Poll: Is Trump toast?

April 10, 2018 • 11:00 am

What with the unprecedented FBI raids on the office, home, and hotel room of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen (see here and here for good analyses)—raids that wouldn’t have been authorized unless there was some suspicion of illegal activity—things are looking worse than ever for the First Moron. The raids are apparently in connection with the Stormy Daniels affair, and bear on the issues of illegal campaign contributions, bank fraud, and so on. They’re especially telling because of the normal lawyer/client privilege, which can be broached if there is probable cause to believe that there is illegal activity afoot. And if Mueller and his team or the FBI finds it, Cohen either has to go to jail or blow the whistle on Trump—if the prez is involved.

It’s been nearly 15 months of a disastrous Presidency—one even worse than I imagined possible—and I’m calling this the end of the line for Trump. That is, I predict they’ll find him culpable and he’ll either have to resign or be impeached. Most of you probably disagree with me, but let’s find out. Please vote below:

160 thoughts on “Poll: Is Trump toast?

  1. I was listening to ‘stay tuned with Preet’ a formal Da in New York I believe. He reckons the fact Mueller is talking about writing a report at this stage indicates that he will not attempt to indict Trump on criminal charges but will pass it over to congress to decide on impeachment etc

    1. I’m pretty sure you’re referring to Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (the district based in Manhattan). There was a scandal early in the Trump administration when the Donald canned Bharara, after first promising to retain him, when Bharara didn’t return Trump’s improper phone calls and didn’t demonstrate sufficient personal loyalty to Trump.

      Yesterday’s searches of Michael Cohen’s office, residence, and hotel room were overseen by Bharara’s successor in the SDNY, Geoffrey Berman — a Trump appointee, and Trump campaign donor, and former law partner of Trump’s butt-buddy Rudy Giuliani.

      It’s a safe bet they’ve got the goods on Cohen, or this move would’ve never been approved.

      1. Yes that’s the guy- forgive my Mistaken in his title- I am English!

        I didn’t know that info that is interesting stuff Re him and Trump.

  2. It’s all up to Cohen at this point. He could easily implicate either from the evidence seized or verbally, that Trump was complicit in crimes, a lot of which may have occurred years ago. It’s hard to know, but Mueller’s team appears to have been engaged in active probing surveillance of Cohen, which is why they raided three locations at the same time. This is usually to prevent destruction of evidence.

    Mueller’s report will not be an indictment, but it WILL specify that crimes were committed, and it will defer the actions to be taken to Rosenstein probably with language that a ‘sitting’ president cannot be indicted or that action is withheld on a judgement relevant to that.

    1. This raid is not part of the Mueller investigation.

      What seems to have happened is either a third party asked the Manhattan district to look into this. Probable cause was found and a judge signed a warrant to go ahead.

      The other option is the Mueller investigation found something that looked illegal that wasn’t part of their purview. They passed that information on to the SDNY, who investigated, got the warrant, and are proceeding.

      That means Cohen is the target, not Trump. However, he could flip on Trump if Trump has done something wrong, or Trump may have promised him a pardon (and more) to take the fall. If he can pardon Arpaio, he can pardon anyone.

      1. There’s a chance Cohen could flip on Trump, because, according to what I understand from the news, he could be disbarred for entering into a contract on behalf of someone who didn’t know about this contract. So someone’s ass is in the sling. So if Trump wasn’t in on this contract with Stormy (i.e.didn’t know about it as the cronies are claiming), then Stormy can discuss her relationship with him to her heart’s content, as she’s covered on all fronts.

        1. “Stormy … ‘s covered of all fronts.” 😀

          That’s my understanding too – that he would be disbarred for entering into a contract on behalf of his client that his client knew nothing about.

          1. From what I’ve seen of her photos in the paper, Stormy rarely seems covered in front — more like in constant dishabille. 🙂

  3. I see a very messy time coming up.

    He won’t resign because his extreme narcissism tells him that he is the only one who is right about everything.

    He might fire Mueller which will cause civil unrest in the US. I know I will take to the streets if that happens.

    Many issues will come out of criminal and constitutional misconduct but the Republicans in Congress are too cowardly to vote for impeachment, even if the Democrats take over both houses in November.

    There is a strong possibility that the current administration will cause war(s) with N. Korea, Iran and/or China for the purpose of deflection.

    There is a good chance that the US’s democratic, constitutional republic will be permanently damaged. The only fix for that which I can see is a complete coup to replace the entire administration. I don’t see the military supporting the current shit-stain-in-chief.

    Not a pretty picture.

    1. Sometimes extreme narcissists will quit things and justify it as it as being no longer interesting, a place where everyone is stupid, etc. So, there is that possibility with Trump. I hope he does leave.

        1. That’s a thought I’ve had too. He’ll resign, but find a way to blame everyone else. There’ll be words like, “I was prevented from doing what needed to be done by those whose love of power was greater than love of country.” “The corrupt Democrats couldn’t bear to see me succeed.” “The Democrats only wanted to get immigrants in to get themselves some more voters. They hate real Americans.”

