And Why Could That Be Dangerous for the Rest of Us?
The pressure is building on Donald Trump. He is reported to be worried about getting impeached. He is right to be worried. He knows what he did. And it is coming out.
Michael Cohen was sentenced yesterday. In that sentencing we learned some important new information. First, Cohen may be going to jail, but he is more than willing to keep revealing Trump’s dirty secrets including those related to Mueller’s “core” mission- namely, collusion with the Russians. If he is helpful, he might get out of jail sooner but he is motivated to air Trump’s criminality even without that incentive. Cohen is also ready willing and able to come to Capitol Hill to testify in an open hearing. All he needs is the invitation. The House Intelligence Committee is going to take him up on that offer when the Dems take over. When that happens, Americans will be glued to their TV sets watching and listening as Trump’s dirty laundry and criminal behavior gets fully aired by Cohen to the extent he knows it. Others will be invited to those open hearings to testify about Trump as well: Flynn, Gates, and others who have been close to the president will be invited to the truth party on Capitol Hill.
We also learned that more important and extensive sources of dirt on Trump are coming.
The SDNY issued a press release after Cohen’s sentencing. In it we learned that David Pecker of AMI (The Enquirer) is also willing to bury Trump with the truth in order to protect himself. Pecker, you might remember is Trump’s former friend who conspired with Trump and Cohen to catch and kill the stories of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. He has allegedly caught and killed hundreds of stories about Trump’s wrongdoings over the years. He apparently kept a safe full of Trump’s secrets. But faced with possible criminal charges for his role in this scheme, Pecker has chosen to save himself and tell the truth about Trump. His non-prosecution agreement with SDNY, revealed in the press release yesterday, will be helpful to the coming prosecution of Individual 1, who is Trump.
Because what it alleges essentially blows up Trump’s defense to the criminal charge of committing these campaign finance violations. Trump was trying to establish a defense like the one John Edwards used when his payments to a woman were uncovered during his campaign for president. Edwards had a partial win before a jury with the defense that he made his payments not for political reasons, but because he was trying to protect this information about his affair from coming out and ruining his marriage. Intent can be hard to prove in these cases. But with BOTH Cohen and David Pecker asserting that the payments to these women by Trump were made for political reasons with the goal of helping Trump to become president, Trump’s defense got more challenging.
In addition, in this agreement Pecker says someone from the campaign was in the room with him and Cohen as the plan was set up. Yesterday we learned that someone was Trump. The three of them were together setting up the scheme to cover up Trump’s illicit affairs to help him get elected president. And Cohen was on ABC News Friday saying that he knew the hush money payments were wrong and TRUMP KNEW THAT TOO.
But wait, there’s more! There is a taped conversation that has already been released to the public of Cohen and Trump talking about the campaign, poll numbers and so forth, and embedded in that conversation are revelations about “our friend David (Pecker)” and Allen Weisselberg being on top of this thing and we hear Trump saying that the payment should be in cash. He sounds like a mob boss talking with his gangster pals. Because that’s what it was.
We knew Trump paid hush money to the women who might have stuck a knife in his chance to win in 2016 but now we also know that this was a long running scheme to protect Trump from other bad stories about himself. Based on the assessment of the SDNY and the assessment of Cohen’s sentencing judge, Trump himself was the person directing and coordinating those criminal acts committed by Cohen. Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator facing two felony counts for which his personal lawyer/fixer is going to jail for 3 years for that and other separate crimes. As the person who directed these crimes, if Trump were not the president, he would be facing an indictment from SDNY right now. And as the person who directed the crime, he would be facing more time than the mope carrying out the crime.
SDNY just check mated Trump with this evidence. It was a criminal enterprise, a conspiracy, that Trump put together so he could win the presidency. Game, set and match. Trump loses.
Cohen had the opportunity to address the court before he was sentenced. He expressed his remorse and he also threw Trump under the bus. Cohen talked about how he was sorry about being so enthralled by Trump and covering up Trump’s dirty deeds. He expressed relief at being freed from Trump’s sway over him. He also talked about what caused him to change his mind from being a Trump enabler to a man on a better mission. The reason he gave was the danger that Trump poses for our country.
He is right about the danger.
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President was published at the beginning of the Trump presidency, organized and edited by Dr. Bandy Lee, forensic psychiatrist and assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine.
I hope you will read the Op-Ed co-written by Dr. Bandy Lee and myself in the most recent Psychology Today online magazine: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychiatry-in-society/201812/coping-unstable-president.
It was clear to the book’s contributors as well as many other Americans, from the outset of Trump’s time in office, that he was dangerous. His assaultive tweets and erratic, unpredictable, and self-aggrandizing behavior shocked the world, creating fears that he would start a war with Kim Jung Un and beginning his presidency with a Muslim Ban and other chaotic authoritarian-style directives.
Now, two years into Trump’s presidency, we know even more about the danger of his divisive, disruptive psychology. We have also learned much more than we knew at first about the devious, shadowy, corrupt activities that launched and boosted his ascent to the presidency. But more is coming. Much more.
I believe we are going to learn about another criminal enterprise Trump engaged in to win the presidential election. He worked with the Russians to beat Hillary Clinton to become president. All signs point to that conclusion. The heavily redacted Mueller memos foretell that these truth bombs are coming probably for Trump’s inner circle and family as well as himself.
