It’s sad to see long-time lovers breaking up. Somebody even wrote a song about it:
Bye bye love
Bye bye happiness
I think I’m-a gonna cry-y
Bye bye love
Bye bye sweet caress
I feel like I could die
Bye bye my love goodbye
[With apologies to the Everly Brothers.]
What’s even worse is when the breakup is above the fold on most news outlets. Double worse is when it’s about crime and politics and worse still when it’s presidential politics. Bye bye, my love, goodbye. The breakup is streaming now on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Hulu, where I obtained these screen shots.
This continuing saga has a history stretching back in time, before some of us were reborn. Like before the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.
That’s right. Porn movie actress Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, and private citizen Trump had their own one-night stand a decade or so back. Actually, it may not be possible to classify this as a one-night stand, since (my understanding) a one-night stand lasts until morning. Furthermore, I cannot assure readers that anybody actually took their clothes off.
But that’s history, and although history may not always repeat itself, it does sometimes come back to haunt. Like when you are running for election for the highest office in the land, and election is a fortnight away, and you suddenly remember. “Oh, shit. There’s this Stormy Daniels business. That could put me down a half a point in the polling, and since I’m already 10 points down, it might be worth while shedding some cash and shaving a half point. Can somebody get Michael on the phone for me?”
Few deny that Michael Cohen, friend, attorney, and fixer for Donald Trump for over a decade, paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 to claim she did not hump the Trump while Donald’s sweet wife was preggers. So the money was paid, and the lady kept her mouth shut, and Trump eked out a win, and we have what we have today. Except…
Except the mouth did not stay shut. It’s amazing how mouths tend not to do so. At a point Ms. Clifford decided she had been screwed, and we wonder how long it took for her to figure that out. So she obtained another lawyer, figuring her then-lawyer Keith M. Davidson had been in bed (figuratively not literally) with Trump’s lawyer Cohen. So Clifford obtained new legal council in the person of Michael Avenatti, and Mr. Avenatti proceeded to unravel the NDA Mr. Cohen had negotiated on behalf of Mr. Trump.
Other lawyers began to look at the arrangement, and those lawyers work for the United States Government, and what they saw was possible violation of election law. Specifically, the payment to Ms. Clifford was a campaign expense, since it was an essential part of getting Mr. Trump elected, but said payment never showed up on any campaign financial disclosure filings. As lawyers, government lawyers at that, began to dig into the matter, other interesting stuff started to come out. Apparently government lawyers came to believe Michael Cohen had been practicing beyond the limits of established statutes, and they did what government lawyers often do:
Agents of the FBI seized documents and more than a dozen phones and electronic devices.
Yeah, here is some of the stuff the government lawyers suspect:
To obtain a warrant to carry out this search on Mr. Cohen’s office, house, and hotel room, they demonstrated to a magistrate they had probable cause Mr. Cohen had engaged in bank and wire fraud. Mr. Cohen is in deep trouble.
If Mr. Cohen is in deep trouble, then President Trump is in an inch of trouble, because Mr. Cohen had been doing a lot of dirty stuff for Mr. Trump. How about if Mr. Cohen would tell the government lawyers about this stuff he had been doing for Mr. Trump?
“I would do anything to protect Mr. Trump.”
“Mr. President, is Michael Cohen going to flip, sir?” I just love the way the report added the superfluous “sir” at the end of that question. Anyhow, the president has been adamant:
I take that as a “no.”
Oops! That was then. This is now.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News:
My wife and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.
ABC News now has it that Michael Cohen sees losing everything over his loyalty to the president, which loyalty has historically never been reciprocated. Will Mr. Cohen cough up incriminating details on a sitting president in exchange for leniency on some serious charges? There are issues.
If Michael Cohen says, “Give me a break, and I’m going to tell you about some criminal stuff in Donald Trump’s past,” then prosecutors, and worst of all a judge, will be asking, “Is he going to make up stuff about the president in order to save his own hide?” It is a concern, but it doesn’t work that way. What Mr. Cohen can do is tell what he knows, and then prosecutors can use his statements in an affidavit, which they will take to a judge to obtain search warrants and subpoenas to obtain information that will corroborate what Michael Cohen has told them. Then, providing the there is verifiable criminal activity, they can begin criminal proceedings. Does anybody doubt the President of the United States has committed criminal acts worthy of prosecution? Not within shouting distance of where I now sit.
Michael Cohen has turned from “All the way with Donald Trump” (I know that doesn’t rhyme), to “Not so fast there, Mr. Trump.” He is expressing his legal view on the infamous Trump Tower of June 2016, saying…
“…an example of poor judgment.” You think?
Multiple news outlets, those which the president calls out as “fake news,” are reporting that Michael Cohen has obtained new legal counsel independent of the president’s legal team. That means that the Trump-Cohen partnership is coming asunder—the two will be going their separate ways. What’s about to play out could be very interesting and will likely end up in the history books.
Bye bye, my love, goodbye.