Mollie Hemingway

There is an oft-repeated adage in New York City that anyone who does business with Donald Trump will live to regret it. Flynn, Manafort, Cohen and others are evidence of the truth of that maxim. Mollie Hemingway has been a loyal Trump supporter for years now. Hemingway has an excuse for every Trump misdeed. Wednesday, Hemingway writes:

While no treasonous collusion between Russia and Trump has been unveiled despite two years of thorough investigation, the special counsel has rung up Trump associates for lying to the FBI, as well as various crimes unrelated to Trump or Russia. Mueller also indicted some Russian corporations for crimes related to low-level election meddling and Russian military intelligence officials for hacks of Democratic officials’ emails.

The intended inference is that the special counsel has not found evidence of collusion. Hemingway has no idea what Robert Mueller knows at this point. He will unveil this when his investigation is completed. The Russian indictments might be less important than the stunning detail that Mueller revealed.

To suggest that Michael Cohen’s plea is “unrelated to Trump” is pathetically absurd. Why does it seem that Trump is surrounded by criminals, most of whom have some connection to Russia? Moreover, the hacking of those emails was not designed to provide a mailing list for porn spam. The emails were hacked in a direct and deliberate effort to affect the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump by the Russian government.

By the way, there is still a congressional candidate mentioned in the Russian indictments. He sought help from Russia in his campaign. That individual has not been identified or indicted himself. He may be a sitting representative. Were I Mueller I would want to know who hooked that individual up with GRU. That individual might have provided important information.

Meanwhile, Mollie was just getting warmed up:

First off, witch hunts are routinely “successful” by this standard. During the Salem Witch Hunt, for example, more than 200 people were accused, 20 were executed, and 5 died in prison. More recently, countless people were accused and plenty of people were convicted during the day-care hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s, and many had their cases overturned and were compensated for their time in prison. We use the term to describe bouts of paranoia and injustice. Successful convictions and even executions don’t debunk the claim of a witch hunt, though they can support the claim.

We are not in Salem and we are not improperly taking the testimonies of six-year-old children. We have evidence! That is why Manafort was found guilty and that is why Cohen pleaded guilty.

Voices claiming that the Manafort and Cohen legal problems vindicate Mueller should note that the Manafort conviction had literally nothing to do with Mueller’s charge of investigating collusion with Russia to steal an election, and not just because the charges predate Trump.

It is irrelevant. Both men are guilty of serious crimes. In the Cohen matter, Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator. We don’t even know what Flynn (who also had close ties to Russia) has told Mueller. Gates only testified to Manafort matters. We do not know what Gates knows about Trump or the campaign.

Mueller has been throwing the book at Manafort, presumably in hopes he’d spill the beans on Russia collusion. Facing decades in prison, he has not been able to provide Mueller anything supporting the claim. Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis has talked a big game about help he can provide Mueller the goods for the theory, but even Mueller didn’t seem to think the Cohen case was worth hanging on to. And he kept Manafort, so that’s saying something.

Manafort is probably expecting a pardon from Trump. That may or may not be a reasonable expectation. Call me a cynic but Trump pardoned a bunch of people to send a message. I would give Manafort some time because he is facing another trial in DC with a judge who is not outwardly hostile to the prosecution. He is also facing the prospect of retrial on the ten counts that were undecided.

Trump is legally entitled to pardon Manafort. However, that entitlement does not hold him free from a charge of obstruction.

There are several theories for why Mueller handed off Cohen to the Southern District of New York. One idea is that Mueller did so in order to make his firing pointless. In other words, if Trump terminated Mueller Cohen would remain as the individual who would present the most potential peril for Trump. Mueller is not precluded from accepting (and rewarding) cooperation from Cohen on other matters. Trump has a major problem that is getting worse by the day.

When federal prosecutors induced Cohen to plead out after poring over his finances and legal work, the most they got from him was to claim that non-disclosure agreements he arranged with two women were actually campaign contributions. He didn’t cop to anything in the dossier that has undergirded the Russia investigation — not an alleged visit to Prague to arrange treasonous collusion, nor any involvement with the hacking of Democratic emails.

Uh, they had the evidence that the transactions were unlawful campaign campaign contributions which is why Cohen pleaded guilty. Nothing stops Mueller from indicting Cohen on other charges. We do not know what Mueller knows. Nor, for that matter, we do not know what Cohen knows and can prove.

