Trump’s Breaking Point?

Trump Maladministration

What everyone seems to be reading this weekend: Adam Davidson, “Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency.” Youn will want to read this all the way through. “There are lots of details and surprises to come, but the endgame of this Presidency seems as clear now as those of Iraq and the financial crisis did months before they unfolded,” Davidson writes. Here’s just a bit:

I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan, he did business with a likely money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being investigated for a possible role in the largest known bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the F.B.I. is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.

The counter-argument, which Davidson addresses, is that Trump’s followers know him to be a ruthless, whatever-it-takes kind of guy, and that’s why they like him. Reports of criminal behavior in business will no more phase them than reports of his rampant promiscuity. Davidson argues that these people haven’t yet been exposed to the depths of Trump’s sleaziness. They still think of him as an actual businessman who became rich through his own shrewdness. When they find out he never was a businessman, really, but just a crook/media personality, they are likely to change their minds.

Sure, many people have a vague sense of Trump’s shadiness, but once the full details are better known and digested, a fundamentally different narrative about Trump will become commonplace.

The narrative that will become widely understood is that Donald Trump did not sit atop a global empire. He was not an intuitive genius and tough guy who created billions of dollars of wealth through fearlessness. He had a small, sad operation, mostly run by his two oldest children and Michael Cohen, a lousy lawyer who barely keeps up the pretenses of lawyering and who now faces an avalanche of charges, from taxicab-backed bank fraud to money laundering and campaign-finance violations.

Cohen, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka monetized their willingness to sign contracts with people rejected by all sensible partners. Even in this, the Trump Organization left money on the table, taking a million dollars here, five million there, even though the service they provided—giving branding legitimacy to blatantly sketchy projects—was worth far more. It was not a company that built value over decades, accumulating assets and leveraging wealth. It burned through whatever good will and brand value it established as quickly as possible, then moved on to the next scheme.

I believe this is true. The question is, how long will it take? Six months? A year? A decade?

I remember lots of people supporting Nixon nearly up to the bitter end. But Nixon became persona non grata everywhere pretty quickly. Eventually even people who cheered on the Iraq War came to realize it was a massive clusterbleep. Unfortunately, it’s probably the case that things have to get worse before people are ready to wake up. Fortunately, it’s a near certainty things will get worse, because Trump is in charge and he’s an incompetent moron.

Now, skip over to David Atkins at Washington Monthly. “It’s Too Late for Trump To Stop the Investigations,” he writes.

With the joint cooperation of both federal and state investigators in pursuing the president’s long-time consigliere Michael Cohen, even successfully muzzling Mueller may well have little effect. Not only would the probe continue at the federal level regardless of a change in leadership, more importantly the state-level investigations would proceed at full pace as well.

The raid by the Southern District New York on Michael Cohen’s residences and office looks more and more significant, and there’s not a damn thing Trump can do to stop it.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Tom_b  •  Apr 15, 2018 @1:14 pm

    … and I think some Trump hangers-on don’t want to admit they were conned.

    As I said before, even if Mueller is terminated, a go-fund-me would keep him in the game, plus any number of corporate and NGO patrons wanting to see an end to the Trump dementia.

  2. Swami  •  Apr 15, 2018 @2:23 pm

    He had a small, sad operation, mostly run by his two oldest children and Michael Cohen,

    While Eric was busy tending to his grapes.

  3. Doug  •  Apr 15, 2018 @2:53 pm

    Politically, even with evidence, the Senate will not impeach. The only thing firing Rosentein would do is potentially allow Trump to suppress. For a while.

    Cohen will delay as long as he can. If Trump gives him a pardon, Cohen can't take the fifth. What that means when Cohen won't answer questions about criminal stuff is unclear.

    In 2021 Trump will have no immunity from prosecution. There will be a reckoning. A bunch of Trump people will freak. Violently.

