Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York filed sentencing memos in court for Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney.
Michael Cohen was given a sentencing recommendation of 51 to 63 months in prison for multiple crimes. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to each of these crimes, which included willful tax evasion, making false statements to financial institutions, making illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress. The memo from the Southern District of New York (SDNY) included several damning descriptions of Michael Cohen’s character, showing how he had willfully engaged in multiple illegal actions over a period of many years, and with full knowledge of the illegality of his actions.
Of great interest to the country, of course, were several mentions of a man named in the documents as “Individual-1”, who it was made clear had successfully run for President of the United States and who had employed Michael Cohen for several years. It left no doubt that “Individual-1” was Donald Trump.
In the SDNY memo, the detail about Michael Cohen’s illegal campaign contributions made it clear that these campaign contributions had been made “in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1”. These contributions had been made to influence the election by paying off two women who had affairs with Donald Trump, so that they would not make their stories public. False reasons were documented for both the payments to the women’s attorney, and for reimbursement to Michael Cohen, showing that they were not only trying to hide the stories from the public, but also hide the payments from the public.
In other words, Donald Trump committed a crime, the same crime for which Donald Trump’s attorney will soon be sentenced to prison.
In the wake of this news, CNN’s Manu Raju asked Orinn Hatch, a Republican Senator from Utah, for his thoughts on the fact that Donald Trump has been implicated in crimes by Federal prosecutors:
CNN’s Manu Raju caught up with Hatch late Monday afternoon and asked Utah’s senior senator about the Friday news that prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) had determined Trump directed his longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to commit campaign finance violations. Hatch was unshaken.
“The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president,” the long-serving senator said.
Democrats have nothing to do with the SDNY’s prosecution of Cohen or what they’ve alleged against Trump during the course of said prosecution. That ongoing investigation is being undertaken by career prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys office–an office currently controlled by a Republican appointee who was installed by President Trump himself. This information was relayed to Hatch. He was still unmoved.
“Okay but I don’t care; all I can say is he’s doing a good job as President,” the octogenarian former boxer said.
Hatch elaborated on his steadfast support for the 45th president:
“I don’t think he was involved in crimes but even then, you know, you can make anything a crime under the current laws; if you want to you can blow it way out of proportion–you can do a lot of things.”
This latest sycophantic treatment of Donald Trump by a Republican Senator comes on the heels of similar comments by Rand Paul, a Republican Senator from Kentucky, who appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, where he was asked about his thoughts on the news that the President of the United States is an unindicted co-conspirator who broke the law. Rand Paul’s response seemed to suggest that, because Donald Trump had broken this particular law, Rand Paul felt that the law should be changed:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday downplayed any implication that President Trump violated campaign finance laws during the 2016 presidential campaign, and argued it reflects a broader issue with penalties related to campaign expenditures.
“There are thousands and thousands of rules. It’s incredibly complicated, campaign finance,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We have to decide whether or not really criminal penalties are the way we should approach campaign finance,” he continued.
“I personally think if someone makes an error in filing paperwork or in not categorizing a campaign contribution correctly, it shouldn’t be jail time, it ought to be a fine,” Paul added. “It’s just like a lot of other things we’ve done in Washington. We’ve over-criminalized campaign finance.”
And then there was Roy Blunt, a Republican Senator from Missouri, who commented on the matter:
“I don’t know that it changes things much,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, who will be the No. 4 Senate Republican next year. “I think you would have to have more than this happen before anything changes much.”
The President committed crimes? No big deal, according to Roy Blunt.
Recall that a few weeks ago, Donald Trump fired the Attorney General Jeff Sessions in what appeared to be a transparent attempt to install an Attorney General who would help shut down or cover up the Mueller investigation. When asked about the course of action the President had taken, another Republican Senator, Joni Ernst from Iowa, seemed to be just fine with Donald Trump shutting down an investigation into himself:
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst declined Friday to say whether she would take action to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s administration and the Russians.
“He can wrap up his work. He certainly can,” Ernst said when pressed on the issue by attendees at a town hall event in Ames. “I am not going to say today whether I will protect him, because there’s a lot involved with that in itself.
“But I think that we as the American people have the right to demand answers not only from our president as they’ve done through the Robert Mueller investigation, but also from Robert Mueller on what he has actually done to uncover collusion with the Russians.”
“I don’t know that the investigation itself needs to be protected,” Ernst said. “We’ve gone two years with a very thorough investigation. … Two years of investigations have absolutely nothing to show for it.”
Members of the audience pushed back, pointing out that Mueller’s team has handed down more than 100 criminal counts against more than two dozen people.
Ernst maintained that the investigation should not be allowed to continue in perpetuity, but she declined to say at what point it should be cut off.
“I’m not going to say when it should end or how it should end,” she told reporters at the conclusion of the event. “But at some point we need to see resolution.”
Republican Senators appear to believe that Donald Trump is above the law. Is that what the founding fathers had in mind when they fought against tyranny? It is quite difficult to imagine it was.