“By their attorneys shalt thou know them.”
— Judges 22:13
Roy Cohn, Michael Cohen, Rudy G.: The first two, Trump hired years ago, not in spite of but because of their talents for law-skirting, “fixing” scandals and willingness to do shady deals. Rudy, who knows? Before he lost his mind, he had an occasionally positive reputation. Until his post 9-11 self-promotion and his enigmatic “security” firm, he was often considered effective; nowadays a disqualifying characteristic for a Trump job. But his unhinged scream-fest at the Republican National Convention upped his cred. It’s the demented Rudy that Trump unleashes on TV studios.
Roy Cohn was notorious as Joe McCarthy’s Rasputin, glowering beside him at Senate hearings of a seriousness absent today. Returning from subsequent exile, he became Trump’s mentor, teaching him the ins and outs of cheating and bribing one’s way to success. Cohn had other clients, too, including the Catholic Archdiocese, Mafia boss Carmine Galante and Newhouse Publishing; and he managed to curry favor with politicians of both parties. By “curry favor,” one means “buy off,” a skill he taught his willing pupil. Interestingly, Cohn was also tight with Ronnie and Nancy, who managed to get him to the head of the line for the then-experimental AIDS drug, AZT. For more, read this from New York magazine: tinyurl.com/don4roy.
Diehard Trumpists, as they do about his entire career of cheating, will say it’s just good business. Who, other than honest people, wouldn’t want a mob lawyer in a city known for corruption? Trump’s Mafia connections might be more widely known and believed, had exposure not been quashed by the Wall Street Journal’s management in the run-up to the election. (New York: tinyurl.com/mob2don)
Other than a vowel, the difference between Cohn and Cohen is lawyerly competence. Roy, they say, was brilliant. Poor Michael can’t seem to do or say anything smart or exculpatory about the devious dealings he had with his boss. Now he’s outed for clandestinely receiving tons of Russian money for presidential access. What sort of man serially hires attorneys known for ignoring the law, threats, bribes and deals done under the table? What sort of people consider such a man presidential material? How much corruption is too much, finally?
If you think Robert Mueller looking into those business dealings goes beyond his mandate, how about this: After a career of boasting of being “the king of debt,” Trump suddenly switched to cash, by the hundreds of millions. The smell of rumored money-laundering for Russian oligarchs rises like methane from a swamp. Let’s assume Mueller knows more than we do. (Washington Post: tinyurl.com/don2cash)
Now, catching up on the latest news avalanche:
So desperate was Trump to discredit the Iran deal, it appears his people hired Israeli spies to dig dirt on members of the Obama administration who worked on it. To those who’ll “whatabout” the Steele dossier: If you can’t see the difference, explaining won’t help. The mendacious, dangerous, reckless idiocy of backing out demands a separate column. After the ash settles. (The New Yorker: tinyurl.com/don2spy)
To offset injurious tax cuts for the rich, Trump would remove billions from the Child Health Insurance Program and other programs for the needy. Family values.
Ollie North is the perfect choice for NRA president. (Esquire: tinyurl.com/nra2ollie)
Scott Pruitt’s ethical cloud should be made into a logo, put on a flag, and flown over the Gold House.
Ben Carson believes tripling rent for subsidized housing will incentivize residents to work harder. Or become homeless. I forget which.
At record lows, Bering Sea ice recently diminished by a third in eight days. Nice hoax you’ve got there, Don.
Suckering Texas’ governor and all of right-wing screamerdom, the Jade Helm/Obama/Walmart/incarceration conspiracy was the product of a Russian troll-farm. (Texas Tribune: tinyurl.com/nojade4u)
Paul Ryan fired the House chaplain because, like some crazy liberal featured in the New Testament, he prayed for poor people. Good that taxes provide spiritual care for Congressfolk, though, as they coax camels through the eyes of needles.
Trump’s goons stole his medical records from his former doctor. Illegal. And intriguing.
Blaming GOP sabotage of Obamacare, health insurers in Virginia want 64 percent rate increases. The uninsured rate is rising, too. As predicted.
Torture is back in the news. Reminder: Except to elicit false confessions, it doesn’t work. Also, it’s immoral.
Good for Trump that three American prisoners were released by North Korea. Because he’s Trump, he lied about it. (Bloomberg: tinyurl.com/lie2NoKo)
Last, hardly least, another liberal hero falls to a sex scandal. Sigh.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.