Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Shit Just Hit the Fan


The chickens haven't just come home to roost; they're laying their eggs smack dab in the middle of the living room. The news that Michael Cohen's business and private residence was raided by the FBI is a seismic development in the Russia investigation. Paul Waldman of The Washington Post is right: Donald Trump has never been in more trouble than he is now.

But while it is "rare" indeed to breach the attorney-client privilege, as this warrant clearly does, Cohen is not your typical attorney and Trump is not your typical client. Think Tom Hagen / Vito Corleone, only in this case worse. No one knows more about Trump than Cohen and now the FBI knows everything he knows. So how did we get here?

First off, this raid was NOT conducted by Robert Mueller. Instead what happened was that Mueller had reason to suspect that Cohen might have committed a crime. He went to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, his boss, who directed him to refer the case to the attorney in the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who just happens to be a Trump appointee. Irony abounds. Berman was convinced enough to ask a judge for a warrant, and that judge obviously saw probable cause to issue one.

This was not an attack on our country, as President Bumbledore claimed. It was, if anything, proof that the system is actually working. Despite Trump's attempts at obstruction and his contempt for the rule of law, the Department of Justice is doing its job, as are the other institutions like the press and media. Trump may have an affinity for dictators and banana republics, but he hasn't, as of yet, dismantled the checks and balances that still govern this nation.

And that means that Trump now has no other choice but to either stand by and watch Mueller make the case for impeachment or fire him. And since he can't fire him directly, he will be forced to fire Rosenstein and find someone, anyone, who will remove Mueller. There are a few legal experts who think that Trump may have the authority to end the Special Counsel regulation. If that's so, Trump could then fire Mueller without going through Rosenstein.

As for the political fallout, as I pointed out in an earlier piece, Trump doesn't care about any of that. Even it costs his party control of Congress, the only thing that matters to him is his own hide. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if he lets Cohen twist in the wind. Imagine screwing the one guy who's already on record as saying he'd take a bullet for you. With friends like Trump who needs enemies?

But here's the thing. It may already be too late to stop this freight train. Remember this raid was carried out under the supervision of an attorney for the Southern District of New York, not the special prosecutor. Firing Mueller does nothing to impede that case. If the FBI finds evidence that Cohen broke the law, nothing short of a presidential pardon can keep him from going to prison. And even if Trump does pardon him, he will most likely be disbarred, meaning his career as an attorney is over.

It's sad that everyone who gets involved with this president ends up having their reputations tarnished or destroyed. Almost makes you wonder why anyone would agree to work for someone like that.

It also makes you wonder why anyone would bother to vote for him.

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