Thursday, August 23, 2018

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

At The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway gives us six takeaways from the legal woes of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.
1. Nothing To Do With Russia
2. Fraud Is Bad
Although the charges have nothing to do with Russia, that doesn’t mean Manafort and Cohen aren’t shady and corrupt. Had they not lied on their tax returns for years to keep money that was legally owed to the U.S. government, they wouldn’t be facing jail time and large fines for their failure.

Nobody likes paying onerous taxes, but the way to fight high taxes is through political means, not by lying to the federal government. Likewise, lying to a financial institution about the amount of debt you have in order to secure a line of credit, as Cohen pleaded guilty to doing, is also fraudulent and a form of theft.

The 10 Commandments teach us that we should not steal, we should not lie, and we should not covet. U.S. laws are built on this moral foundation and we are not to break them.

3. Infidelity Is Destructive
Adultery is wrong. Spouses are called to live a sexually pure and decent life in what they say and do. Husband and wife are to love and honor each other. Infidelity has an effect far beyond the person philandering, including the temporary lover, the betrayed spouse and children with the spouse, the children that arise from sexual unions with various women, and even business associates and voters.

It may not be illegal to have an affair or to be induced to sign a non-disclosure agreement because infidelity is a believable charge, but it is a moral failing. It’s a lot more difficult to blackmail Vice President Michael Pence on these grounds, even if the media mock him for his fidelity to his spouse.

4. Targeted For Political Connections
...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.

It is in this sense that the guilty pleas and guilty verdicts are irrelevant. The larger message is that if you don’t fight the establishment, you can continue your operations and avoid jail time or harsh penalties. But if you do try to significantly change the status quo, be prepared to spend a lot of money on legal fees and general disruption, if not destruction to your way of life.

These cases are really about Trump, and those who helped him take on the establishment. The goal, of course, is to remove Trump from office some way, some how. As we’ll see below, some are even calling for impeachment over — at best — an unreported campaign contribution. As Mike Doran puts it, “The crime, if it was one, is minor. It pales in comparison to the crimes committed to prevent Trump’s election & to annul it after the fact, Those crimes threaten our democratic institutions, & their magnitude is compounded by the active efforts of the press to cover them up.”

5. Campaign Finance Violations Might Implicate Trump, But Might Not
...The Obama campaign, for example, had to pay a $375,000 fine for concealing major donors’ contributions in the weeks before the 2008 election, among other reporting irregularities. No media called for Obama’s impeachment over these violations, major though they were for the campaign he led.

6. A Trap For The Resistance?
...But it’s also possible that this is yet another example of overreach from an elite establishment out of touch with the American electorate that put Trump in power and that the previous attempts to unseat President Trump from his rightful election will bear poorly on latter-day attempts. Democrats, Never Trump, and some media voices have been calling for impeachment for months, if not years. The details for impeachment are unimportant since the real crime seems to have been winning the 2016 election.

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.
Read more here.

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