Last week two of President Trump’s biggest allies were found guilty of criminal activity.
First we’ll start with Paul Manafort, an American lawyer, lobbyist and political consultant. If you’re unfamiliar, Manafort has been an advisor to presidential campaigns such as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In regards to this administration, he was Trump’s campaign manager for a large part of the 2016 presidential campaign.
On Tuesday, Manafort was found guilty on eight different counts: five for tax fraud, two for bank fraud, and one charge for hiding foreign bank accounts. Manafort was found to have taken 60 million dollars from Russian linked Ukrainian leaders. Half of which he hid offshore to avoid paying taxes on it. Using this money and his status as campaign manager, Manafort attempted to influence the Republican party platform to favor pro-Russia policies.
We don’t yet know whether or not Trump knew at the time that Manafort was acting as a foreign agent. Either way, Trump doesn’t come out of the situation looking good. During an interview in his typical unintelligent manner, Trump repeatedly claimed that this has nothing to do with Russian collusion and how it is “very sad” for Manafort and the American people. Though currently Manafort is facing what is essentially a life sentence, we’ll have to keep watching to see what unfolds with him and if that leads to anything with Trump.
Next is Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer from 2006 to May of 2018, a month after the federal investigation began. Cohen plead guilty to eight federal counts, including, according to NPR, “five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.”
Unlike the case with Manafort, Cohen’s trial is directly connected to Donald Trump; as Cohen has acted as Trump’s “fixer” for many years. Specifically, this plea deal has to do with the money paid to women with which Trump has had affairs, such as Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. This “hush money” came from campaign finances from Trump’s 2016 campaign. As reported by the New York Times, “Cohen acknowledged the illegal payments while pleading guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges.”
“[Cohen] told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payments to the women were made ‘in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,’” implicating the president in a federal crime. The plea deal has a possibility of giving Cohen three years to fifty months in prison. So far Cohen has already implicated Trump in a federal crime, but we don’t know if this is all Cohen has on Trump. Could Cohen get out of the 3 year sentence by giving up more information?
Another possibility is that Cohen has evidence of Trump-Russia connections, the very thing Robert Muller has been looking for this whole time, indicting twenty or more Russian agents in the process.
With so many of Trump’s allies down, I believe, it is only a matter of time before they get the head honcho himself. Gates, Flynn, Papadopoulos, Manafort, and now Cohen—every other Trump ally has been fired. Trump’s tweets lately have been more erratic, calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Muller investigation, for example, which would be obstruction of justice. It won’t be long before Trump is in front of a judge, lying under oath, and finally getting impeached. I give him another year, max.