          1. Yup, if this would come to pass, we could likely predict what his vainglorious, belligerent, and otherwise unseemly comments would be.

          2. This kind of talk is not only in Trump’s future but in his past and present. He has been using phrases like those you mention since he got elected! And they are echoed by his minions on TV all the time. “He’s just doing what the voters wanted him to do.” This is the fallback when one of these Trump followers runs out of arguments to justify some stupid policy of his.

          3. That’s the phrase that annoys me the most – that he’s doing what the voters elected him to do.

            The voters didn’t elect Trump. The Electoral College did. Most of the voters – by a margin of 3 million – voted for Hillary. The voters mostly want what she promised, not what he promised.

      1. Reiterating a comment that I made a few days ago: at the the moment that Trump resigns, Melania will sue for divorce (with good cause). Trump knows that, so his pride will drive him to resist resignation at any cost either to himself or to the long-term health of the US political system.

        1. Reiterating a comment that I made a few days ago: at the the moment that Trump resigns, Melania will sue for divorce (with good cause).

          I don’t get that. Trump is a philandering arsehole of the first water – about the only thing he excels at – but he has been like that since long before Melania came on the scene. On the assumption that she’s not actually a cretin with an autocue, she knew that before she married him. So …
          Is there really something so attractive about the proximity of power that people would put up with a shit like Trump just to get “close to power”? I mean, I can understand Hillary putting up with Bill because she knew she was in the running for the presidency herself. But Melania – is she even eligible to run for Dog Warden?

        2. at the the moment that Trump resigns, Melania will sue for divorce

          BTW, the person who scripted that Simpsons “Trump dream” agreed with you. I still don’t get it, but you’re obviously not the only one thinking down those lines.

      2. You may be right Diana, I was thinking that he has invested so much time into his presidency that it would be too hard for him to abandon it. A sunk presidency fallacy if you will.

    2. A “complete coup” will definitively mean the end of democracy. As bad as Trump is, this action would even be worse than him remaining in office. That you can even contemplate this idea is indicative of the sad state of the American political system.

    3. “There is a good chance that the US’s democratic, constitutional republic will be permanently damaged. The only fix for that which I can see is a complete coup to replace the entire administration.”

      You cannot fix a democracy by un-fixing it (making a coup).

      Of course coups can eventually lead to democracy, but the suffering is usually high.

  4. I lived through Watergate and this seems much worse. I expect it will take more than simple obstruction of justice, tho. I also expect there will be more.

        1. Who is playing Banquo? Mueller seems as welcome as Banquo.
          I’d have to re-read the play. Haven’t done that since Surgut.

          1. Yeah, but who’ll play Lady Macbeth — not Melania. Maybe Ivanka, or Kellyanne (though she seems thoroughly incapable of experiencing the pangs of conscience required in Act 5).

          2. Sorry – Kellyanne is one of the spokes-droids? They don’t tend to get a name check here. not a lot of point really, as Trump’s staff is so transient.

            In another place, I just saw “Where did Gollum get that wig and how did he end up in the White House?”

      1. He’s really bold-faced in his deflections, victim-posturing and lies. Today’s news clips had him calling the whole raid on Cohen’s office “a disgrace” and “it’s a sad situation”, etc. I can’t stomach much more of his crap.

    1. It is worse than Watergate. Back then, I watched the Watergate hearings virtually every day. The bipartisanship that existed then is simply not present today. In addition, the whole Watergate mess was due to a cover up by Nixon and his crew of a petty crime: the break-in of the DNC headquarters at the Watergate complex. Trump, on the other hand, is the head of a crime family, who has brought his criminal ways to the presidency. Trump is a messianic figure to his cult and, therefore, represents a much greater threat to democracy than ever Nixon did. When Nixon resigned, the nation was relieved. There was no violence or even demonstrations in his support. If Trump leaves before the end of his term, some of his cultists may resort to violence. The constitutional structure of the American government would tremble.

  5. Trump resign … spfff. Denial is not just a river in Egypt any more. C’mon.

    Also, that raid was undertaken by the FBI, not Mueller’s team, as the subject didn’t fall under Mueller’s mandate, so Mueller isn’t involved. The FBI had to look at the evidence and determine if there was cause for the raid, then they had to convince a judge there was sufficient cause for the raid, so there is something serious there … at least for the hapless lawyer.

    Trump will just tweet that “everyone knows none of the good lawyers will work for me, so this is all his fault, the guy’s a shyster.”

    This is a two-step process: 1. lift bus, 2. throw the guy under it.

    1. An important distinction but Trump’s statements already show that it is either lost on him or he is choosing to ignore it because it doesn’t fit his narrative.

      Actually, it can also be spun the other way. Mueller is so anti-Trump that he went out of his way to take action something outside his purview as special counsel. This might even be true. It is hard to believe someone like Mueller, who has defended the rule of law for his entire life and who Trump has bad-mouthed incessantly, would now want to protect Trump. He may be fair but he’s still human.

  6. From what I’ve read, Mueller didn’t find anything that had to do with his investigation, he found criminal activity that he had to turn over to the SD of NY.

    Speculation: By fling state charges against Cohen, he cannot be pardoned and may be pressured to reveal information in exchange for a deal.

