So, we had Cohen at the House today – where someone convicted of lying to Congress got to testify…which just shows how stupid this whole thing has become. I was working a bit of over time today, and so missed the hearings. When I got home to check on how it went, this stood out:
Cohen testified that he went over “topics” that Democrats would raise at today’s hearing with lead anti-Trump attack dog, Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House intelligence committee. So the substance of his testimony was coordinated with the Democratic leadership.
And that is that – he’s coordinating with the people supposedly just trying to elicit the facts of the case. That isn’t fact-finding and oversight: that is prosecution. But the House doesn’t prosecute – not even in impeachment; the House just gathers facts and, depending, refers them to trial before the Senate or to Justice for prosecution. The fact that Cohen was getting coached from the Democrat side of the aisle means that all he was doing was feeding the partisan, Democrat Narrative. Not a word of what he said can be trusted, even if he hadn’t previously lied to Congress.
I have noticed – and so have plenty of others – that the Trump-Russia thing is rapidly morphing into “Trump violated campaign finance laws by paying off women”. Lawyers would have to really decide, before a judge, if such payments were campaign finance violations. But even if they are, such things are invariably handled by fines. Personally, I don’t see them as such – even if Trump dipped into actually donated money to pay the ladies off. From what I can gather, Trump has had a lot of women shake him down for money post-interaction. What isn’t completely certain is whether he had sex with any of these claimants. Such things are difficult to prove unless there’s a third witness or forensic evidence (like a blue dress, ya dig?). Normally, people aren’t having sex a trois; so, its “he said/she said”. But if you’re a billionaire, maybe you just make the calculation that its better to pay for it to go away than to fuss about a sordid scandal in public? The ultimate outcome of the Stormy Saga indicates that Trump may be the put-upon person in all this (though it is enormously funny, still, that Stormy will be the first prostitute to ever pay a politician). If a lot of ladies, justifiably or not, were coming out of the woodwork demanding cash for silence in 2016, then in my view that would be a campaign expenditure…after all, Trump has never hid his social life; none of us were shocked to find out he might have had a dalliance with a lady of interesting background. He wasn’t paying to hide; he was paying to get rid of so he could get on with the campaign. So, campaign expenditure. Of an odd sort, to be sure; but, still.
I don’t know the Democrats’ end game here. Clearly, the large majority of the Democrat base wants Trump impeached. They are convinced that he colluded with Russia to switch votes from Hillary to himself in 2016. So, too, do a large number of Democrat House members want him impeached. Its not a matter in the House of “can they get to 2018?”. If Nancy holds a vote, I can’t see any Democrats voting against. The only question at that point would be if any GOPers would vote along with them. But I don’t see Nancy wanting to hold a vote – such an action is fraught with peril for the Democrats. I think that Nancy would only go along with it if she were assured that at least 5 Republicans in the Senate would vote to convict (this wouldn’t be enough to remove: but it would be enough to say that a bipartisan Senate majority voted to convict, and that would be enough for political purposes). If they impeach via a party-line vote and then Trump is acquitted in the Senate, that would be a disaster for the Democrats heading in to 2020. Trump would be vindicated – and the Democrats very publicly exposed as mean-spirited, hyper-partisans. OTOH, Nancy might be forced to it: the base gets more extreme every day. They might start talking up primary challenges in 2020 for House members who don’t vote to impeach.
Do keep in mind that there is a part of the GOP – rapidly shrinking but still there – which would love to go along with the Democrats in getting rid of Trump. Flake and McCain are gone…but Romney is there along with Murkowski. Cocaine Mitch, though, can probably keep his caucus in line: remember, if the House impeaches, there has to be a trial in the Senate. It isn’t up for debate: the Chief Justice comes over to preside and the Democrats make their case, then the Senate votes. And if it comes to that, absent some really solid evidence against Trump, I think McConnell will be able keep the GOP majority in line…and even a Murkowski would tread carefully, knowing that a vote to convict would make her toxic with GOP voters unless there was clear evidence of criminal behavior to justify the vote.
And so we go on with our insane times – the most law-abiding President we’ve had in ages being dragged by people who probably violate federal laws a dozen times a week…and all of it being done in service to a stupid theory cooked up by Team Hillary to explain away their loss. Just incredible.