Gabriel Malor, a DC area attorney, has laid out the way the SDNY prosecutors – working out of New York’s Southern District and therefore working with one carefully calibrated degree of separation from Mueller’s team – will make the case against President Trump. And they will do so working in tandem with the Democrat House of Representatives. In a piece in The Federalist, he points out the ultimate irony for Trump.

This may be thought of as The National Enquirer Impeachment when the smoke has cleared, and the House has likely attempted to impeach and perhaps has indeed impeached President Trump.

The nuts and bolts of the case will be the payments made to Stormy Daniels and – perhaps even more so – the payments made to Playmate Karen McDougal through American Media Incorporated or AMI. That would be the owners of National Enquirer, who bought up the rights to McDougal’s life story which includes an affair with Donald Trump, of course. This was managed by Michael Cohen and his testimony may give the necessary evidence to prosecute the payments as a campaign finance violation on three counts:

  • It is unlawful, usually at least, for a corporation to make a direct payment to a campaign for a federal office. That’s why PAC’s exist. Was this a direct payment? If it was hush money to help Trump’s campaign, then yes it likely was.
  • It is unlawful to make a contribution to an election for federal office in excess of $2,700. Using a little math: $130,000 > $2,700. It’s hard to argue with that inequality. Again, as long as the payment to Stormy Daniels was for electoral and not just personal reasons, then it may very well be that Trump was an accomplice to this crime.
  • Cohen’s use of service contracts through shell companies to reportedly disguise the payments is in breach of campaign finance transparency laws.

Now here’s where Schiff the milquetoast coyote comes in. While pointing to these possible/probable crimes, he is already linking them to any possible legitimate contacts with Russia and eagerly trying to conflate the two separate cases. One is what’s looking like a campaign finance violation. The other is what is looking like little evidence so far of anything resembling true collusion with Russia.

As Malor points out, the Office of Legal Counsel has deemed that you can’t indict a sitting president, establishing this precedent during the Nixon/Watergate years. Finance campaign violations have a 5-year statute of limitations, apparently. But impeachment proceedings can start whenever the next Congress decides it wants to, which given the Cohen indictments and the possibility of Mueller wrapping up his probe, will probably be sometime in the last week of this coming January. Roughly speaking.

So that’s what Schiff is doing, trying to lay the groundwork for public support for impeachment. He’s got more than a little help on his side, unfortunately for the president. As I said in the last blog, this could have been avoided with a little more caution and a little more thought about process on the part of Trump’s campaign team. But when you hire people like Paul Manafort to run your campaign, that type of thinking is not part of the plan.

And yes, had Trump had a campaign team that was more thoughtful and cautious, he may not have won the election. What brought him to Washington may expel him from Washington as the powers that be across the administrative state, the judiciary and now a good part of Congress – never mind most of the media – have the perfect excuse to do what they’ve wanted to do since late on November 8th just over 2 years ago. Expel Trump from Washington.

If they do attempt this, and it seems certain they will, they should remember the reasons why Trump was elected and do so with a little humility and appreciation for the forgotten man and woman that brought the president to Washington D.C. But there is no humility to be seen anywhere. It died with George H.W. Bush, even if it was sometimes just an act by a very skilled politician, it was also real. And that reality is gone. So we now seem to be approaching the most climactic and (politically) bloody act of the Trump Presidency.

But even so, who can say this will be the final act? One should be very careful about assuming this will sink President Trump. Even if it will be a bloody winter in Washington.

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