  4. moonbat  •  Apr 15, 2018 @2:54 pm

    I have no doubt that the ocean of sleaze is going to turn more people away from Trump, but that there will always be the bitter enders who will defend him no matter what, as they still do Nixon. As one idiot wrote in the comments "who cares if he lies, the economy is doing great".

    I believe that if Trump fires Mueller, the Republicans in Congress are going to basically shrug. Not enough of them have a conscience or spine to do the right thing.

    The dynamic is similar to George Bush's ultimate concession that Saddam was not behind 9-11 (the room of reporters gasped when he said this). But so what? Our troops were there, the bombs were falling, and W coming clean on Iraq wasn't going to make a bit of difference. Bush got the war he wanted, and what are you going to do about it? Nothing and he knew it.

    Same for Trump. So I'm a sleazeball businessman. I'm the President and you're not. What are you going to do about it? Nothing. This is exactly the kind of demonstration of power and dominance the both he and Bush love.

    If the Republicans wilt, as I expect them to, the next step is to do everything possible to forestall the blue tsunami coming in November. I expect Trump to unleash John Bolton in a big way. Get a big war going.

  5. aj  •  Apr 15, 2018 @3:07 pm

    To paraphrase Mr. Comey: "Lordy there ARE tapes". Cohen's tapes. Hopefully the court will allow them, tapes may be the most important element yet to surface.

    If he went to Prague and did what is alleged, game over.

  6. Swami  •  Apr 15, 2018 @4:18 pm

    I don't know what to expect. The fact that Trump was elected in the first place shook me to the core. I was totally dumbfounded by that fact and lost all confidence the American people. I can't be sure whether to attribute Trump's election victory to ignorance or moral decay. But I cling to the hope that once Trump is fully exposed through criminal investigations enough people will stand up and demand he be given the boot. He was never fit to hold he honor or responsibility to be president.

     Maybe I'm spending too much time on liberal sites, but I've noticed that the tenor and description of Trump has shifted from the implication of him being challenged by the truth to one where they now openly describe him as a blatant bald face liar. It's clear that he is now seen for who and what he really is..and any of his remaining defenders will defend him in spite of what they know to be the truth.

     I'm hoping that won't be enough to sustain him in office. And if he does remain in office does it separates me in large degree from my faith and bond with America. Trump is a big big bag of shit, an abomination, a blight on decency. Had Trump stayed in his ivory tower in continuance  of his crimes I wouldn't give a shit, but when he carries his corruption and moral degradation into the value system of our nation and tries to foist them on us as being acceptable values that can be viewed as political differences..It's time for him to go.

  7. uncledad  •  Apr 15, 2018 @6:04 pm

    “Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency.”

    I hope it's almost over but there is a long line of mostly republican politicians getting away with all kinds of illegal shit. You don't have to look much farther back than GW Bush, a man who stole an election, lied us into a war, play all sorts of illegal political tricks and was never held to account. Maybe if the dems take back the house, assuming Nancy P doesn't take impeachment off the table like she did last time?

  8. Swami  •  Apr 15, 2018 @8:29 pm

    “I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a preview of Sunday’s show. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

    It's good to see that Trump is getting a taste of his own medicine. When they( the repugs) accused Obama of being a closeted Muslim or not being born in the United States they would always end their denial of perpetrating an intended smear with a… but I don't know.  Trump says he didn't engage with prostitutes in the act of giving golden showers. That could be, but I don't know if he's being truthful.

  9. Billikin  •  Apr 16, 2018 @5:41 pm

    Don of 1,000 Days?

  10. Billikin  •  Apr 16, 2018 @5:52 pm

    @Doug

    Trump cannot pardon Cohen for crimes prosecuted by New York State, only for Federal crimes.

    @aj

    Good point. Tapes brought down Nixon, maybe tapes will bring down Trump.

    If the Dems take the House and Trump's popularity drops below 50% in 34 states, then the House can impeach and the Senate can convict.