The Illegitimate Presidency
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
At the end of last week Rudy Giuliani capped off his statements that Trump never talked about Flynn with Comey and that the campaign didn’t know that they were going to meet with Russians in Trump Tower with the epistemological paradigm shift that ‘truth is not truth,’ sending shockwaves through philosophy departments around the country. From there on things got only worse. First Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 of 18 counts in a Virginia courtroom, with one juror holding out on 10 of the charges, and a couple of minutes later in New York Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws. As long as Manafort doesn’t flip on Trump, which is still a possibility because he faces another trial in DC in a couple of weeks and will spend the rest of his life in jail if Trump doesn’t pardon him, Cohen, who promised to tell prosecutors the whole truth about Trump’s campaign and businesses, represents the most danger for the president. The former fixer started making good on his promise by informing the court that he had acted on Trump’s instructions when in 2016 he tried to buy the silence of Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels about their affairs with Trump.
In a Fox News interview Trump declared that no campaign finance laws were violated because he reimbursed Cohen with his own and not with campaign money, but the president clearly doesn’t understand the law. A contribution to his own campaign should have been reported to the Federal Election Commission and publicly disclosed. Deliberately omitting such a contribution, as was the case here, makes it a felony. The payment to Stormy Daniels was made one day after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out, providing the context that its immediate purpose was to affect the outcome of the election, which makes it a criminal conspiracy. In all his ignorance the president incriminated himself by admitting to the hush money payments, but his problems didn’t end there. According to his lawyer, Lanny Davis, Cohen witnessed Trump’s ‘awareness’ of the hacking of Democrats’ emails before they were released by Wikileaks, and there is even a mysterious reimbursement of $50,000 to Cohen by the Trump Organization for unspecified ‘tech services,’ which according to the Steele dossier may very well have been for a payment to the Russian hackers.
From a Trump golf course in Scotland Hizzoner issued a statement that the president’s problems have not affected his golf game, but that was before the news broke that the civil suit filed by the State of New York against the Trump Foundation, Donald Trump and his three oldest children will probably result in a criminal investigation. To make the president’s legal jeopardy complete, a lawsuit against Trump and his former bodyguard Keith Schiller for violent behavior outside of Trump Tower in 2015 will also go forward.
A real shocker was the immunity given to David Pecker, chairman of American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, and to Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization. Pecker is a Trump confidant who was instrumental in the ‘catch and kill’ operation to silence Karen McDougal and has a safe full of information about Trump’s dalliances, while Weisselberg was involved in making illegal reimbursements to Cohen and a host of shady business dealings.
Apparently contradicting Giuliani’s assessment of his mental state, in the Fox News interview Trump lashed out at Jeff Sessions and used mob terminology to argue against the practice of turning suspects into cooperating witnesses, so that we could enjoy the spectacle of the US President advocating that law enforcement be denied one of its most important tools.
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