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Sun, August 19, 2018

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BREAKING NEWS

A shocking thing about the Michael Cohen story
May 15, 2018




CLICK TO ENLARGE: Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney. Photo: Youtube (2015)

Chronicle news & opinion

(NATIONAL) – There’s a new opinion piece in The Washington Post today by Randall D. Eliason that we think should be required reading for every American, particularly those who voted for Donald Trump believing his nonsense pledge about “draining the swamp” in Washington, DC.

Trump never had any intention of draining the swamp because the swamp is too good for business in the rarefied air he and his cronies live on.

This one report provides a superb example for interested eyes and inquiring minds of how corrupt our system of government really is, how easy it is to get away with what should be a high crime and how Trump not only never came close to draining the swamp, but how one of his chosen gofers (“go fetch it boy!”) became a huge swamp critter in Trump’s Washington overnight.

Here’s the opening to Eliason’s piece:

To understand the sorry state of federal public corruption law and its present inability to punish even the most egregious influence-peddling, consider a hypothetical scenario involving President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Cohen was reportedly paid several million dollars over the past year by companies seeking an in with the Trump administration. For an administration that promised to “drain the swamp,” Cohen’s brazen behavior sounds decidedly swampy — Washington business as usual, only more so. But based on the publicly available evidence, Cohen’s behavior is slimy but likely not criminal.

In fact, it would take a great deal for Cohen’s activities to cross the line into criminal corruption. And that is the remarkable, and disturbing, aspect of the Cohen story: just how freely access to government power may be bought and sold these days without running afoul of the criminal law.

Thus, a disturbing hypothetical: Even if Cohen explicitly sold access in the form of meetings with Trump administration officials — indeed, even if those officials themselves received a portion of Cohen’s fees in exchange for attending the meetings — it would be difficult, if not impossible, to mount a successful public-corruption prosecution.’

And who can we thank for that? The Supreme Court justices, he says, who unanimously overturned Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell’s convictions.

McDonnell is the Virginia governor who was found guilty of corruption after accepting more than $170,000 in secret gifts. But in June two years ago the court found that the favors McDonnell did (and the strings he pulled) “for his benefactor,” did not amount to “official acts” under the federal corruption law.

So the major point is, writes Eliason is that even though investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller reportedly talked months ago with the companies that paid Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars for “consulting services,” and that even if prosecutors follow the money in search of potential criminal violations, those violations may be very hard to find “in the current legal environment” for politicians and those close to them “are generally free to buy and sell access to government power with little fear of prosecution.”

Like we said. A required read right here.
















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