On Tuesday, August 21, Paul Manafort was found guilty for eight of 18 counts of criminal activity charged against him. None of the charges were in any way related to President Trump, his campaign, or Russian agencies.
On the same day, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts related to campaign finance violations. Again, none of these had any relation to President Trump doing any collusion with Russia.
However, even the conservative media is forced to try to explain to its viewing public how this should not be taken as any sort of implication against President Trump, because, of course, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media is making as strong implications as possible, such as these:
CBS: (from their newspiece) – “Donald Trump personally directed Michael Cohen to commit a crime…”
CNN: Headline – “Two courtroom dramas leave Trump’s presidency on a cliffhanger”
The New Yorker: Headline – “With the Manafort convictions and Cohen plea, President Trump has been implicated in a criminal conspiracy”
The Washington Post: Headline – “Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election.”
The New York Times: Headline – “Cohen, Manfort and Trump: What’s next?”
This pattern permeated most of the mainstream outlets on Tuesday as the plea and verdicts’ news were made public.
However, does this situation really represent danger for President Trump and his agenda, and does it present danger in view of the November midterms? These questions are, of course, the topic of concern for everyone who has a dog in this race. The mainstream media is betting on the success of this media attack, fresh on the heels of a united front style editorial blitz in which some 350 news publications printed op-eds and related pieces attacking the President for his rhetoric against the press.
At this point, the overall answer is probably difficult to see. Some facts are clear. Sean Hannity makes some of these most clear here:
HANNITY: Without a doubt, let’s be straightforward here. It is wrong – there are lessons to learn from today:
- Don’t ever knowingly lie to the FBI.
- Do not lie on a bank loan application, ever, or commit bank fraud.
- Pay your taxes.
But do we need Robert Mueller for all of this?
Think about this: How do you go from an investigation into Russia collusion in the 2016 election, and this is what we have? Taxes, from years and years ago? Bank fraud? Medallions? Lying to the FBI?
Where’s the Russia stuff? Would any of these people that we’re talking about tonight have been investigated or charged if not for their connection Donald Trump?… Is it not now, the witch hunt that the president has been saying – an attempt to turn the screws as Judge Ellis said about Manafort? To would-be witnesses, to find dirt on one man… so that they will sing and compose to either prosecute or impeach the President of the United States?
… This is it? Robert Mueller, are you proud of this? did we need you for five hundred days for this? How did we go from ‘Russian collusion’ to this?
President Trump said the same in his interview clip, also shown in this video clip. He also hammered on this theme, and the witch hunt aspect of the persecution he has been getting ever since he won the election, in a campaign event in Charleston, West Virginia.
The investigation under Robert Mueller’s direction has still, to date, not found one piece of evidence to support the idea that the Trump campaign was involved in any sort of collusion or cooperative action with Russian agencies of any type.
It has found that there are some high-powered people who did criminal actions, as is the case here with Manafort and Cohen and others. But the move here appears to be to find President Trump “guilty by association”, in that since he had crooked people in his employ this must somehow mean the original allegation is true.
This is not the practice of law and justice in any real logical sense. It is entirely political in nature, because the anti-Trump people (the Democrat party, most Republicans and almost all of the media) know that the political landscape of the United States is in fact more and more of a “pure” democracy.
Rather than a representative Republic, which requires an informed and rational electorate, what we see here is increasingly the “bread and circuses” sort of activity that precludes control of the mob. The mob is easy to influence because although the US has an electoral system, the real election of choice now is to be made in the court, or field of public opinion.
In this regard, whoever says the thing that sticks the most will win. It doesn’t matter if there is any truth to it or not. Mueller and the Anti Trump people are very smart in the fact that they use this. The conservatives and Trump supporters are learning to play the game much better, but they do not control the field.
It is unclear so far how this will affect the campaign, but the anti-Trump rhetoric looks like it just got a boost.