Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Individual #1

“Individual #1” has a problem: His own Justice Department just said he directed a crime.

Late Friday, U.S. prosecutors — ordinary prosecutors, not working for Robert S. Mueller — filed papers in court saying Michael Cohen admitted “he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”

This means that it is the considered view of Individual-1’s Justice Department that Individual-1 participated in a felony violation of campaign finance law by directing the payoff of two women who alleged affairs with Individual-1.

Mueller and his team will decide in the coming months whether to accuse Trump of crimes.

The fact that Trump is fundamentally lawless can no longer be disputed. His own DOJ prosecutors now say he took part in a crime — and his former secretary of state says Trump had little concern about what is legal.

“So often,” Rex Tillerson said in a talk Thursday, “the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want you to do, and here’s how I want you to do it.’ And I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do. But you can’t do it that way. It violates the law.’ ”

To this, Trump responded with a well-reasoned legal defense: Tillerson “lazy as hell.”

During the campaign, Trump said he would have no trouble getting the military to follow his orders, even if they were illegal.

“If I say do it, they’re gonna do it,” Trump said. And, “They’re not gonna refuse me. Believe me.”

Trump watched a recording of a CIA drone strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target was away from his family. Trump asked: “Why did you wait?”

More recently, Trump has suggested troops could fire on unarmed migrants on the border, and the Pentagon rebuffed instructions for the military to engage in law enforcement.

Trump floated the idea that he could unilaterally end the constitutional protection of birthright citizenship.

Trump told a group of Native American tribal leaders to ignore federal rules on energy drilling: “I’m telling you, chief, you’ve just got to do it.”

When courts push back on his lawlessness, Trump treats judges as political opponents. He rebuked the “so-called judge” who ruled against his travel ban. And he earned a rebuke from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for blaming an “Obama judge” for a ruling that his administration must process asylum claims.

Meanwhile, five former Trump aides have pleaded guilty in Mueller’s Russia probe, and others regard it as perfectly plausible that Trump himself “may very well have done something during the election with the Russians.”

On Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the latest filings “tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”

Well. recent findings corroborate much of the 2016 “dossier” by former spy Christopher Steele — declared fraudulent by Trump — and its reports of extensive, compromising interactions between the Trump campaign and cronies of Vladimir Putin.

The dossier’s assertion of Michael Cohen’s “ongoing secret liaison relationship” with Russian leadership has been confirmed. The revelations about Cohen also show that the dossier correctly identified Putin lieutenants Dmitry Peskov and Sergei Ivanov as the ones managing the Trump campaign for the Russian government.

Individual-1, whose own adherence to the rule of law is wavering at best, is soon to be deeply disappointed.

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