truly phenomenal The impeachment of Donald Trump marks an downright dangerous — and politically charged — moment for the United States and a reminder of the unparalleled level of crime and collusion during the 2016 election.
It’s easy to look back at the 2016 election as if its outcome was inevitable—that Hillary Clinton was a very weak candidate whose years of expensive speeches had lost touch with working-class voters in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania; That “but her emails” and Jim Comey’s repeated, inappropriate and misguided interference in the election turned the tide. But the new indictment against Trump is a major historical correction, a moment that highlights that America as a country must take note of the fact that Trump’s surprise victory was an aid, not an aid. Two separate criminal conspiracy
In the final push of the 2016 race, in an election that amounted to incredibly narrow victories in only three states — 10,704 voters in Michigan, 46,765 in Pennsylvania, and 22,177 in Wisconsin — and where Trump lost the uncontested vote by nearly 3 million votes. They were aided by a massive and extensive official campaign by the Russian government. That effort was funded by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is now behind the ruthless waging of his Wagner Group mercenary army in Ukraine, targeting American social media companies and activists on the ground. In another branch of the Russian operation, GRU military intelligence hacked top Democratic officials, leaking their emails and shifting the national narrative around Clinton and other Democrats, according to a comprehensive report by the US Justice Department. (Not to mention that it spawned the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and, arguably, QAnon.)
Then there was the separate criminal conspiracy that was the subject of today’s new indictment in New York: The Trump campaign in the final weeks of the 2016 election, Trump family fixers Michael Cohen and national survey Paying secret money to suppress two of the candidate’s affair stories, including an infamous affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.
While it may seem like news of such an affair would have been a no-brainer during the closing weeks of the campaign, it is worth remembering the specific context of the Cohen and Trump job in those closing hours of the campaign. He performed a fearsome and razor-sharp balancing act to retain the support of conservatives and evangelicals in the aftermath of the disastrous access to hollywood tape, a moment when Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence seriously considered throwing in the towel himself. The continuation of more non-family values friendly stories may have started an irreparable spiral. (It’s also worth remembering the still-dubious interweaving of these two threads: how, on the same Friday in October 2016, US intelligence chiefs publicly declared for the first time that Russia was behind election meddling, Washington Post created the existence of vulgar access to hollywood adhesive tape. And then, hours later, WikiLeaks began dumping another set of stolen emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.)
The new criminal case related to that second Stormy Daniels conspiracy brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg also serves as a reminder of the US Justice Department’s historic mistake in not pursuing its own charges against Trump in the same case. Given that the Justice Department is in the middle of Donald Trump’s own presidency, no less! — Cohen sued for the same conspiracy, naming Trump as “Personal 1” in the indictment against Cohen and, according to a new book by Eli Honig, outlined in the draft Trump’s personal direction and involvement in the case to be done.
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