[Byron York] notes that as of this date, there is still no support for the theory from Manafort, national security adviser Michael Flynn, or deputy campaign manager and Manafort aide Rick Gates, all of whom have been investigated and charged with crimes, and that none of those crimes included a Trump-Russia conspiracy. As York put it, “Could such a conspiracy exist, and Flynn and Gates be totally out of it?”

Byron York is yet one more person who does not know what Mueller knows. The special prosecutor might have ample support for the proposition that there was a conspiracy with Trump associates and Russian operatives to influence the election. We do not know. What we do know is that Trump was surrounded by criminals with close ties to Russia. Flynn, Cohen, Manafort, Gates and others. We have no idea what Flynn and Gates have told Mueller. Another thing that we know is that whatever the associates (including Jr.) did, Trump was almost certainly aware of it.

Later on:

A big problem for federal prosecutors is that public trust in their application of the rule of law is low because of how they handle political cases. You can read about how Mueller’s FBI routinely abused prosecutorial discretion, including the anthrax case bungling, leniency for Clinton associate Sandy Berger, the disgraceful Scooter Libby prosecution, the railroading of Ted Stevens, and more.

The link is to another of Hemingway’s idiotic postings to The Federalist. The use of the term “Mueller’s FBI” is an effort to link Mueller to anything that the FBI might have done wrong. The FBI employs over 35,000 employees. Public trust is not an issue as much as Trump (Hemingway and others) would like people to believe. They know that the turds are going to hit the turbines and they want to inoculate the citizenry. Suddenly “law and order” GOPers are attacking what is considered the finest law enforcement organization in the entire world.

The issue is evidence. What does Mr. Mueller have?

It’s not that Cohen and Manafort aren’t shady people. They are. It’s that the American public can see that Washington D.C. is teeming with shady people and those with the right connections get off scot-free. That is an extremely dangerous situation for the preservation of the republic and trust in her institutions.

None of that has anything to do with misdeed by the President of the United States. The presence of other criminals is irrelevant.

A few months ago, Cohen said the payments had nothing to do with the campaign, claiming “people are mistaking this for a thing about the campaign. What I did defensively for my personal client, and my friend, is what attorneys do for their high-profile clients. I would have done it in 2006. I would have done it in 2011. I truly care about him and the family — more than just as an employee and an attorney.”

In other words, were you lying then or are you lying now? Then is the obvious answer. People plead guilty to crimes when prosecutors have evidence of guilt.

There is no question that Democrats, the media, and Never Trump are tremendously excited by yesterday’s guilty plea and conviction. NBC News’s Jonathan Allen wrote an article headlined, “A dark day for Trump. The darkest day for the presidency since Watergate.”

None of those people (Democrats et al) are responsible for the criminality of Trump’s associates. Nor are they responsible for what the special prosecutor uncovers. Whatever Trump’s detractors might think about events is irrelevant to the outcome. Finally (and I have greatly abbreviated a lengthy post with a drivelectomy):

The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman says political consultants are expecting cries for impeachment will be central before the midterms. At least one Republican consultant says that’s an argument that motivates Republican voters and helps them understand the stakes of the election.

For many in the media, impeachment is — and always has been — a foregone conclusion. Then again, so was the election of Hillary Clinton.

The bigger problem for Trump is an indictment. Impeachment at this point is premature. Mr. Trump has been skating on thin ice for many years.

I am quite familiar with New York State education law, § 5001 and § 5002. When I saw the first Trump U. ad I sent a memo to a friend at New York State Education Department. I don’t know if it was the memo but that is besides the point. The public is unaware of just how illegal Trump University was. In fact, just calling it a university is illegal. Trump didn’t care. Unlike most businesses he did not investigate the law or he did and chose to defy it because he has been invulnerable for a very long time. How many other laws has Trump violated along the way?

Trump promised suppliers and contractors that he would make them rich. It was standard operating procedure at his company not to pay contractors, many of whom incurred significant expenses on Trump’s behalf. Trump could always come up with some pretext for withholding payment. The purpose of this exercise was to renegotiate with desperate people seeking some recompense to avoid going out of business. The bigger the contract, the bigger the problem.

That brings me back to my first sentence. Everyone who does business with Donald Trump lives to regret it. It is a lesson that not only contractors but Manafort, Cohen, Gates and Flynn have learned the hard way. This time around I suspect that Trump is going to have to pay the piper. It is long overdue. Meanwhile ignorants like Ms. Hemingway will continue to carry water for someone not worthy of the effort.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.