I think the question we will have to face very soon is the remedy for a president who is a criminal and a traitor. We will need to figure out whether Trump can in fact be indicted, whether we will have to rely on impeachment or a combination of both, or whether the only remedy is to try to vote him out of office in 2020.
The question of indictment is not settled law and will probably need to be addressed by the courts before this is all over. The sheer weight of the evidence that is rolling down the mountain heading for Trump is truly remarkable.
Think about the volume of evidence of Trump’s criminality that is amassing. This is like mud piling up higher and higher on a weakening roof. At some point the roof caves in. Here is what is coming at Trump so far:
- The Emoluments case is moving forward.
- The NY AG’s Office is moving forward with its investigation of Trump Foundation.
- The Trump Organization is implicated in the felonies involving campaign pay offs to win the election because someone in the Trump Organization signed those checks to the women or to AMI as reimbursements.
- The Mueller investigation is moving forward.
- Maria Butina is cooperating with prosecutors and is going to shed light on how it came to pass that Trump got 30 million dollars from the NRA (probably from Russian oligarchs funneled through the NRA) when he ran for president.
- The Dems will have open hearings in the House, Trump’s taxes are going to be exposed at long last along with information about his extensive money laundering for the Russians.
- More dirty laundry will come out of the AMI safe and get exposed.
- Allen Weisselberg may be called on to yield more information about Trump, his Foundation and the roles of his children in his criminal enterprises.
- Trump’s inauguration committee is now under investigation for misspent funds and donors trading money for access to the president.
The facts and evidence are piling up higher and higher against this one man crime wave. And this information is coming out at a rapid clip because so much is ripening at once. I think eventually the volume and weight of his criminality will take him down.
The way Trump will go down is that he will start to lose his power and be seen as weak, and with that loss, he will lose his ability to scare people or push people to do his bidding, and after that, people will move away from him as if he is toxic, and then, like Michael Cohen, eventually declare their relief at being freed from his clutches.
This is already happening. He is looking weaker and more ineffective and he sounds at times, pretty out of it. He offers a word salad in a Fox News interview about Flynn telling the truth and being treated unfairly by the FBI but what he is saying is almost indecipherable. No one wants to be his Chief of Staff. He was played by Chuck and Nancy and had a big temper tantrum afterwards throwing his briefing papers around after he left the Oval Office. The Senate just reprimanded the Saudis, rebuked Trump over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and voted to pull us out of the war in Yemen against Trump’s wishes. (Paul Ryan will block a vote in the House, completing his legacy as a sycophant for Trump). Russian media has been dissing Trump and calling him names. Some journalists on Fox News have broken with the liars and have begun to tell the truth: Shep Smith, Chris Wallace and Judge Napolitano. What’s next? Maybe pigs will fly.
The evidence will mount up and as it does, the only thing eventually standing in the way of indictments will be those two relatively untested Justice Department opinion memos written before anyone ever conceived of this kind of attack on our sovereignty from the inside, from the president himself. I think as we learn more, a majority of the American electorate will call for Trump to be indicted AND impeached with the indictment acting as a kick in the pants for weak-willed Senate Republicans to do their damn job.
We have never had to face such a problem before in our country. Nixon’s wrongdoing was bad enough, but it pales by comparison to Trump’s far more extensive wrongdoings. And think about it, if Trump cannot be indicted while he is a sitting president, and impeachment/ expulsion is not possible because we do not have 20 Senators who will put country over tribal affiliation, at least not yet, and Trump will not step down the way Nixon did when he was approached for “that talk” by leaders of the Republican Party, that combination could result in Trump clinging to the presidency for dear life as mountains of damning evidentiary dirt piles higher and higher.
That set of circumstances could also result in a very dangerous situation for all of us. If and when Trump makes the calculation that he HAS to stay in power to avoid indictment, then we already know he will do anything he can to get what he wants without regard for reality, facts or the law. It is only too predictable that he will create a disruptive situation- war or another form of chaos, that will allow him to declare a state of emergency and cling to the presidency to avoid expulsion.
Relying on the opinion that a sitting president should not be indicted may well become untenable even before that crisis is upon us. He needs to be indicted to sustain our democracy. If Trump is indicted we will be able to answer the question definitively about whether a sitting president can be indicted. The issue will be heard in the courts and eventually ruled on by the Supreme Court. I think the Supreme Court will do the right thing.
It cannot be the case that cheating, lying, fraudulent acts and being a traitor to your country can win you the big reward of being the president then as president you are shielded from facing the consequences of the criminal acts you employed to illegally win the presidency. That runs counter to everything the founding fathers intended. There are too many Americans who will not stand for this result.
Since we can predict Trump will try to cling to power by hook or by crook, we may face a very dangerous situation in the near future. As the evidence piles up , the American people have to be ready to weigh in by rising up in protest with marches, calls, letters, and emails to lawmakers, support for our lawmakers who are doing the right thing, to demand that Trump be removed from office by court order, by indictment, by impeachment and expulsion, or talked into leaving by giving him a deal he cannot refuse or some combination of those remedies but by any means necessary. Trump will have to be removed before he plays his Wag the Dog hand.
Maybe Mexico will pay for THAT.