    I don’t foresee congress doing anything to remove tRump from office.

    1. Right now, the Cohen matter is still under federal jurisdiction, inasmuch as it was conducted by the FBI under the auspices of the local US Attorney’s office and Main Justice in DC.

      If Trump tries to subvert the process by pardoning Cohen, I think it likely that the State of New York, under NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman, will pursue charges against Cohen or anyone else implicated by the evidence seized from Cohen. (I understand there’s been some coordination already between Mueller’s team the NY AG’s office.)

    2. “By fling state charges against Cohen, he cannot be pardoned and may be pressured to reveal information in exchange for a deal.” I’m no lawyer, but I don’t think these are state charges — unless the New York Attorney General’s office files them, so I think that Cohen could indeed be pardoned. If he were brought up on state charges, that’s another matter. And I’ve heard some in the know opine that Muller is hoping, at some point, to involve the NY AG, Eric Schneiderman, whose office has been filing scads of suits against “President Donald Trump’s administration or congressional Republicans.” In addition to the other reasons I’ve read for Muller’s decision to use the NY FBI office to conduct the raid, it would help cement connections between Federal and State authorities re present and future indictments against Trump’s associates because Trump can’t pardon someone indicted on state charges — the NYAG’s office is already investigating Manafort; and if Trump himself were brought up on state charges re business in New York, he couldn’t pardon himself.

      Here’s an interesting article about Schneiderman and Trump (who hates S with a passion) http://www.businessinsider.com/new-york-attorney-general-files-100-trump-lawsuits-2017-12. This article also discusses the Muller-Schneiderman association and strategy. BTW, Schneiderman’s suit against Trump “University” was just settled — Trump lost, must pay millions, so you know that verdict just increased Trumpls hate for Schneiderman exponentially.

      Further, It seems to me that at least in one area, Trump has attempted to disassociate himself from Cohen by declaring that he knew nothing of the payoff to Stormy Daniels. I write “attempted” because the raid might turn up records that show he knew about and/or abetted the payoff.

      1. I didn’t see Ken Kukec’s response before posting mine, it was sitting in the comment template as a draft for a while before I sent it. He’s a legal eagle and expressed my point far better and more succinctly than I.

  7. At this point, I am loathe to make predictions. Under our current primary-driven electoral system, my guess is that the GOP majorities in Congress will do nothing – too afraid of offending “the base.” And I doubt Muller will indict – remember that Nixon was only an unindicted co-conspirator. So the focus needs to be on November 2018 – the only obvious way to move forward is to relegate the GOP to minority status in one or (preferably) both houses.

  8. I voted “yes” but I don’t think he will be gone this year. As long as Republicans control Congress they will cover for him regardless of how bad it gets. Unless the Republicans are so totally demolished in the fall that they reconstitute themselves as responsible conservatives, he will continue to slime his way along.

    1. I actually voted that he’d get in trouble but somehow survive. Slime is right. He’ll just slime along. I don’t think he will be forced out anytime soon. I think if he leaves, he will quit when things get too hot for him personally and he’ll blame everyone else and say he is stepping down because he is surrounded by morons and mean people that pick on him all the time. Otherwise, he’ll just stay.

      1. My thoughts exactly, stated in a very articulate way. He may well resign before his term is completed, but it’s impossible to predict if any given misconduct will bring him down.

  9. Prediction: Trump will get in trouble, but if he’s impeached, there will be a “cold dead fingers” rebellion from his hardcore supporters. Not pretty.

    1. If the evidence against Trump regarding money-laundering and corrupt ties to Russia gets as bad as I suspect it might, we may see the Republicans fracture into hardcore deplorable Trump supporters and more traditional Republicans looking for a cave higher up the hillside to escape the rising floodwaters. It could spell the end of the GOP as we known it.

      1. I find myself wondering, do traditional Republicans even exist these days? And what does ‘traditional Republican’ even mean?

        I would have hoped traditional Republicans would have exited the party a decade ago and the last year would have driven out any left that were sitting on the fence.

        1. Yeah, “traditional” Republican is probably a misnomer; Republicans who don’t want to go down with the bad ship “Trump,” would be more accurate.

      2. The Republican Party has clung to Trump solely because he’s still willing to rubber stamp their agenda, but the ship’s already half sunk and they’re long since trapped belowdecks. They’ve no choice but to double down, and any “fracturing” will come too late. They can smell midterm catastrophe, but Trump will abandon them before they abandon him.

    2. These are the people who threatened violence if he didn’t win the election. Yeah, it won’t be pretty.

      1. But then he won the election and some other people threw their rattles out of the pram and delivered violence.

  10. It’s not really up to Mueller or Cohen or Manafort or Stormy or anyone other than the massive blue tsunami in the midterms that will give the Democrats control of the House and the Senate. If that doesn’t happen the lunatic will finish his term, because the Republicans will do nothing no matter how damning the evidence.

