This week, like so many others before it, would have effectively ended any other presidency. Months after Donald Trump’s own former personal attorney/fixer, Michael Cohen pled guilty to eight criminal counts including tax fraud, false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including paying off a pornstar and a Playboy model to keep quiet about Trump’s extramarital affairs, federal prosecutors are now backing a claim from the disgraced attorney implicating the President in his crimes. Back in August, Cohen admitted he committed some of his crimes “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” stopping just short of outright naming the President. The Justice Department is now supporting that claim in a court filing Friday.
Cohen’s conviction follows those of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, national security advisor Michael Flynn, and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. These convictions, while significant, reflect only a small portion of the unscrupulous characters the President surrounds himself with.
In a normal presidency, this would be an unsurvivable scandal. In the Trump White House, it’s just Monday. Trump’s base is still 100% behind him. Earlier this year, SNL had a hilarious-yet-depressing sketch where a distraught friend creates a fake game show asking which of the President’s scandals would have any consequences. The correct answer was none of them would. It reflects a sad truth of the current political climate.
So it should come as no surprise that the senior Republican in the Senate dismissed the latest allegations dogging the President. “The Democrats will do anything to hurt this President…I don’t care, all I can say is he’s doing a good job as President,” Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) bluntly declared.
Hatch’s rhetoric was far different during the last noteworthy presidential scandal. “This great nation can tolerate a President who makes mistakes. But it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up,” said the oh-so-pious Senator regarding Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinski. “Upholding our Constitution – a sacred document that Americans have fought and died for – is more important than any one person, including the President of the United States.”
90’s Orrin Hatch was right: when the President breaks the law there should be consequences. If only that guy were still around.