These times are so extraordinary that I agree with Michiko Kakutani — she finds the prose that appears under James Comey’s name rather good. “The soft white pouches under” Trump’s “expressionless blue eyes” isn’t bad; I prefer that she notes the president’s humorlessness, for Comey a sign of “deep insecurity, his inability to be vulnerable or to risk himself by appreciating the humor of others, which, on reflection, is really very sad in a leader, and a little scary in a president.”
So many things are happening at once in federal court and with the Mueller investigation that I can’t keep things straight. Suffice it to say, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen acted as the GOP’s Mr. Fixit, if Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti is to believed and why not: arranging NDAs for the sake of a GOP donor who insisted that the woman he got pregnant have an abortion.
Best to focus on first principles. Brian Beutler:
Trump uses his businesses as conduits for bribes and is susceptible to policy extortion by creditors, hush money recipients, and others. If he weren’t such a greedy crook, he could have eliminated these fundamental problems. He could have sold off his investments, placed his fortune in a blind trust, and disclosed conduct he’d engaged in that would have otherwise made him vulnerable to blackmail.
Instead, he remains the owner, face, and (effectively) operator of the Trump Organization. He skims off the top of the Treasury and refuses to disclose his tax returns. He doesn’t and can‘t run the government in the public interest, and should thus, on the merits, be removed from office.
This has nothing to do with obstruction of justice and is only partially related to the “collusion” question.
By most accounts Trump conducted a private life similar to what Robert Goolrick recounted in The Fall of Princes. He’s a princeling who never grew up, relying on Daddy’s hundreds of millions as safety net. The world knew it in 2015. The GOP establishment went through the pantomime of considering him an uncouth menace, then embraced him when he won. And here we are.