With the Cohen, and Manafort crisis gripping the White House, US President Donald Trump is denying any wrongdoing as the recent wave of pressure against his presidency is raising questions about his ability to continue his tenure.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort have implicated the president.
Cohen said Tuesday that “in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office” he had made hush agreements with two women “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
The accusation could convince prosecutors that Trump violated elections laws.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, backed the idea in a statement saying that that, “If those payments were a crime for Michael
Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”
Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Cohen, Trump's longtime fixer, made payments during the 2016 campaign to two women – adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – to silence them from speaking publicly about affairs they had with Trump.
Trump has denied that he directed Cohen to buy the silence of two women.
The White House, meanwhile, keeps resisting the pressure, arguing that Trump “did nothing wrong.”
“Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn’t mean that implicates the president in anything,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said after Cohen implicated the president in his plea deal. “The president in this matter has done nothing wrong and there are no charges against him.”
During her press briefing she had to insist again and again that “the president has done nothing wrong. There are no charges against him. There has been no collusion.”
Manafort, on the other hand, could be imprisoned after being convicted of eight federal felonies.
Sanders asserted that his convictions have nothing to do with the president, not ruling out the possibility that Trump would
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” - make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
US Senate Republicans have warned President Trump that pardoning Manafort would be a serious mistake.
“It would be an enormous mistake and misuse of his power to pardon,” said Republicans Senator Susan Collins, a prominent moderate.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.), the third-ranking member of the GOP leadership made a similar
“Pardons should be used sparingly and you have to have some awfully compelling circumstances I would think and I certainly don’t know what those are in this case,” he said. “Pardons need to be earned.”
The latest wave of pressure on the White House has revived speculations about ultimate impeachment of the president, an idea some call unlikely as US Congress is the only one with the power to do so.
“Let’s remember that this is ultimately about Congress and not the courts,” tweeted Eric Columbus, a senior lawyer in the justice department during the Barack Obama years. “Anyone who thinks Trump will face a criminal trial while president is kidding themselves.”
Efforts to impeach Trump, however, could gain momentum if Democrats can gain control of US Congress in the November midterm elections.
The president’s opponents could then launch corruption investigations that could result in impeachment hearings.
On the other hand, Trump could lose some of his supporters due to having sided with criminals, while some will continue sticking to the idea that it is all a “witch hunt.”