CNN / YouTube Trump blames Democratic policies for Mollie...
CNN / YouTube

I’m not sure people appreciate how incredibly damaging this week has been for Trump. And the last 24 h especially, with the David Pecker/Alan Weisselberg news (they’ve been granted immunity for unclear reasons).This may well bring down Trump Org. and with it, the eponymous Godfather.

Slow motion train wreck.


Phillip Bump/WaPo:

The three illegal acts that may have helped Trump win the presidency

The nation heard this week accusations that Donald Trump was personally involved in the decision to offer two women money shortly before the 2016 election to keep them from sharing stories of alleged affairs. Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted under oath to having been instructed by Trump to work with David Pecker, chairman and chief executive of American Media Inc., to arrange a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. He also admitted to having been instructed by Trump to pay off adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. Both payments involved felony violations of campaign finance law.

That revelation is remarkable in its own right. But it is also worth remembering it becomes the third allegation of an effort to surreptitiously aid Trump’s 2016 campaign that violated the law.


Kathleen Parker/WaPo:

Juror No. 0302 may not have sought fame, but Paula Duncan will long be remembered in connection with Paul Manafort, whom she and 11 others convicted on eight counts of financial crime.

What makes Duncan memorable, besides her being the only juror to speak out since the trial ended, is that she’s a die-hard, MAGA-cap-wearing President Trump supporter. She agrees with Trump’s assessment that the special counsel investigation into Russian collusion is a “witch hunt.” She says she’ll vote for Trump again in 2020.

And she wanted Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, to be innocent, but the evidence and the boxes full of documents convinced her otherwise.

“Finding Mr. Manafort guilty was hard for me,” she said during a recent Fox News interview. “I really wanted him to be innocent, but he wasn’t. That’s the part of a juror; you have to have due diligence and deliberate and look at the evidence and come up with an informed and intelligent decision, which I did.”

Being able to deal with new info once you see it (Fox watchers are way behind the curve) will be key going forward.

Catherine Rampell/WaPo:

No collusion? We’ll see. But what about tax fraud?

To be clear, we don’t know whether Trump has violated any tax laws. But there’s a red flag in prosecutors’ filings against Cohen regarding the fate of hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes one would expect to have been paid Uncle Sam.

It’s a little technical, so bear with me. The issue involves payments that the Trump Organization made to Cohen as part of an agreement silencing adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels) and how the company accounted for them.

Dana Milbank/WaPo:

This week may turn out to have been a turning point. It was the moment the justice system landed two blows against an unfit leader: the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on charges related to bank and tax fraud, and the guilty plea by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who implicated Trump in a campaign finance crime. More significantly, Trump’s own people began to turn against him.

A leader who demanded loyalty but rarely gave it is now being repaid in kind. For a man who craves approval above all else, this must feel lonely. The most qualified didn’t want to join his administration, and Trump was suspicious of them, but he presumed loyalty among the misfits he assembled.

Jed Shugerman/Atlantic:

A Lone Holdout Juror Actually Made It More Likely That Paul Manafort Will Go to Jail Even if Trump Pardons Him

Federal double jeopardy law would not be an issue here. The doctrine of dual sovereignty allows the federal and state governments to prosecute the same crimes. The problem is that many states broaden double jeopardy protections to prevent the bringing of state charges after a federal prosecution. I’ve explained in Slate that New York and Pennsylvania have such a rule. It turns out that Virginia and California do, too. But because of some likely combination of prosecutorial skill and luck, Manafort still faces prosecutions in those states, plus perhaps Illinois and others.

Let’s first focus on just the crimes for which Manafort has already been tried. This week, he was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to report a foreign bank account. In New York and Virginia, where he held residences, double jeopardy laws prevent him from being charged for the exact same crimes. But state tax fraud is a distinct crime, one that he almost certainly also committed. When one fraudulently hides income from the federal government, one has to hide that same income fraudulently in state tax returns in order to avoid incriminating inconsistencies.

Vann R. Newkirk II/Atlantic:

Trump’s White-Nationalist Pipeline

The most enduring scandal in and around the White House might not be corruption, but rather the administration’s constant embrace of bigotry from white-supremacist and far-right groups.

Of course, Trump is only the star player in a White House and an administration that have become a clearinghouse for all sorts of hate-group propaganda. Even an abridged list of the dyed-in-the-wool white-supremacist, white-nationalist, and hate groups that have been amplified recently by Trump associates would require a table of contents. Just this week, The Washington Postreported that Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow had hosted Peter Brimelow, a white-nationalist publisher of the racist website VDare, at his birthday party. Among other extreme positions, Brimelow expressed last year his belief that Latino people are more “prone” to committing rape than people of other ethnicities.

Earlier this week, Media Matters reported that, on his campaign website for the 2018 governor’s race, Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and the former leader of Trump’s ill-fated voter-fraud commission, cited a fake statistic about crime committed by immigrants. The stat was dreamed up by the white nationalist Peter Gemma, who has an avowed mission to prevent “race-mixing.” In June, the Trump-friendly Iowa congressman Steve King—who’s openly expressed his belief in the superiority of white culture and society—retweeted an anti-immigration message from a British Nazi sympathizer, and hasn’t deleted the tweet.

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