Scott Johnson:

“…My point, and I did have one, in placing the Michael Cohen plea agreement and related charges before readers here yesterday morning, was to note “the trouble down the road for others,” as I put it. First and foremost of “the others” I had in mind was the Trump Organization. Now the New York Times reports that the Manhattan district attorney’s office is mulling over charges against the Trump Organization and two senior company officials in connection with Cohen’s hush money payment to “an adult film actress,” as the Times now refers to Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford).

The supposed counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election now has more spinoffs than Happy Days. Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean this shouldn’t be said or reiterated. Every day it becomes clearer that the true object of the investigation taken over by Robert Mueller is the removal of President Trump from office…”


Crime and Punishment

Roger Kimball:

“…One of the reasons so many people are confused by the operations of our self-appointed fourth branch of government—I mean in this instance the unending, Kafkaesque investigations conducted by Robert Mueller and his crack team of anti-Trump shock troops—is that while we have seen plenty of punishment meted out, crimes have been rather less populous on the ground.

Yes, I understand that Paul Manafort has been nabbed for tax evasion and bank fraud, and that he now faces additional charges in yet another court. One of the nice things about our modern prosecutors is their handy multiplication machine that takes what is essentially one crime and gins it up into dozens or even hundreds of counts. Presto! You’re facing 18 counts, peasant—try beating that!

The point is, when you have carte-blanche to torment someone, why stop when you’ve got him locked up for life? Like a cat toying with an injured mouse, the modern major prosecutor keeps batting his prey about till he stops moving altogether. What might have been justice for a serial killer is gleefully applied to someone who fudged his tax returns or tripped over himself answering an FBI agent. Then we have sadism, not justice.

When it comes to our legal system, they say that the process is the punishment. But that leaves out the other side of the equation: that for the system, for wretched power-drunk commissars like Robert Mueller, the process, because of the punishment, is all the fun. They enjoy tormenting people.

But the thing that makes this long-running entertainment so confusing for most of us is that none of the crimes we’ve seen so far have anything to do with the title of the show.

Remember: we crowded into the theater to see “The Great Russian Collusion Drama.” But all of the skits we’ve seen so far—from Manafort’s and Michael Cohen’s tax evasions all the way down to whatever it is that Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos are supposed to have done—are like warm-up acts. Russian dressing might be slathered over the salad—everyone knows that in this election, as in previous U.S. elections, the Russians meddled and endeavored to sow discord. (And of course, we do the same thing: just ask the Brits or the Israelis.)…”


“…The crime at the center of this deep-state initiative is the election of Donald Trump. The tort? He was elected without the permission of the ruling class, its jesters and its scribes and moralists. Pete Wehner does not approve of Donald Trump. Bill Kristol thinks he is infra-dig. Psychiatrists are still trying to figure out what Mad Max Boot and Jabbering John Brennan think.

But this, Ladies and Gentlemen (and unlike the MTA and the London Tube, we still use the phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen” here), this is the crime: Donald Trump was elected. That’s it. That’s the crime. It’s not in the statute books, but a little thing like that never stopped a diligent bureaucrat, especially one armed with a phalanx of partisan prosecutors and an unlimited budget…”