      1. I look at the evidence of massive resistance, especially from women, minorities and young people and the fact that Democrats have flipped 34 seats since DT was elected, that your bet is not logical. 😉

    1. If the Dems take the House this Fall, the Judiciary Committee will commence unrelenting televised public hearings after the new congress is seated in January. I doubt Trump will weather that type of exposure.

  11. Trump is a criminal. He has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. He should be removed from office, but first he has to be indicted, tried and convicted. The man has no ethical compass and is completely unfit to hold public office. He is out to destroy people’s confidence in government and the democratic process. This agenda fits the agenda of the economic elite who hate government and democracy. I fear a side show of military activity will be undertaken to get the spotlight off of Trump and his crimes.

    John J. Fitzgerald

  12. I voted “no opinion”. I don’t know, and think it can go either way. Trump stays as long as useful for the powerful, but now that he signed the papers and seems to pose a risk, they might think he needs to go. I think the truth doesn’t matter, at all. I don’t believe rule of law plays a role in this.

  13. To clarify, Mueller did not do this hit on Cohen. He may benefit, depending on what is found but his boss, the Asst. Attorney General is the guy, and his office who determined that the raid would be done by the Federal Attorney in NY. What was it Trump called this yesterday. A break in on his lawyer’s place, and a disgrace for the whole nation.

    I suspect Cohen’s days as an attorney are now over and he may be in deep trouble, but he will take a bullet for Trump and he won’t flip. Too bad. He never was much of a lawyer, he was the fixer, running around cleaning up after the great leader.

    Unless stopped by other circumstances Mueller will continue until the job is done. I just don’t see Trump making it to the next election in 2020. The results of 2018 will kind of tell us how long.

    1. Cohen might take the “bullet” for drumpf, but maybe not. These guys are all without honor. Cohen may well have done himself in. If the criminal activity has anything to do with the payment to Stormy Daniels, Cohen has said that he did it on his own, not at the behest of a client. Thus, there is no attorney-client privelege.

      1. True but attorney or not, I just don’t see Cohen ratting on Trump. If he does go that way Trump is in deeper stuff than even he thought. This guy knows where the bodies are buried.

        1. I dunno, Randy. Guys who make a show of telling you how tough they are, rarely are, I’ve found. Don’t be surprised if Mr. Cohen proves to have feet of clay.

  14. With 10 months remaining in Obama’s presidency, Republicans successfully blocked his constitutional power to replace a Supreme Court justice. Keeping Trump in his seat until his term expires in 2020 would be trivially easy, and they will, with the certain complicity of chicken-shit Democrats, who have never seen a good fight from which they wouldn’t retreat. There is no doubt about this whatsoever.

    What Trump can’t do is win re-election (not that the fat-assed narcissist would try, of course.)

  15. I voted “no opinion”. I don’t know if Trump has anyone he actually takes advice from. Doesn’t look it, but if there is, then that might work.

    Otherwise, the “rage quit” idea (above) is a possible outcome.

    I worry though about the 30% or whatever of the hard core supporters, especially with the firearms situation.

  16. I voted yes but will acknowledge that nothing is a given with the current configuration of Congress. I have thought for a while that Mueller’s investigation would turn up dirt on Trump, likely related to his business dealings, that would lead either to resignation or impeachment. I think it’s more likely Trump will simply get sick to death of the constant questioning of his fitness for office, the duties of the office, and the potential for being impeached and will resign. Republicans will abandon him if they think he’s wrecking their chance at holding on to the House and Senate. Who knows? I hate to predict anything with much confidence given the craziness of political life right now.

  17. So little of what goes on with this administration makes sense to me that I cannot make a prediction about its future with any confidence. That’s not entirely true. I predict this administration will continue to piss me off well beyond its conclusion, whenever that may be.

  18. Don’t underestimate tRUMP’s resourcefulness. We’re talking about someone the bankers placed on a measly $400,000 a month allowance back in the austere 1990s.

  19. So here’s a legal question that I have not heard answered by the TV legal pundits.

    We know that Mueller referred this issue to Justice as whatever they found was indicative of a crime having been committed but wasn’t directly pertinent to his investigation. Whatever they discovered is now being pursued independently of the Mueller investigation. Can the investigation of Trump’s lawyer and the Stormy Daniels affair later find something pertinent to Mueller’s investigation and refer it back? Perhaps they will find that Trump’s lawyer committed crimes that are relevant to the Mueller investigation.

    1. I think they would be obligated to send anything relevant to Mueller. Otherwise they would be concealing evidence.

      1. I agree with that and, let’s say Trump thinks he can jump up and pardon Cohen. He has no way to pardon what the NY Fed has on him.

      2. I am not so sure they could use it because of attorney-client privilege. My guess is that whatever they found would have to be, by itself, evidence of a crime likely to have been committed. Just finding something helpful to Mueller’s investigation would be insufficient.

        As one legal pundit pointed out, it is not for the FBI to determine what is privileged but a judge much later. Once some tidbit has been uncovered by searching Cohen’s stuff, it is going to get known to the other investigation and, even if it can’t be used directly, it is going to point them in the right direction though they would have to avoid a “fruit of the poisonous tree” accusation.

        1. By all accounts Mueller is considered to be very good at his job. I’d guess, or is it just hope(?), that he would not make such a mistake.

