OP: Trump fosters a criminal culture; connected to criminals

19 March 2019

Zachary Engelman

zengelma@uccs.edu

    Ever since he took over The White House, Donald J. Trump has been surrounded by criminal investigations. From top members of his campaign to his personal ‘bag man’ defense lawyer, there have been 34 indictments and guilty pleas surrounding President Trump that we know of so far.

    Evidence has also surfaced about meetings with all kinds of unlawful subjects such as Russian officials involved in the interference with United States elections in 2016 and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    Along with this, Trump has been accused of attempting to interfere with the ongoing Mueller probe, implicated in breaking campaign finance laws and has been accused of instructing individuals to lie in court

    Trump has even been implicated in a potential prostitution ring involving a massage parlor in Florida and his ‘Mar a Lago’ resort and has refused to release his tax returns to the American people (allegedly because of a deal with a potential Russian hotel project).

    All of this criminally charged activity should be enough to raise some major red flags about Trump, but on Feb. 27, Michel Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and so-called ‘bag man’ released documentation that could be a ‘smoking gun.’

    During Cohen’s voluntary testimony, in which he proclaimed that he was done ‘protecting’ his former, stating, “I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.”

    He released a copy of a check signed by Trump for $35,000, alleging that the purpose of this check was to compensate him for paying a porn star to stay quiet.

    He showed that he had received 11 of these checks over a period of time that coincides directly with a payment he made to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her signing a nondisclosure agreement. This ‘hush money’ check, if credible, would implicate Trump directly with a crime of violating campaign finance limits.

    Although direct criminal activity by the president of the United States would be troubling on its own, Cohen’s testimony implied something much more sinister.

    Cohen highlighted Trump’s ability to force people to lie for him. He described multiple scenarios where he was directed to act illegally in order to cover up Trump’s past mistakes.

    This is a troubling prospect because, until now, Trump has maintained a degree of separation between himself and the criminals he is surrounded by. If this testimony is true it shows that Trump is capable and has made a habit of organizing criminal activity.

    It is important to remember, however, that Trump’s former guard-dog may not be the most credible source. He is, after all, going to jail, in part, for lying in front of a federal judge. He could also stand to gain a lot from turning on Trump when he gets out of jail, including book deals and television appearances.

    For now, the American people will have to wait for the truth. The Muller Probe will soon come to a close and more details will become available, but as it stands, Trump looks to be in deep water surrounded by sharks.

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