Given the serious legal difficulties involving President Trump and other Republican representatives as revealed yesterday, Axios reports that a “top GOP guru” offered this bit of political analysis: “The Republican Party looks like a criminal enterprise.”
This dour view is not shared by Congressional Republicans, at least for the moment. Though former Trump lawyer and handyman, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in federal court to, among other things, paying off two women at the direction of Trump (who say they had extra-marital affairs with the president) “for the principal purpose of influencing the election,” Congressional Republicans are withholding judgement. The Republican feeling seems to be that if Russia has nothing to do with it, what’s the big deal?
Serious charges, hey, Sen. Lindsay Graham?
“Campaign finance violations — I don’t know what will come from that, but the thing that will hurt the president the most is if, in fact, his campaign did coordinate with a foreign government like Russia. Anything short of that is probably going to fall into partisan camps.” —NY Times
So a federal felony is now in the eye of the partisan beholder.
What about you, Sen. John Cornyn? Are you prepared to act upon Cohen’s statement in court?
“I have no idea about what the facts are surrounding his guilty plea other than the fact that none of it has anything to do with the Russia investigation.” —NY Times
I see. Well, Cohen said–this is a fact–that then-candidate Trump instructed him to . . .
“Well, I’m not very happy about it. It should never have happened to begin with.”–CNN
But it did happen. Shouldn’t the president be held accountable?
“The president should not be held responsible for the actions of the people he’s trusted.”–CNN
But Sen. Cornyn. Cohen said, under oath, that Trump directed him to make the payments. Wait, where are you going?
Ok, how about it, Speaker Ryan? Is impeachment in the works?
Ryan’s office responds: “We are aware of Mr. Cohen’s guilty plea to these serious charges. We will need more information than is currently available at this point.”
Yes, but what about the information about President Trump’s alleged involvement?
Sen. Mitch McConnell, surely you have something to say? Impeachment or indictment?
Fortunately, there is always one person in the District of Columbia whom we can count on to have something to say. Or tweet. President Trump himself had this to say in a tweet this morning about Cohen’s pleading guilty to high crimes:
Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!
So the president claims that Cohen plead guilty to two “violations” that are not a crime. The violations are, in fact, felonies. Felonies are a crime. Obama’s campaign was merely fined for failing to report all donors in a timely manner. Obama himself was not involved. Notice that Trump does not deny what Cohen said he did– told Cohen to pay-off the two women.
Look! There’s Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley! Chuck, what’s the legal ramifications for President Trump after what Michael Cohen said in court? Impeach or indict?
“All we know about it is he’s plead guilty and everything else that you’re asking me about is speculation. And I don’t think I should be speculating.” —CNN
Well, here’s some speculation: the eyes of the nation are opening up. At some point, maybe not until the November election, the vision of Congressional Republicans will also improve.