The SDNY and Robert Mueller have officially said their piece about Michael Cohen this evening. SDNY recommended that Cohen get about four years in prison for substantial but incomplete cooperation in light of his severe crimes, and Mueller says he has no opinion on the sentence. But the real upshot here is the part of the sentencing memo that relates to Donald Trump.
Here’s how Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe is interpreting the sentencing memo: “The Dec 7 filing in SDNY on Michael Cohen’s sentencing charges that President Trump (aka “Individual 1”) directed a criminal conspiracy with his attorney Cohen to violate the federal election laws in order to increase his odds of winning the presidency by deceiving voters.” Various legal experts are saying that, based on this, Donald Trump would be getting criminally indicted and arrested right now if he weren’t holding the office of “president.”
Where does this get us? Donald “Individual 1” Trump is now being formally accused by a U.S. Attorney’s office of having not only directed a felony criminal conspiracy, but having done so to the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in the process. In other words, Trump really did criminally cheat to get himself elected – and that’s before getting to any of the collusion with Russia, which is coming.
There are no criminal statutes or constitutional clauses that say a candidate is “disqualified” for having criminally cheated, or anything along those lines. This kind of revelation doesn’t cause a trap door to open up under Donald Trump. Robert Mueller and the rest of the federal government will still have to oust him the hard way. But if nothing else, we now know two things: Trump is officially a damn criminal, and he isn’t the “president” of anything.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report