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Like President Donald J. Trump or not some facts get in the way of what comes off as a rough week for the President of the United States. Spat with his attorney general on Twitter, former campaign manager Paul Manafort guilty on 8 of 18 criminal charges and then Michael Cohen pleading guilty to a number of charges including campaign related crimes.
Eugene Robinson, in an op-ed appearing on Pennlive, joins the crowd saying, “There’s a reason President Donald Trump increasingly sounds like the mob boss in a cliche-ridden gangster film: That’s basically what he is — and he must know how such movies usually end.”
And this week it’s the Cohen guilty plea sparking the latest demands for Trump’s ouster.
Left, right, center or don’t care let’s put some of this into perspective.
Prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Cohen’s legal problems began with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who then hands off the case to the SDNY. Mueller, not the SDNY holds authority to investigate the president. In fact, in a story on CNN as recently as July 3, 2018 Paul Callen writes, “Robert Mueller has already signaled that he turned the Cohen investigation over to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. This suggests that Cohen’s personal business interests are most likely the focus of the Southern District investigation — rather than any potential collusion with the Russians.”
Back in April, CNN’s Jim Acosta reported Trump was told Deputy Attorney General Rod “Rosenstein told Trump he’s not a target in Cohen investigation”
And, sure, Cohen pleads guilty but his plea mean nothing in American justice. A person going before a judge admitting she ran a stop sign does make guilty her friend just because she accuses the friend of collusion to run the stop sign. She can’t plead guilty for someone else.
In the case of Cohen, for example, spending his money Trump later reimburses, even tangentially campaign related, can be a crime. However, Trump can legally spend his money as he chooses and donate to his campaign with no limits of any kind.
Do people believe Mueller hands it off only to take it back later? Not likely. More likely Mueller exhausted his efforts to find something related to his mandate. Completing his Trump related work Mueller then refers Cohen, and other cases, to the appropriate US Attorney as his work exposed crimes previously unknown those people may have committed for which Mueller holds not authority to prosecute.
For those hoping this leads to the end of the presidency of Donald Trump, they’ve shot 40 miles over their ski’s again. This is not a partisan statement, it’s a statement of fact. If getting Trump is the goal putting the eggs in this week’s basket of impeachment mania ain’t going to do it.