          1. I agree but it would be hard to unknow something that is discovered inadvertently or told to you by someone on the other investigation. No one is going to be so disciplined as to avoid following up something they know to be a fruitful direction even though they can’t actually use the fruit in court or should forget that it exists.

        2. There is no attorney client privelege if the attorney is engaged in illegal activity with the client.

    2. The answer is yes.

      I think it likely that Cohen has exposure on the Russia investigation. He and Trump’s Russian partner-in-crime, Felix Sater, were neck deep in Trump’s effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow as late as January 2016 — which included some hinky emails between Cohen and Sater about using the deal to secure Putin’s support for Trump’s presidential run. Cohen also carried some type of bizarre Ukrainian “peace plan” from the Russians to then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, in an effort to lift US sanctions on Russia. I’m sure Mueller is interested in both those incidents.

      I also suspect that Deputy AG Rosenstein referred the Cohen investigation to the local US Attorney’s office in part to set up a double safeguard that Mueller’s team would not be tainted by exposure to any material from Cohen’s office that might be protected by Trump’s attorney-client privilege with him.

  20. First, I think Trump’s survival instinct is to fight all the way — he’s immune to prosecution while in office.

    As others have said, no expectation that Rs would have the guts to impeach, even if they would vastly prefer Pence at this point.

    And, if Trump does eventually resign [only in the face of impeachment from a huge D wave in congress, he will do so poisonously. Just as he expected to do after the election, claim every kind of fraud, and invite his followers to the streets.

    In the next months, whether he fires Mueller, he almost certainly will drive the US into one or several wars, by intent or incompetence. Bolton has been waiting for this for 15 years, and has the list.

  21. Whether Trump goes before the end of his term largely depends on one thing: the support of his cult, i.e., the Republican base. Republican support in Congress will be needed to impeach and remove Trump, even if the Democrats take control of both houses after the November election. Republican candidates need the support of the base to win the nominating primaries. If the polls show significant erosion for Trump, the Republicans will turn on him in a minute. But this erosion of support must take place first. Republicans in Congress are such moral cowards that only saving their own hides will make them denounce Trump and his crime family. Trump could save everybody a lot of trouble by resigning, but I think there is much less than a fifty percent chance this will happen within the next year. In his delusional and paranoid state, he thinks that the majority of American people support him.

    1. Yes, Trump thinks the entire justice department and the FBI is crooked. Certainly not him so the witch hunt goes on. He even sees it as a democratic conspiracy although the top people after him are all republicans. Someone probably has told him this and that just makes him crazier. If trump is going to go nuclear on this, Rod Rosenstein is the next to be fired but I don’t see how that gets him to Mueller really.

  22. Can somebody please explain to me why the Stormy Daniels affair is even a thing? What crime was possibly committed (other than the recent allegations that she has been threatened by mysterious Trumpians).

    1. First, it may be proof that Trump is a “pussy grabber” and it wasn’t just “locker room talk”. He has consistently denied every sexual accusation so catching him in one throws shade on all the others.

      Second, it may be a campaign finance violation. Search elsewhere for explanation of how this works.

      Third, Trump may have authorized the threat on Stormy Daniels. This may be hard to prove though she claims she would recognize the threatener so it is possible he could be found and, via plea deals, the order followed up the chain of command.

      1. Regarding that threat on Daniels, I heard her lawyer saying last night that going out with a likeness or drawing of this guy who threatened her was next on their list. I think he said this would be made public in the next day or two and there would be a reward if anyone can id the guy.

        1. Her lawyer has been a master at spoon-feeding the public in order to maintain maximum media and public attention. She also comes off as authentic as one in her position can be. It will be interesting if people recognize the person. Also interesting is if the person, if real, is still alive.

    2. We don’t know if this is only, or mostly about l’affair Stormy. Most pundits seems to believe that this is a combination of bank fraud/money laundering, and possible violation of election law [we still have a few limits], as in paying off stormy and other embarrassments before the election with campaign funds, or laundering and commingling foreign, campaign, and foreign funds. The only thing we really know is Cohen’s claim that he paid off Stormy with $130000 in personal funds, and that alone may either represent an illegal campaign contribution. Or if reimbursed, from where. And the raids make it likely that FBI knows or beleives there were other similar payments to other parties. Roughly, all the above lead to the sort of charges that brought down John Edwards in the 1990s.

    3. See, the details provided above are useful but I am not as yet convinced that it will mean a lot. The affair happened long ago. The threat happened long ago (in 2011) and will be very hard to support with facts. The pay-off was in 2016, during the campaign, but again it would be hard to demonstrate that this was through campaign contributions since Trump was basically not accepting contributions at that time (if I recall).
      There are some possible hitches for Trump, though, having to do with the requirement that he disclose substantial assets and liabilities, either as a payout to Daniels or to his lawyer who supposedly paid off Daniels. Still, this sort of thing seems too far removed to carry any weight toward impeachment by the Republican led congress.
      Hope I am missing something. But then we get President Pence. Oh, boy.

