Paul Manafort’s Upcoming Trial In New York Could Be A BIG PROBLEM For Mike Pence

Not long ago, out of nowhere, there was suddenly a rumor going around Washington that President Trump was considering dropping Mike Pence as his running mate in 2020 and replacing him with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. It started when Andrew Stein, the former president of the New York City Council wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

“It’s too late for Mr. Trump to revamp his political personality. But with the 2016 election in the past, Nikki Haley on the ticket could tamp down the antipathy for Mr. Trump that seems to afflict so many moderate and Republican-leaning women.”

Trump later squashed the idea, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview that Pence was “100%” on his 2020 ticket:

“Well, look, look — 100%, yes. He’s been a terrific vice president. He’s my friend.”

However, as we’ve learned from Donald Trump many times already, nothing he says can be taken as truth. Nothing!

And with the upcoming trial of Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in the news recently, it pays to remember that Manafort had endless connections to Russia and was the person who made sure Pence was chosen to be Trump’s running mate in 2016. CBS broke that story just weeks before the 2016 election:

“Manafort had arranged for Trump to meet with his first choice for the job on July 13: Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Afterwards, the plans was for Trump and Pence to then fly back to New York together and a formal announcement would be made, a campaign source said of Manafort’s thinking.

“Set on changing Trump’s mind, (Manafort) concocted a story that Trump’s plane had mechanical problems, forcing the soon-to-be Republican nominee to stay the night in Indianapolis for breakfast with the Pence family on Wednesday morning.

“Swayed by Pence’s aggressive pitch, Trump agreed to ditch Christie and make Pence his VP the following day, according to a source.”

Manafort, who is facing 25 years in state prison if convicted in New York on charges of mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying records related to his efforts to get millions of dollars in loans on properties in New York and other states, was once thought to be a prime candidate for a presidential pardon related to convictions he received in a federal trial, but Donald Trump has zero pardon power in New York and is therefore powerless to help his former campaign chief.

Might Manafort be willing to make a deal with New York prosecutors and tell all he knows about others (i.e. Trump and Pence) in exchange for leniency? Possibly, but he refused to do so with the feds. However, what comes out during his trial could potentially sink Pence and lead to him being dumped from the 2020 ticket. Even if Pence isn’t removed from the reelection effort, his own political fortunes could be badly damaged based on what is revealed in open court during Manafort’s trial, which begins in October.

No matter how you look at it, the next few months are going to be tense ones for the White House as Manafort’s actions are exposed. But for Mike Pence, Manafort’s handpicked choice to be VP, the revelations could prove to be the end of his political career.

Crime Mueller Report Russia Investigation Trump-Russia

Adam Schiff Just Found The Perfect Way To Make Sure Trump Doesn’t Get Away With His Crimes

With President Donald Trump and the White House continuing to stonewall when it comes to complying with requests and subpoenas from multiple congressional committees, it appears that we could be in for a long wait before we get any evidence or testimony that will shed more light on Trump’s crimes.

But now House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has found what can best be called an end run around Trump and his attorneys by making sure Trump’s attorneys are identified as co-conspirators and witnesses to federal crimes.

The New York Times broke a huge story recently reporting that the House Intelligence Committee is zeroing in on the Trump attorneys when it comes to the crime of obstruction of justice:

“In recent weeks, the committee sent lengthy document requests to four lawyers — Jay Sekulow, who represents the president; Alan S. Futerfas, who represents Donald Trump Jr.; Alan Garten, the top lawyer at the Trump Organization; and Abbe D. Lowell, who represents Ivanka Trump. The lawyers all took part in a joint defense agreement by the president’s allies to coordinate responses to inquiries by Congress and the Justice Department.

“’Among other things, it appears that your clients may have reviewed, shaped and edited the false statement that (Michael) Cohen submitted to the committee, including causing the omission of material facts,’ the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, wrote to lawyers representing the four men in a May 3 letter obtained by The New York Times.”

Here’s the quandary that places the president’s legal counsel in: If they refuse to cooperate or even testify, they risk being charged with contempt and disbarred. Recalcitrance on their behalf would also make them part of another crime: Misprison of a felony, which means knowing a crime is being committed but not making officials aware of it even though you’re a member of the legal profession. That can also get you disbarred. And it carries a penalty of five years in prison.

Schiff has boxed the Trump attorneys into one hell of a predicament. If they provide the information requested, Trump will dump them from the team. If they don’t, they might never be able to practice law again.

This is a brilliant strategy by Congressman Schiff. Now all that remains to be seen is which option the Trump legal team takes. Choose the wrong one, and kiss your career goodbye.

Crime The Trump Adminstration

Trump’s Obstruction Of Congress Fails As Top White House Aide Agrees To Testify

For the most part, Donald Trump’s obstruction of Congress has been going as he expected: A committee subpoenas a witness or requests documents and he claims executive privilege or — as he began doing just last week — claims that anyone who worked for the administration has “executive immunity,” meaning they don’t have to show up to testify.

Executive immunity, it should be noted, is total bullshit, as Daily Kos noted just last week when the issue came up:

“‘It’s important to distinguish between executive immunity and executive privilege,’ former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade explained on an episode of the podcast Talking Feds. McQuade recalled that George W. Bush’s White House tried to claim executive immunity to block his former White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, from having to testify about a scandal involving the mass firing of U.S. Attorneys. As McQuade noted, that argument tanked in court, with a federal judge ruling that top aides to Bush weren’t immune from congressional subpoenas.”

