Donald Trump surrounded himself with crooks and thieves during his 2016 presidential election campaign. Two court cases taking place in the US prove it. They give glimpses into the rottenness of the world Trump inhabits and his presidency.
The bigot president’s lawyer Michael Cohen has admitted to eight charges, including making illegal campaign donations.
In a separate trial, Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight counts, including bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to declare foreign bank accounts. While there is little to link directly to Trump, it’s another example of the kind of people he has gathered around him.
Cohen’s offices and properties were raided as part of the investigation into potential Russian involvement in the 2016 election campaign. When it became clear the evidence seized had little to do with that investigation it was turned over to another branch of government.
Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has admitted to paying off people whom Trump had sexual relations with in order to prevent their stories becoming public. Admitting the charge, he also claimed he did this “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office”.
“I participated in this conduct with the purpose of influencing the election,” he said. “The candidate” is clearly Trump.
Cohen’s strategy is to lessen the impact on him by offering some of the US ruling class what it wants—Trump’s head on a plate.
So now Trump is in the firing line. In a statement his new lawyer Rudy Giuliani said, “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen.”
Trump has distanced himself from both Cohen and Manafort.
And on Wednesday he reportedly threatened to fire federal investigation chief Robert Muller after the news of the trial results became known. That prompted moves from Democratic politicians to protect Muller and the evidence he has collected.
High profile Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren branded the Trump presidency the “most nakedly corrupt leadership of our lifetimes. But they didn't cause the rot—they’re just the biggest, stinkiest example of it.”
That’s true, but the solution doesn’t lie with the Democrats. They are not mounting a serious challenge to Trump. They are instead hoping these trials and the potential links to Russia will either force Trump to stand down, or form the basis of impeachment proceedings.
It is unlikely either will happen soon, if at all—and certainly not before the midterm elections in November. That means demands for impeachment will likely form a central plank of the Democrats’ campaign.
Presidents, politicians, lawyers and all the rest of the people at the top of society constantly cheat and lie. The rest of the ruling class are not really concerned about Trump’s personal behaviour, but about his disruptive influence on the system. That includes his seeming unwillingness to confront Russia over the imperialist war raging in Syria.
For all the Democratic Party establishment’s protestations, they share the responsibility for the sick society that created Trump. Getting rid of him through legal manoeuvring won’t change that society.