      1. It isn’t the affair. Nobody cares about the affair. (not even evangelical Christians who are supposed to care about such things.) Illegal campaign contributions, though, matter quite a lot to prosecutors. And this thread will lead to countless other unsavory activities.

        I suppose it would be hoping for too much that some thread will entangle Mike Pence, too.

      2. If the payment was made for the purpose of preventing Stormy from speaking out right before the presidential election, then under federal election law it constitutes an unlawful and unreported campaign contribution — whether made by Michael Cohen or by Donald Trump himself.

  23. Should a change in the US Presidency occur before the 2020 election, we should not forget that behind the Trump creature lurks the Pence creature…

    Who seems to be somewhat like Brazil’s Michel Temer — an old-line amoral pol and loyal lapdog of the rich but one who does have the basic competence of knowing how his system works as well as where the bodies are buried.

    Thus, the arrival of the Pence creature seems extremely unlikely to halt or even to mitigate the chaos fomented and unleashed by the Trump Creature, its deluded followers, or the collective obscenity that is today’s Republican Party (a group that includes some who call themselves Democrats as well).

    Never before, not even during the Civil War, has the USA been in such a pathetic condition. One wonders if it is going to end its days as a nuclear-armed banana republic.

    1. I don’t worry about the Pence creature. He is a horrible politician, his popularity is equal to creature Trump’s, and 17% of voters don’t even recognize his name. More importantly, he is not the cult figure the rabid base worships. He is uninspiring as a speaker, has no leadership qualities and lacks charisma. If that’s not enough, he has a tainted past as a failed Indiana governor.

      And if he did become POTUS via a Trump departure, he’d probably be primaried in 2020.

  24. I’m not all that intelligent so I’m not going to try to sound smart. But I don’t think “The Grump” (as I call him) will ever get his. He never gets in trouble the way most people would for the crimes he’s committed. He’s sort of the Lindsay Lohan of the Business World.

      1. 79% approval among Republicans does not bode well for a POTUS during his 1st year. W. Bush’s approval after 9/11 was 99% among Republicans and it slowly decreased from there; but he didn’t hit 79% until Feb. 2006…almost halfway through his second term.

        1. Oh, it sucks but it doesn’t suck enough for Congress to impeach him and remove him from office. Nixon was in the 60’s among R’s when he resigned ..and D’s controlled both chambers.

          1. You’re right, it doesn’t suck enough for the Republican held Congress to do anything…I don’t know if there is a bottom to their cowardliness. But it does suck enough to tank his re-election prospects. During the weeks before and after the 2004 election, W. was in the low 90’s (for Democrats it was in the mid 40’s). Trump’s approval rating among Democrats hasn’t been above 8% since 1/2018.

  25. No matter what happens Putin gets what he wants. Chaos in America. Either in the political system, or worse.

    And Republicans are complicit.

    1. Another vitim narrative?

      I think Democrats should have a long hard look at themselves. How and why did they loose an election against a pathetic opponent like Trump.

      1. Exactly which line in my comment is a “victim narrative”?
        FYI, I’m not a Democrat.

        The Democratic party may have problems but the Republican party has gone insane.

        An example of their extremism is their attacks on Obama, for example birtherism started by Trump and picked up by many Republican elected officials.

        Elected Republicans concerned about “one world order”, “UN black helicopters”, Obama’s FEMA concentration camps, accused Obama of invading Texas, accused Homeland Security of hoarding bullets so citizens couldn’t buy them. And so much more.
        By elected Republicans.

        Their duplicity in almost every policy area should be evident to anyone by now, a hatred for debt and deficit but only when Democrats are in power. Hatred of their own policies when put forward by Obama. Indeed, Republicans were ready to pass their own legislation until Obama said he liked it. They then shelved it.

        Republicans swore to block Obama in every way possible, before he was even sworn in. They kept that promise, even to the detriment of the American people they were sworn to represent.
        This wasn’t a few hot heads, this was a decision made, an operating principle of Republicans for eight years.

        While the Democratic party has some lunatic supporters they at least try to keep lunatics and extremists from getting elected. Republicans go out of their way to elect lunatics and extremists.

        Republicans have turned the US political system into a parliamentary system, one with almost no room for compromise, even though the American system requires compromise for it to function.
        Republicans are largely responsible for political gridlock. They have shown in the last seven years that even when they have full or almost full control of the reigns of power they are often still deadlocked and unable to do the business of governing.
        Republicans have shown themselves to deal in bad faith with their dealing with Obama.
        Republicans have shown they themselves to deal in bad faith with their constituents. Over 60 votes to “kill” Obamacare that never could have passed shows that.

        The Republican party (with Fox News, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh and others) has been complicit in turning the US (or half of it) into a fact free society. Not both parties, the Republican party. They have largely supported and parroted Fox News talking points (and vice versa) and still do, even when such doesn’t support reality.

        Trump isn’t the problem, he is the result of thirty years of Republican policies, dirty dealing, manipulation and propaganda campaigns.
        Trump leaving office won’t change the dysfunction and damage done to the USA by Republicans.

        Today’s Republican Party … is “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition . . . all but declaring war on the government.”