And now we have Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff for Don McGahn, who was Trump’s White House counsel until October of last year, seeing through the administration’s lies and agreeing to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee. Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced Monday that Donaldson will indeed agree to testify:

“Ms. Donaldson had a front row seat to many of the instances outlined in the Mueller Report dealing with President Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice and other abuses of power, which is why she is a key witness for the committee in our ongoing work to hold the president, his associates, and members of his administration accountable.”

Donaldson, who is pregnant and currently living in Alabama, will initially submit written responses to questions from the judiciary committee, and then personally appear in November, after her child is born.

Make no mistake, Donaldson could indeed be a key witness for congressional investigators, as she has first-hand knowledge of whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice and other crimes, all of which could well rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Just Security recently called Donaldson a “prized witness” for Congress, adding:

“Donaldson knows as much about Trump’s campaign against the Special Counsel as anyone, and in some ways, she is more poised than either Mueller or McGahn to shed new light on the President’s misconduct. The Office of the Special Counsel cited her notes and testimony nearly 70 times in its report, despite her removed role in the key events the Special Counsel examined. Donaldson’s appearance in the report shows how critical her testimony may be to a determination of whether the President abused his powers.”

Remember the name Annie Donaldson. When the history books are written, she — much like John Dean in the Nixon administration — may well be the one person who winds up bringing a premature end to a corrupt and criminal president’s time in office.

Crime Elections Trump-Russia

In Her Attempt To Be Evasive, Hope Hicks Accidentally Accused Trump Of A Crime: DETAILS

Though she tried her best not to tell the House Judiciary Committee anything when she testified this week, former White House Communications Director and longtime Trump confidante Hope Hicks managed to let a few facts slip out, and at least one of those could be a legal problem for the president.

Specifically, there’s what Hicks had to say regarding those hush money payments made to two women — Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal — by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. Here’s the exchange between Hicks and a committee staff attorney:

Q: It’s another text message exchange between yourself and Michael Cohen, November 5th, 2016. Do you recall what you were discussing in this exchange? Would it be helpful to read out loud into the record? I just was going to spare you, but —

HICKS No. No. That’s okay. Thank you. Yes, I remember. We were discussing the traction the Wall Street Journal story regarding Karen McDougal was getting.

Q: When you made statements during the campaign that the President did not have any relationship with Stormy Daniels, did you have a basis for saying that? Did the President tell you that he did not have a relationship?

HICKS: Again, I was relaying information from the reporter to the different parties involved, primarily Michael and Mr. Trump, and that was the response that was dictated to me. I didn’t ask about the nature of the relationships.

As Cody Fenwick of Salon notes, what Hicks said is a very big problem for the president:

“But one section of the transcript, first flagged to me by Vox’s Andrew Prokop, jumped out as an especially damning exchange that strengthens the already powerful case that Trump is guilty of federal crimes.

“And when Hicks testified Wednesday to the Judiciary Committee, her testimony confirmed key facts that would be necessary to prove Trump committed a crime.

“To see why, it’s important to realize why the payments were criminal. Campaign finance laws require candidates to report all expenditures on their campaigns. These contributions by Cohen himself (later reimbursed by Trump and reportedly disguised as a legal retainer) and by American Media, Inc., were never properly reported and, indeed, were intentionally concealed. This is part of the reason Cohen is in jail.”

Exactly! If it was a crime for Cohen to pay hush money to Daniels and McDougal, then it was a crime for Trump to participate in those payoffs, meaning he’s also guilty of felony campaign finance violations. That carries a possible sentence of five years in prison for each count. Since two women were paid off, Trump is looking at a decade behind bars.

The truth always winds up coming out, no matter how hard someone tries to hide it. And what transpired this week in the House Judiciary Committee is the surest evidence yet that Trump is indeed a criminal.

Donald Trump

Congressional Hearing In July Will Address Trump’s Growing Mental Instability

In July, a congressional hearing will be held to determine whether or not President Donald Trump is mentally fit to be leader of the free world, and the result could well determine whether or not impeachment hearings begin to remove Trump from office.

The Hill reports:

“House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said he and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD.) will host Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist who edited the best-selling book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.’

“’We are planning to do something where she can make a presentation to other members, so that they’ll be aware of what she’s been working on,’ Yarmuth told The Hill in a brief interview.”

Such a hearing is controversial because none of the doctors who will testify have actually treated Trump, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) prohibits members from speculating about the mental state of public figures.

Despite that, Yarmuth noted that the safety of the American people is paramount, and that alone is reason enough to solicit testimony from experts in the field:

“Even though none of them had actually treated Trump, they in their practices, and their experience, they recognize certain patterns of behavior, and when it’s their professional responsibility to alert people who may be endangered by someone’s behavior. And in this case it’s the American people.”

Trump has certainly done and said things that have made many question his mental fitness for office. Consider these points made by Justin A. Frank, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center and author of Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President:

  • A worrisome escalation of Trump’s cognitive limitations was heard in his inability to follow the thread of a conversation, as when he jumped from getting a card for Melania’s birthday to talking about Macron’s wife to talking about Iran — all in a span of three sentences. He said things that just don’t make sense, like there is “a horrible group of deep-seated people” out to get him.
  • The paranoid portrayal of himself as victim continued in a similar manner. “It’s a witch hunt,” Trump said, “and they know that. … I would give myself an A-plus. Nobody has done what I’ve been able to do and I did it despite the fact that I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn’t exist.”
  • Also on display was the now-familiar disconnect between Trump’s language, meaning, and the truth, most conspicuously when he contradicted himself while railing against his perceived enemies on “fake news” networks: “I don’t watch them at all. I watched last night.”

While the hearing next month may not change any minds on Capitol Hill, it needs to be held, if only because it’s sure to infuriate the notoriously thin-skinned Trump.