Yesterday was extraordinary.
The inevitable events that occurred hit us from a number of different angles. I say “inevitable” because many of us saw this type of s***show coming long before the election of 2016. We recognized the type of people that Trump surrounded himself with…the corrupt, the sleazy, the crooked. We also recognized that Trump fit in with them perfectly.
Is this the culmination of the s***show? Is this the climax of this whole sordid story? No. It’s not. Sadly, there’s more to come. It’s too early to start pulling out the “I told you so’s”. But yesterday was definitely a big harbinger of what’s to come.
The “Good Man”
Paul Manafort has been a mostly “behind the scenes” character in politics for many years. Trump likes to tout how he’s worked with Reagan, Bush, Dole and more. Which we’re supposed to accept as meaning he’s obviously a good guy. More importantly, that is supposed to take the heat off of Trump for hiring Manafort as his campaign manager. However, anyone that was paying any attention at all during the primary campaign learned very early on about all of the sleazy red flags waving loudly around Manafort. There were reports of him working closely with the Russians in various ways, reports of Russian mafia ties, and reports of financial type mischief. For Trump to claim that he had no idea about these controversies is absurd.
So he became Trump’s campaign chair. Many reports suggested he was brought on for two main reasons. First, to keep all of the delegates in line to ensure Trump’s nomination. It seems, Manafort had certain expertise and techniques to make this go “smoothly” (remember the threats against the delegates?). The other reason was to see through some certain Russian-related changes to the Republican Platform at the convention. Mission accomplished on both items. But when Manafort’s sleazy Russian connections were being exposed more in the mainstream, Trump quickly dumped him.
Fast-forward to the Mueller investigation and we found that Manafort was one of the first to be indicted. The charges were various financial crimes, such as tax fraud, bank fraud, hiding foreign accounts, etc. And that is just his first trial and set of charges (18 counts in total). His second trial will begin next month where he faces charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, witness tampering, and making false statements.
The first trial ended yesterday and the verdict brought back guilty verdicts on 8 counts and a hung jury on the other 10. For those 8 guilty counts, he now faces up to 80 years in prison. It’s unclear whether the prosecutors will seek to retry him on the remaining 10 counts that resulted in a hung jury.
And, again, he now faces that second trial which involves even worse charges.
So, what was President Trump’s reaction to Manafort’s conviction?
“Paul Manafort is a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of different people over the years. I feel very sad about that. It doesn’t involve me but I still feel — you know it’s a very sad thing that happened,’ Trump said as he arrived in Charleston, West Virginia, for a rally Tuesday evening. “You know, this has nothing to do with Russian collusion.”CNN
A good man?
The Bad Man
Then there is Micheal Cohen. Trump’s self-proclaimed “fixer”. (Fixer? Who talks like that? I’ll leave that to the reader to ponder.)
Cohen has been Trump’s personal attorney for years, “fixing” all of the sleazy predicaments that Trump finds himself in. You know, paying off porn stars and various other women to keep quiet about Trump’s unfaithfulness. That sort of thing. There must have been a lot of work in that because Cohen only had a couple of other clients (one of them, coincidentally enough, was none other than Sean Hannity, Client #3).
Cohen has been covered here at TNB quite extensively, so I won’t go into all of the sordid details. The big thing to know is that when Cohen’s legal troubles began in earnest, a big rift developed between him and Trump. While he had previously been praised by Trump and his sycophants (I’m looking at you Rudy), he is now being portrayed as a very bad man who lies about everything. Why did they want to paint Cohen as such a big liar? Well, we got that answer yesterday when Cohen walked into a New York courtroom and pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including some serious campaign finance violations where he very blatantly implicated his client, the then candidate for, and now President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday to eight criminal counts and implicated Trump himself in a remarkable courtroom moment.CNN
Cohen admitted that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he kept information that would have harmed Trump from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle.
He’s a very bad man.
The Ugly Man
I and others have consistently pointed out the ugliness of President Trump’s behavior. I even wrote an article specifically addressing that.
As the Trump saga continues, and his situation becomes even more dire, I am confident that he will get even uglier.
Manafort and Cohen are only the latest in Trump’s sphere that are now headed to prison.
And they won’t be the last.