We Trump supporters don’t care about Paul Manafort’s conviction on eight of 18 charges nor do we care about Michael Cohen’s plea bargain, specially worded to frame the president.
We know that these charges, while bona fide in some parts, are in their parts material to public opinion, politically motivated.
But here’s the beautiful part: we Trump supporters are politically motivated, too. The difference is, we express our political motivations in a usual and constitutional manner: elections.
We can see that the Justice Department had no intention of pursuing Manafort until the special counsel sought to squeeze the 60-day-tenure campaign manager to get to the president.
The special counsel failed to get the evidence he wanted, and Manafort, 69, will pay the price. He will likely receive a punishment that is tantamount to a death sentence, imprisonment—possibly solitary—for longer than he can reasonably expect to live.
Cohen, on the advice of longtime Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, pleaded guilty to making an illegal contribution to the Trump campaign at the direction of his client, “the candidate.”
There’s something strange here (aside from the fact the unseemly transaction appears legal on its face). Cohen was Trump’s lawyer. Did he advise Trump that the payment was illegal and Trump then directed him? Or did Trump rely on him as counsel to recommend a legal means for the transaction? The latter is the likely scenario.
How could Trump be shown to have intended to break an election law—if any were broken—if that is the case? His mistake seems to be in his choice of counsel, not his state of mind or actions.
Sure, Cohen could testify that he advised Trump the payments were illegal. But Cohen appears to be supremely dishonest in many statements and dealings. Indeed, his secret recording of a client is shockingly dishonest.
Cohen’s statements, under oath or not, are not very good evidence of anything. And everything Cohen says now can be presumed to be in the service of reducing his time in prison. He does not have any credibility.
Against the “Aggregate Interests of the Community”
While we will see what David Pecker’s immunity deal yields, we Trump supporters do not care because federal law enforcement, too, has cast aside credibility. Its see-no-evil performance in investigating Hillary Clinton and her affiliates contrasted with unsupervised aggressiveness in pursuit of Trump has revealed that federal law enforcement is something more than law enforcement: it is a political faction.
James Madison in Federalist 10 wrote: “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
This description fits to a “T” certain elements of the federal (and, with the New York attorney general’s office piling on, state) prosecutorial apparatus. It appears to share a uniform opinion which cannot comprehend the election of a brash anti-globalist president. The actions it is taking have every appearance of seeking to address political discontents by removing the president on grounds that if applied generally would permanently destabilize the United States. It would be hard for something to be to a greater extent not in the “aggregate interests of the community.”
Madison anticipated in Federalist 10 that the structure of representation in the legislature, taking in many conflicting interests, would curb faction. But this political faction is operating mostly outside of the constitutional framework.
This faction threatens not just the president and his supporters’ civil liberties, but the civil liberties of all Americans as it seeks to impose its will on the United States.
Trump’s supporters are determined not to let that happen. We don’t care about charges the special counsel or others may bring that have the appearance of having been designed to ensnare the president. We will express our political will appropriately at the polls this November. And when we prevail at the ballot box—as we anticipate we will—the job of cleaning up the mess will begin anew.
It won’t be pretty.
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