If you haven’t seen the BuzzFeed story yet, a/k/a the most damning Trump revelation yet, here’s the gist: President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie about a Moscow condo project prior to the 2016 election. That’s according to two unnamed federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of Cohen’s interviews with the Mueller probe.
It’s easy to be blase about everything in the news these days, with the shutdown, the Trump outbursts with Nancy Pelosi, and all the other leaks that come down the pike.
The story about Cohen rigging online polls for Trump, which Manafort shared with Russians, was a good one.
But this BuzzFeed story is even more significant.
Two sources say the president told Cohen to lie about the Russia condo deal before the election. Their investigation includes more than just Cohen’s words; it is corroborated by emails and other interviews with people within the Trump Organization. Cohen already pleaded guilty in November to lying about that.
So now we know the rest of the truth?
Not so fast. It’s still just two unnamed sources. Good enough for a journalistic headline going into the long MLK weekend. But we may have reached a real game-changing moment.
Neal Katyal, a Georgetown Law professor and former acting Solicitor General, reacted to the report on CNN, calling the implications “astounding.”
“It means that the president is himself a criminal and regardless of where you sit on the political aisle or not, that is a devastating thing for the country to learn if it’s accurate,” said Katyal. “We’ve got to make sure it’s accurate through a robust investigation. But if it is accurate, I know some people feel like we’ve been living in a nightmare for awhile. This is the beginning of a new national nightmare.”
Our new national nightmare.
That’s a good way to be alarming without being alarming.
Democrats are already demanding to know more about this ASAP.
Rep. Ted Lieu of California tweeted:
But Trump always seems to play “The Terminator” better than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.
With Trump, we are in a constant game of “Can you top this?”
We’re shocked and amazed, and Trump still survives as we undergo the slow process of finding truth and justice.
In the meantime, the folks in their MAGA hats cheer.
We’ve already normalized Trumpian pussy-grabbing, lying, serial infidelity, and hush money payoffs. Not to mention xenophobia.
One MAGA-hatted reader commented on a recent column of mine: “You call Trump a Bad Grandpa. He is a man and may have had a mistress or two. Does this make him bad? No. You try to demonize him.”
But how can one demonize the devil himself?
Let’s see how Trump survives this one.
It could be that with close to a million furloughed in the shutdown, the BuzzFeed story won’t have a big impact. People in distress aren’t impressed with anything less than a smoking gun. Not when Trump has derailed their lives and made them hostages in his cockamamie border wall sham.
Still, if the president directed Cohen to lie, make no mistake: this is a criminal act.
By the president. The rule of law still applies, right?
Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas tweeted bluntly:
It really is that simple. Is this the story that makes one doff the MAGA hat?
If you’re shut in this weekend because of the weather, this is a good time to think about the fitness of Trump to be our president.
Not only has he never met a Russian operative he didn’t like, he’s done more in our lifetimes to empower white supremacists and racist nationalists as our country becomes more diverse than ever.
Now that’s something to ponder as we head into the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.