Tuesday, April 10, 2018

On The Cohen Raid

Yesterday Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, was raided by the FBI. The blame (from Trump) goes to Mueller--however, it appears this is misguided:

  • While it originated with Mueller and Stormy, apparently Mueller decided (as with Trump-worlders) that this was outside his remit--and (likely) presented it to Rod Rosenstein. At this point they turned it over to New York.
  • They had a choice of the state attorney general or federal attorney for the Southern District of NY. The state AG is Democrat. The SDNY guy is a Republican, a Trump donor / supporter, and (The Omnivore understands) appointed by Trump. The FBI chose the Republican (even though Trump can pardon federal crimes). So whatever evidence was shown was, apparently, sufficient to convince a Trump-supporter that it was justified.
  • Articles are saying that, from what was seized, any evidence of any crime is fair game (this surprises The Omnivore--who would have thought that only evidence related to the search warrant was admissible).
  • Claims of attorney-client privilege being ignored appeared at 6 AM on Fox & Friends and POTUS tweeted that "ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE IS DESTROYED" at 7. In fact, it turns out, that if you suspect the attorney and client in commission of a crime, it doesn't apply.
Today, The Federalist decided it was time for an American Divorce (before "things get dangerous"). He's suggesting this:
This is, of course, weapons-grade stupid. While not unexpected from The Federalist, who knows their readership will respond well to it, this is the Trumpian-base view of politics and not those of the rest of the country.

The Omnivore was asked, yesterday, if he would support the removal of Trump (actually he was asked about the impeachment of Trump) for campaign finance violations. This is his thinking:

1. Would You Remove Trump For The Stormy Daniels Pay-Off?

The first thing to recognize is that this isn't on the table. If all that comes out of the Mueller investigation is that Trump / Cohen violated campaign finance laws, not only would the Senate never convict, but attempting a House Impeachment over it would be a strategic mistake for the Democrats. If that's the worst Trump has done, he is better as a blue-wave generator in the White House than being martyred, ineffectively, for breaking the rules.

What if a hypothetical super-majority of Democrats could remove him--and then Pence, presumably--from the White House installing Speaker Pelosi as president? Would The Omnivore be in favor of it then?

The answer to that question is another questions: "How did you, question asker, feel about Mitch McConnell withholding even a vote on Merrick Garland--a bi-partisan choice for SCOTUS--for a record number of days in order to help Trump win the presidency?"

If your answer is: "It was legit by the rules." Then so is a Dem-Hostile-Takeover. If your answer was "it was bullshit"--but you voted for Trump because SCOTUS, then you don't have much to complain about either.

Of course removing Trump due to Stormy would be kind of like removing Bill Clinton for lying about an affair--kinda bullshit--however, we live in an era where anything that is in the rules seems like fair game (removing Blue-Slips) so, eh.

For the record: This hypothetical is not the way to get rid of Trump--if the Republicans have ceded responsible behavior, it is incumbent on the Democrats to uphold it. Somebody has to. But The Omnivore isn't all that hopeful. And worse, failure to take advantage of the rules wouldn't be seen as nobel by the Right. It would just be seen as "their due."


2. How 'Bout That Divorce?

For the Trump-supporters, it certainly must look like a Deep State or Over-Zealous Prosecutor, or [ Whatever ] is OUT-TO-GET-TRUMP. This is because to a Trump-Supporter The Great Man can do no wrong (or, at least, very, very little wrong) and so these slings and arrows must be motivated by base-desires just like Trump's insults are.

However, this is, obviously, not the case.
  1. Everyone involved at the FBI is a Republican. This is all R-on-R violence. The idea that these people are all RINOS just means you define "real Republican" as "someone who supports Trump no matter what." Well, okay--but that's a tautology meaning it isn't useful for any analysis.
  2. Senate Republicans are finding their mid-term chances seem to be pretty closely related to their vocal support for Trump (the question of do-you-support-him is key on voter's minds) which means that the Republican Party is in the grips of a "hostile take-over" by Trump / Trump-Voters.
  3. So this means that the GOP's position is, really, Trump Could Shoot A Guy on 5th Avenue and If His Base Doesn't Desert, It's Cool.
This, frankly, would be grounds for a divorce and you really don't want to live in Trump-Country with this as its political philosophy. 

However, if one thing is clear, it's that what Trump is actually doing in this regard isn't popular. Forget about the polling that shows that even R's want Mueller to complete his investigation--much less the country as a whole--forget about special election successes (the Democrats are still only valued at "over 50% to take the House--definitely not a sure-thing). The fact that Rachel Maddow surpassed Hannity in viewership numbers is exactly the kind of leading indicator that Trump is losing credibility.

Also, the polling shows that older, college educated white people are moving away from Trump. This is, of course, due to his loutish behavior and not, specifically, his policies (his policies were baked in when they voted for him in the first place). As Trump is unable to change his personality, he doesn't seem to have the capability to "pivot."

Finally, the Trumpian Takeover looks to The Omnivore like it has a singular leader (Trump) and no heir. If the GOP sells their souls for Trump, even if they get two terms, it isn't clear who could take over that voter base after. Certainly not Pence.

So this may be an electoral dead-end.


At the end of the day, what probably gets Trump, if anything gets Trump, is the 2020 elections--however, the raid doesn't help things--and will likely expose some of the secrets the Trump campaign would rather keep. It may also, in the post Hope Hicks era, lead to some very bad decisions on the part of POTUS. He has, at any rate, always been his own worst enemy.

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