        “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism” by Thomas E. Mann & Norman J. Ornstein

  26. There is a point many seem to miss I think. If you want to charge a man the worst thing you can do is raid his lawyer’s office. The slightest glitch or error and it’s all fruit of the poisonous tree. It’s also appeal fodder. This suggests the suspected crimes are not Trump’s.

    1. As I said above, I think Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have referred this investigation to the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, in part, to create a double “Chinese Wall” between any privileged information seized from Cohen’s office and Mueller’s investigation.

      The US Justice Department has a pretty elaborate system in place for dealing with searches of lawyers’ offices, including creation of a separate “taint” team to screen seized materials to ensure they are not disclosed to the agents and prosecutors conducting the primary investigation. There’s a section in the U.S. Attorney’s Manual addressing the topic, 9-13.420.

      This will all be litigated to a fare-the-well before anything gets turned over to the special counsel’s office.

      1. Keep in mind that, were attorney’s offices immune from search warrants, it would encourage criminals to stash all their incriminating documents there. Indeed, many organized-crime figures have tried this ploy over the years by hiring “house counsel.”

      2. Thank you so much for all these insightful comments Ken! Your efforts are greatly appreciated. The only thing I can contribute is to point out that the word “taint” makes me laugh.

    2. Perhaps the lawyers investigating the lawyers investigating the lawyers investigating the lawyers who have the audacity to investigate Spanky Junk tRUMP’s lawyers should be ……. investigated?

  27. Outsider here. What are the chances Trump may declare war with Iran or North Korea to divert the attention? Americans are gullible enough to believe that Saddam was a bad person. Same logic can be used to make Americans believe that Kim Jong-Un or Rouhani is a bad person

      1. Yes. But how much “bad” was Saddam compared to Bush, Cheney and co. or Trump? Wasn’t Saddam US’s pawn against Iran?At least there was no ISIS during Saddam’s rule. And yet Americans had no trouble digesting the lie that Saddam had WMD and was responsible for 9/11

        1. Saddam was definitely “bad” as, among many other things, he used chemical weapons on his own people, the Kurds. As bad as he was, it still would have been better to have not invaded considering how poorly it was executed. It is likely it was impossible to execute the invasion well.

        2. I’ve seen this kind of head-in-the-sand revisionism about that nice guy Saddam before, but you’ve added a delightful soupçon of whataboutery to the claim. Bravo.

          I guess.

    1. Very little chance. Trump has shown very little inclination to start wars. There is much hysteria about him antagonising the likes of North Korea,but IMO he is far cannier than his critics with regard to potential enemies. The most dangerous course of action is to let despots like Kim Jong-un labour under the delusion that NK is a military threat to the US or that the US doesn’t have the resolve to spank him if he is naughty. NK will not use nukes if they know for sure that they would be obliterated, so their only real option is a conventional attack on SK and Trump has been reminding them that they are a minor player.

      1. I disagree. You are describing Trump on a good day. When he finds that he’s created some sort of “red line” that obligates him to order troops to war or lose face, I fully expect he’ll order the troops. Also, he has shown a strong disregard for human life in other countries. See http://time.com/4132368/donald-trump-isis-bombing/. He has no problem sending DACA kids back to countries in which they’ve never lived if it means funding for his stupid border wall. Remember, in his head it is all about him which means it isn’t about anyone else.

      2. Since you’re so sanguine, maybe you’ll volunteer to be a human shield for the good people of Seoul when Trump executes John Bolton’s preemptive attack strategy as a means of deflecting attention from his crumbling presidency?

        The only thing Donald Trump has ever displayed any canniness for is separating marks from their money.

        1. That’s what I’m afraid of. What did the Iraqi people ever do to deserve Bush? Yet tens of thousands of them died to keep him in office. What did the North Korean people or the Iranians ever do to deserve Trump?

          The strongest argument I can think of for condemning the US as a country is the constitutional ability and tendency for one loony to start foreign wars to distract from his domestic incompetence. (Not that that’s exclusive to the US, of course).


        2. Good thing Bolton doesn’t actually get to make such decisions. Your conjecture that Trump will do it seems founded only on a visceral hatred of Trump.

          1. Oh, I have a visceral loathing of Trump alright (after all, there is so much to loathe about the man), but that’s not all my comment is based on. We have Trump’s several “fire & fury” & “big button” threats; this is a president who believes in conducting national defense strategy by taunting tweet. And he’s installed as his national security advisor the nation’s preeminent War Hawk, a guy who published a WJS article just a couple weeks earlier endorsing a preemptive first strike against NoKo.

            In the meantime, Trump’s eliminating (or stopped listening to) anyone in the White House or his cabinet who might act as a check on his volatile emotional swings. As the wheels come off his beleaguered presidency, Trump may be inclined to distract attention from the mounting Russian scandal by listening to Bolton bark in his ear “show ’em how big your balls are, Mister President!”

  28. I originally thought that lawsuits involving his winning ways with women would bring Donald down within twelve months of his (largest ever) inauguration, but it has taken a little longer. Gone from pop tart to burnt toast.

  29. I don’t know – but he will keep being ‘current’ as long as people talk about it every time that he sticks his arse out the window.


