In an interview with CNN this week, former Nixon White House lawyer John Dean said that he fully expects Democrats in the House to pursue impeachment charges against President Donald Trump in the coming year. While many top Democrats have done everything short of promise the American people that this would not be their course of action, Dean said that the court filings against Michael Cohen left the House with “little choice” but to begin proceedings against the president.
“I think what this totality of today’s filings show is that the House is going to have little choice, the way this is going, other than to start impeachment proceedings,” Dean said on CNN Friday.
Dean was of course referencing the sentencing memo filed against Cohen by the Mueller team. In it, the special counsel says that Cohen was working at the behest of “Individual 1” (Trump) when making payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. In making these payments, Mueller insisted,the Trump campaign attempted to shield the electorate from the fact of these affairs, thus committing a variety of crimes.
For his part, Trump has continued to deny having any affairs with the women named above and has insisted that he had no part in directing Cohen to make the payments. As of now, while the filings against Cohen appear to implicate Trump, there has been no attempt on the part of the special counsel’s office to bring charges – or even formal accusations – against the president.
Even so, Dean said the information contained in the filing was enough to put Trump in the impeachment crosshairs.
“In his allocution, he implicated Trump directly,” Dean said, referring to Cohen. “and he was doing it, his instructions, that’s why the payments were made and they were for his benefit.”
Dean wasn’t the only one saying Friday that House Democrats now had enough ammunition to pursue an impeachment trial. On his show, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said only the fact that Trump is president is keeping him from being prosecuted.
“If Donald Trump lost the election and federal prosecutors were pursuing this same case, he would be pursuing exactly the same consequences as Michael Cohen,” O’Donnell said. “He would be charged with exactly the same two campaign finance violation crimes for arranging secret payments to two women during the campaign to buy their silence about their sexual affairs with Donald Trump.
“And so if history means anything in the Trump era, if precedent means anything in the Trump era, Donald Trump will be, must be, impeached because of the crimes prosecutors say he committed in the Michael Cohen case,” he concluded.
This, of course, is an exact-backwards reading of what’s happening here. If Trump had lost the election, there would be no indictments –not of Michael Cohen, not of Michael Flynn, and not of anyone else in Trump’s orbit. It is only BECAUSE Trump won the election that this witch hunt continues. And the BIG CRIME? Well, tell us. Tell us what Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal have to do with Russia, please? Tell us how Trump would have lost if these women had come forward in 2016.
This is absurd theater and it would be worth laughing about…if they weren’t serious about removing Trump from office based on this flimsy premise.