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Politics

Trump's Good, Bad, and Ugly Day

The flap over Cohen and Manafort will play to the Demo strategy to delegitimize the president.

Nate Jackson · Aug. 22, 2018

In March, we issued a warning about President Donald Trump’s salacious affairs with a porn star and a Playboy model a dozen years ago: “A man’s private morality does affect his ability to govern. At a bare minimum, the bad press is a distraction; at worst, it reveals a deep untrustworthiness that plays out in policy and personnel decisions. Moreover, all the hush money and other legal wrangling over flings with porn stars could seriously jeopardize the president.”

Unfortunately, that warning proved all too prescient with yesterday’s news about Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. More on that in a minute.

Now don’t get us wrong — Trump may not be a good man, but he’s been a good president. He has, as Mark Alexander noted recently, “dropped a bomb on the status quo” in Washington. A desperately needed bomb. No wonder he’s a target for destruction.

As for Trump’s (lack of) character, that was baked into the 2016 election cake. Voters knew exactly who they were electing — and that he was vastly preferable to a criminally corrupt swamp creature named Hillary Clinton. Moreover, as you recall, Bill Clinton had multiple accusations of rape and sexual assault (and paid off Paula Jones to the tune of $850,000), but Democrats rallied around him. Barack Obama lied about the murders of four Americans in Benghazi to win reelection in 2012, yet Democrats rallied around him. Now they care about character? Please.

Yet it’s also true, as David French argues, “There is no universe that exists under which all the MAGA-folks wouldn’t be calling for Hillary’s impeachment or resignation under similar facts.”

Which brings us to the facts about Cohen and Manafort. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to secure a loan. As part of his effort to obtain a better plea deal, he threw Trump under the bus, alleging that “a candidate for federal office” ordered and reimbursed hush-money payments to mistresses “for the principal purpose of influencing the election,” a violation of campaign-finance law because these in-kind contributions by Cohen exceeded the legal limit. That’s a serious charge, but it’s a difficult one to prove. As Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said of the Cohen deal, “It’s not nearly as deadly lethal [to Trump] as some have portrayed it as being.”

But Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, is a leftist who was special counsel to Bill Clinton, so he knows how to protect a Democrat and attack a Republican.

Manafort was targeted by Robert Mueller’s team for various crimes committed before Trump’s candidacy. The jury convicted him on eight of 18 charges — a decidedly mixed bag. None of it had to do with Trump, and none of it had to do with Russian collusion. As with Cohen, it was all related to tax and bank fraud, and anyone who thinks such sleazy behavior isn’t commonplace among campaign advisers isn’t paying attention. Recall that District Judge T.S. Ellis chastised Mueller’s team, saying, “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort. You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”

As Mollie Hemingway points out, “One of Manafort’s associates in the whole lobbying enterprise was [Democrat] Tony Podesta, who has yet to be indicted for his role.” The obvious double standard and specific political targeting actually helps Trump politically.

Yesterday was a bad day for the GOP, not necessarily for Trump — “draining the swamp” notwithstanding. It most certainly was not, as NBC News laughably asserts, “the darkest day for the presidency since Watergate.” That assertion is being parroted across the Leftmedia spectrum. Trump uses chaos to his advantage, even if it is needlessly distracting chaos. But the House is in jeopardy of falling to Democrats, who will then be sorely tempted to pursue impeachment proceedings. Most Leftmedia outlets seem to consider impeachment a foregone conclusion, even if a Senate conviction will never happen.

Leftists’ sole strategy is delegitimizing Donald Trump. Driven by their own Trump Derangement Syndrome, they’ll use yesterday’s news to maximum effect in seeking to exact retribution for Trump’s only real “crime” — defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.

(Updated.)

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