Why Michael Cohen's New Trump Tapes Matter

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Why Michael Cohen's New Trump Tapes Matter

This has been an absolutely insane week, so of course we’re going to end it with a bombshell as perfectly stupid as this one. Per the New York Times:

President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.

To cut all the “Fake News!” folks off before they launch into their predictable shtick:

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen on the tape but said the payment was ultimately never made. He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated that the president had done nothing wrong.

Boy is Rudy a special kind of stupid or what? That paragraph from the Times basically translates to “yes there's a tape of Trump wanting to commit very clear FEC violations, but he didn't do it and they didn't talk about it for that long anyway, so who cares?”

Liberals tend to have a responsible image of governance in their head for America's bluest states, but the reality is that the northeast is a hotbed for professional doofuses like Giuliani. I apologize for getting a little off track here, but it's difficult to cogently write in between sporadic bouts of hysterical, spasmic laughter.

Despite the hilarity of incompetence produced by this triumvirate of lunacy, this is still a serious story, and I'll let the husband of Senior White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway, George Conway, elaborate on why a recording of this nature could be a pretty big problem for Trump.

That tweet was posted in relation to the Stormy Daniels payment made by Michael Cohen just before the election, but if this discussed payment to Karen McDougal was made around the same time, it would also cause Trump to be in danger of violating that same FEC law.

However, the problem with relying on the Federal Election Commission is that sometimes their rulings can take a long time, and there’s a nonzero chance that they could reach a final conclusion after the 2020 election. America’s judicial system isn’t exactly efficient (unless you look at it as something specifically designed to lock up young minorities for minor drug offenses—then it’s historically efficient), and our inability to rid ourselves of a transparently criminal president is an indictment of the vision of the founding fathers. There are three ways out of this nightmare, folks:

1. The House impeaches Trump and the Senate removes him, giving us President Pence.

2. Trump’s cabinet invokes the 25th Amendment and removes him over unfitness for office, giving us President Pence.

3. We vote the Democrats into congress and the White House from 2018 to 2020.

I don’t know about you, but door #3 sure sounds like the best option. Even old-school Republicans like George Will agree with me. Don’t put your faith in Robert Mueller to rid us of this (sometimes A+ comical) menace. Put your faith and energy into recruiting the voters needed to exercise our collective power to fight back against the kleptocracy which ruled us all long before there was a President Trump.

Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.