Entering a period of danger
This week, the president of the United States became, without being named, for all intents and purposes, an unindicted co-conspirator in two felony crimes for which he could, and may be, charged upon leaving office.
Let us not take lightly these and other surrounding events and revelations, as they threaten the foundations of a free democracy by either the dark prospect of impeachment, or the equally dark possibility of undermining our laws and constitution.
44 ex-U.S. senators, Republicans, Democrats, and independents all, wrote this week to ask the current Congress to carefully protect our institutions, and our values, in the upcoming challenges the country will face over the presidency of Donald Trump.
The felony charges that Trump would doubtlessly face today, were he not the president, are but the tip of the iceberg of what lies ahead for the nation and our elected Congress. The 44 called for patriotism, not partisanism, for a unified protection of law and a bias of objectivity.
That challenge will be difficult for all, for considering removal from office of an elected president poses dangers to the nation.
But the issue at heart will be: Was Donald Trump “duly elected,” that is, was he elected according to our constitution and laws? This weeks’ sentencing of recent Trump personal attorney, Michal Cohen, combined with the affirmations of AMI publishing, both state that, at the direction of then-candidate Donald Trump, two women were bribed (silenced) for the purpose of aiding Trump in winning the presidential election. Given two sources making the identical claim, it is a legal foundation now undeniable legally by the president.
These acts constitute a violation of federal election laws and, given the extraordinary attempts to hide these actions, both by Cohen, and AMI, and this president, who repeatedly denied knowledge of the transactions, pose a subterfuge of planned intent. The actions were intended to mislead the public before voting for the presidency.
Additionally, we now know that, from filings of the special prosecutor in related cases, that the Russian interference in the 2016 elections may have occurred with the willing participation of individuals within the Trump campaign, and, possibly including Donald Trump. If these damaging incidents do combine to present a case for conspiracy by the Trump campaign to accept the help of the Russian government to elect Donald Trump, then the nation faces its greatest political crisis since the Civil War.
And the 44 write to prepare our Congress to remember its oath of office when accessing these serious possibilities that may be presented by the special prosecutor in 2019.
We now know that, despite Trump’s denials of any collusion with Russia, at least 16 Trump campaign officials had contacts with Russian agents during the presidential campaign. We also know that Trump longtime friend Roger Stone is under investigation as the potential conduit between the Russian hacked e-mails, Julian Assuage, Wikileaks and the Trump campaign in the timing and release of DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s e-mails, both damaging to the Clinton campaign.
The Washington Post has reported that during the 2016 campaign, while candidate Trump was repeatedly denying any connection to Russia, he was in fact seeking to gain agreement to build a hotel in Russia with funding from a Russian bank that would likely have needed the approval of Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin. The Post also reports that the Trump hotel would gift a $50 million-dollar penthouse to Putin in the deal.
Adding more complexity, the hotel could only be built if the sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama for Russian interference in the 2016 elections were eliminated. When those sanctions were announced by the Obama administration, then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn contacted the Russians to assure them that the sanctions would be lifted by the Trump administration once in office. Flynn then lied about that conversation, for which he now awaiting sentencing.
Soon our elected Congress will be called upon to set aside political concerns and instead face the nation with the courage of convictions. May they serve us with honor.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.