  30. Democrats won’t have the votes to remove Trump, and few Republicans will cooperate in his removal. Pence would be as bad as Trump but in different ways. He would be able to get more regressive legislation passed. The (hopefully) most likely scenario will see evidence surface of many crimes by Trump and Republicans will suffer huge loses over many years for their cowardly, continued support.
    Of course, this assumes that the electorate isn’t very, very stupid. I lost that bet once when Trump was elected!

    1. If at least one house of congress goes Democratic in the midterms, a president Pence would be hamstrung in office, especially with all the stank left on him after Trump. Pence has no base of his own, other than the Evangelicals (who’ve been thoroughly discredited regarding any type of moral stance). Hell, if Trump hadn’t’ve plucked him from obscurity, Pence was a long-shot to be reelected governor of Indiana, after his disastrous first term.

      1. True, but I worry about his SCOTUS appointments being even worse than Trump’s. I don’t think that enough Democrats will be willing to stall the process until 2020.

        1. True. But if the Dems get control of the senate, and all the justices make it to summer 2019, no way will Chuck Schumer hold hearings on a SCOTUS confirmation.

        2. Seems I read an opinion piece (NYT?) criticizing Pence for making sure that he was not alone with a woman other than his wife. IICR the critic thought that Pence should be able to independently handle the situation. Bill Clinton obviously was not able to achieve that standard of rectitude (except in a most exquisitely defined sense, eh?). I have with no doubt read that Billy Graham resolutely made sure that he was not in the presence of any woman not his wife unless he had at least two other trusted human primates in his presence as witnesses to whatever transpired. Otherwise, one could righteously say, “I’m just asking the question.” I gather it’s the old “An once of prevention is worth a pound [megaton?] of cure.” I (reasonably?) presume that tRump would not necessarily want any such witnesses, or at least that that has been his apparent track record.

  31. I fear that almost no matter what, the mid-term election will produce results that will be contested or worse, chaos and violence:

    a) If it’s a Republican win (i.e. most incumbents stay in and the House stays more or less the way it is now), it’s probably the result of Russians continuing to put their cyber-thumbs on the scale. This was obviously the case with the last election, and I believe it’s why Trump is unwilling to put any energy or attention toward stopping them. Deep down he knows he needs them to stay in power, even if he publicly does not admit it. Democrats will protest but will roll over like before, because they fear that contesting the election will result in the dissolution of the country. Trump will continue his chaotic rule, trying to dismantle the government piece by piece – I’d even look for him, in his new and more powerful position, to attempt to get rid of departments like Energy, the EPA and Education. At that point, I’d expect him to go as long as he can, even demanding another term after the second one. It will be like Castro because a family member (Donald Junior, Ivanka?) will run to replace him (and may even win) when he’s too old. This may sound ludicrous to us now, but if I went back in time to 2016 and told you what would be going on now, you wouldn’t believe anything I told you.

    b) If the results are close, but still not conclusively a win for either party, Congress stays powerless, split apart by polarized partisan groups. Trump stays in because they can’t manage to do anything to stop him. I fear this is what the Russians are shooting for.

    c) If the Democrats take the House back, Republicans and Trump will claim it was cheating, and unless it’s a complete rout (which it won’t be), will not accept defeat, claiming some sort of fraud by the Democratic candidate (whoever that is – remember how they demonized Hilary?). Don’t underestimate how little reality or facts will play in this (Again, remember the denial of crowd size differences at the Inauguration?) Trump’s true believers will resort to violence in the event of an attempt to impeach.

    Basically, no matter what happens, the US is in for a terrible time, and that’s assuming there is no attack from the outside. Keep in mind that the Cabinet Secretary who is the Head of Homeland Security just resigned, and I don’t know if that role requires Congressional approval (like the National Security Advisor). Jared Kushner would probably be appointed. It would be a perfect time for ISIS to attack the US, which will be easy to infiltrate. They might even get some aid from the Russians, who will dismantle power plants, water treatment facilities, air traffic control, etc.

    I’m more relieved than ever that I left the US for Canada 13 years ago.

    1. Re. your last sentence. You realize that’s impossible at solving problems, no? Feels good, means nothing. I can leave and won’t. Fight is better than flight…at least I’ve never seen a flight strategy as a successful one if problem solving is intended. Please prove me wrong with data. Lucky folks can leave…the unluckless shouldn’t be left behind because the lucky can forget them. Running away is to me a selfish option…running away with no strategy that shit won’t catch up…again, feels good, means nothing. Entropy always catches up when the country failing happens to be the “best”…in this case the US of A. If it fails, good luck escaping the aftermath.

  32. No, Drumpf will declare on North Korea / Iran / Mexico / any other convenient victim and it will suddenly become Unpatriotic and treasonous to Our Brave Cannonfodd^H^H^H^H Troops to question his leadership.

    Wanna bet? 🙁


    1. ” . . . it will suddenly become Unpatriotic and treasonous to Our Brave Cannonfodd^H^H^H^H Troops to question his leadership.”

      A la the Bush/Cheney faction/regime.

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