The FBI raid on Attorney Michael Cohen’s office, hotel room and home signals that the U.S. remains, thankfully, a nation of laws. From all appearances to this point, the raid was legal and warranted. Confiscating Cohen’s records had to hurdle several high legal bars before the G men starting rapping on doors.
The raid was not a partisan assault on Trump or as he ridiculously charged an “attack on our country.” Special prosecutor Robert Mueller found something and from there handed it off to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who channeled the evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
All kosher in the netherworld of sleazy payments to muzzle Trump’s mistresses. We are talking campaign finance violations, wire fraud and lord knows what else. But President Trump, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. We are a nation of laws, after all.
So now Trump is fighting a two front war, one against Mueller and one against the U.S. attorney in New York and the FBI, which are now in his possession of the records of the president’s personal attorney (maybe former personal attorney by now). Trump’s war with the FBI has exploded from his repeated verbal assaults into a full blown conflict.
SDNY U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, a Trump appointee, reportedly recused himself from the probe so the presumption is his deputy Robert Khuzami will handle whatever emerges from what is likely to be a trove of damning information for the president.
The major players in the raid are members of the same party as Trump so he cannot point his finger as he so often does at Democrats (he will anyway). That includes Rosenstein, FBI director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who by recusing himself from the Russia investigation set the wheels in motion for the special prosecutor. Mueller was a registered Republican, but it’s not clear if he still is.
Reactionary Trump rules by impulse and cannot keep his mouth shut. He has little regard for the law and American institutions which he is trying to tear down whether he realizes it or not. Let’s say he’s not a thoughtful or a reflective man. He’ll be an unholy terror in the nursing home.
Even if Trump axes Mueller, which would create a political maelstrom of its own, he now has to contend with the fallout from Cohen’s records now in the hands of investigators. The chickens are coming home to roost. Trump has repeatedly attacked the FBI and Justice Dept. Bad idea.
Maybe Trump can fire his way out of this. After all, U.S. attorneys serve at the president’s pleasure. Whatever happens, the country will continue to suffer with such a distracted, angry and unhinged president. The law is relentless and will be winning so much we’re going to get sick and tired of it. Not.
A headline on a New York Times editorial yesterday summed exactly how I am feeling: “The law is coming, Mr. Trump.” And I quote:
“Mr. Trump has spent his career in the company of developers and celebrities, and also of grifters, cons, sharks, goons and crooks. He cuts corners, he lies, he cheats, he brags about it, and for the most part, he’s gotten away with it, protected by threats of litigation, hush money and his own bravado. Those methods may be proving to have their limits when they are applied from the Oval Office.”
Much has to play out in this high stakes saga. Trump mistakenly thinks he is above the law. No one is above the law.