By Angelo Lynn
Not since President Richard Nixon has the United States faced the prospect of indicting a sitting president, and not since Nixon has a sitting president been implicated in a felony crime.
In Trump’s case, this first felony allegation relates to failing to record the payoffs to two women with whom he had sexual affairs while he was married to Melania Trump as campaign expenditures. Those funds, the prosecution found in compiling charges against Trump’s personal lawyer and fix-it-man, Michael Cohen, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars and were used to buy their silence ahead of the presidential election. Cohen testified that he made those arrangements under Trump’s personal direction.
Meanwhile, in Wednesday’s headlines, Trump praises his former campaign chairman and friend Paul Manafort as a “wonderful” and “brave” man, even though he was convicted by a jury of 8 charges of fraud, hiding and lying about millions of dollars of income to avoid paying taxes and worse, while the jury was hung on 10 other counts. Trump’s comment? He continued to call the special prosecutor’s investigation “a rigged witch hunt” because Manafort was only convicted of eight counts, while on 10 counts the jury couldn’t decide if the evidence was beyond a doubt. The prosecution is considering retrying those 10 counts, and should, but in the meantime, Manafort faces more charges on obstruction of justice and his dealing with Russia and their attempts to influence the election. In short, he’s a scoundrel whose been caught lying and stealing his way to riches, and could have been undermining the country’s free election — and Trump calls him a hero.
Think about that lack of judgment in our current president.
It’s was bad enough on the campaign trail when he was exposed as a cheating, sexist pig of a man, boasting of taking liberties with women. His language and his attitude were crass and below the dignity that Americans have long sought in their president.
But that was just the start of Trump’s 18-month downward spiral into the swamp he has created in the nation’s capital.
When stories of his infidelity to Melania Trump first came on the stage, he was vehement in his denial; and he kept lying about those sexual infidelities right up to the point that the facts were so overwhelming even he couldn’t deny them. Now that the public knows the truth: that he had sexual affairs with two different women, including during the months his son with Melania was being born and thereafter; that he paid them off to keep their stories from going public before the election; that he lied repeatedly to his followers and the nation about it; and now, even as it all but admits those relationships, he still refutes responsibility, and denigrates the man he asked to carry out his orders — apparently without any recognition of personal shame.
Trump supporters, and those on the fence, must ask themselves if that is really the kind of person they want as a leader.
And that’s just the petty stuff.
Collusion with the Russians to sway the election may be difficult to pin precisely on Donald Trump, but Robert Mueller III’s team appears to be getting closer and closer to that outcome. So far, Mueller’s team has secured guilty verdicts against five close aides to the president, one Dutch attorney for lying about the administration’s connection to Russia, and has charged 13 Russian nationals and 12 Russian intelligence agents with direct efforts to influence in the election. That is an astounding amount of corruption in any president’s first year-plus in office.
And, no, that isn’t just the liberal press castigating this president unfairly, it’s a fact that all Americans should be extremely troubled by and committed to bringing those violating the law to trial.
What Americans have seen with this Trump administration are some of the most corrupt Americans ever to be appointed as trustees of the American treasury and to oversee the essential services government should provide for the public good. And there is more to come.
As many pundits have said, what the public knows to date — which is already incriminating enough to warrant impeachment proceedings against the president — is but a fraction of what Mueller knows and what he is preparing to litigate. The hope is that a bipartisan Congress elected this November will strengthen the Legislative branch of our three-legged checks-and-balance form of government, and the system that the Founding Fathers constructed will work as envisioned.
Angelo Lynn is co-publisher of the Colchester Sun and publisher of the Addison Independent, where this editorial first appeared.