “cash.” There was no tape of Edwards pretending to know nothing about the hush money payments that he himself ordered.
The key witness against Edwards was a junior staffer named Andrew Young. Young testified to a devious scheme he helped Edwards execute. But, crucially for distinguishing purposes, Young could not testify to giving Edwards the money to execute his expensive cover-up.
This matters, because Cohen admitted to it, and there is more. Like Watergate, there is tape. David Pecker, head of AMI, owners of the National Enquirer, have also accepted a deal from the feds. They will spill the beans, because Pecker is first and foremost, about David Pecker. There is no loyalty in his bone, but protecting his company and his person. So he has agreed to roll over Donald Trump, who he protected for decades by using catch and capture techniques.
We are at the beginning of the saga, We will see more of this as more indictments roll in,
The president in a series of panicked Twitter rants, once again told us that there is no collusion. The press, like good idiots, has repeated this. I will say it again, collusion will likely never be proven, Why? This beast does not exist in US Law. It Is hard to prove what has not been codified, why the Trump organization and its allies keep using this term. The press seems incapable of letting go off this hook.
However, there are a couple of things that do exist in US Law, that Trump and his allies continue to avoid. The hydra head involves obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Both have been hinted already in the other Justice Department documents, whether it is the Special Counsel, or the counterintelligence division, Moreover, Russian. The intent is clear as day in the Butina filing.
It partially reads:
The Russian Federation, or Russia, is one of the leading state intelligence threats to U.S. interests, based on its capabilities, intent, and broad operational scope. Penetrating the U.S. national decision-making apparatus and the Intelligence Community are primary objectives for numerous foreign intelligence entities, including Russia. The objective of the Russian Federation leadership is to expand its sphere of influence and strength, and it targets the United States and U.S. allies to further that goal.
She used her influence with the National Rifle Association and members of the Republican Party, In fact, she asked questions of then-candidate Trump as well, pretending to be a member of the media.
We also know from the Cohen filing that there were negotiations in the middle of the campaign to build Trump Tower Moscow. This has been a long-term objective of the president, and he did not stop, even when denying he was doing that during the campaign.
The Flynn filing details the contacts with Russians before the election and during the transition, In effect, we have evidence that this conspiracy was taking form. We also can surmise that the president is compromised by foreign actors. Flynn lied about meeting with the Russian ambassador, for example.
When the FBI interviewed the defendant on January 24 about his interactions with the Russian ambassador, the defendant falsely stated that he did not ask the Russian ambassador to refrain from escalating the situation in response to the sanctions, and falsely disclaimed any memory of his subsequent conversation with the ambassador in which the ambassador stated that Russia had acceded to the defendant’s request.
These conversations were sensitive, and while there is no charge under the Logan Act, it could be a violation, Flynn was credited for cooperation and there was a recommendation of no jail time. However, it puts a lie to the idea that none met with the Russians. So far, we know sixteen Trump associates did, including family. We also know there was a meeting in the Oval Office with Russian officials, where the American press was excluded,
According to the Washington Post, this was no mere meeting:
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
So the president declassified in that instant information that put lives at risk, maybe to show off. However, it may be more than just showing off. He is likely compromised, and that was the beginning of many incidents where he showed deference to the Russian Federation and put it the head of his country.
This week is critical and may be the beginning of the end, Some Republicans are growing nervous over the antics. As time goes on, and likely hearings in the House, more will turn.
To those who remember Watergate know that this is likely a turning point. And we do expect Michael Cohen to testify before Congress before he reports to serve three years in federal prison. Perhaps, DOJ will make him available after the fact. And this piece has not even touched on the other front gathering dark clouds, and this is the Emoluments lawsuit.