Close, but No Cigar
Monday December 10, 2018
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- I've been doing this a long time. "This," being politics.
- I started in Marietta, Ohio 45750 where I ran for City Council and lost in a primary by two votes.
Two current laws were not then in effect.
Law #1: An election that results in a difference of less that ½ of 1 percent warrants an automatic recount paid for by the government.
Law #2: A candidate can appear on the ballot with something other than his or her official name.
- I lost that race by a vote of 902 to 900 - a difference of 11/100s of one percent. There were 26 precincts in Marietta at the time and a recount cost $10 per. I had not spent $260 on the whole election and there was no "GoFundMe" at the time, so I took my lumps and moved on.
- Years later I had to good sense to have gotten married and the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices ran my campaign which I won with the most votes of any candidate for City Council.
- On the official name business, I was required to appear on the ballot as Richard A. Galen which, as it happens, is my official name. When James Earl Carter was running for President the Democrat-dominated state legislature changed the law so he could appear as "Jimmy Carter."
- I was the news director of WMOA Radio 1490 on your AM dial when I ran the first time and my name on the radio was … Rich Galen or, as it sounded to most people: richgalen.
- People thought I had one name, like Michaelangelo.
- Or Cher.
- They complained they couldn't find my name on the voting machine.
- All that to prove my bona fides about having been in this business for a long time.
- The filings by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (known colloquially by New Yorkers and by a lot of federal prison inmates as the SDNY) and by the Office of Special Counsel (OSP) on Friday were, in my political estimation, significant.
- Michael Cohen is going to jail. The attorneys at the SDNY know Michael Cohen. They know lots of Michael Cohens. They know the type: Smug, hip, full of bluster, show up at events and drop names of important people to get in, don't pay their taxes because … they are Michael Cohen.
- The attorneys at the SDNY were not impressed by Michael Cohen's connections to Donald Trump. In fact, there is some reason to believe his connections to Donald Trump are a net negative in the U.S. Attorney's office.
- If Donald Trump didn't happen to be the President of the United States right now, it is likely there would be Federal agents a-knockin' on his door serving papers indicting him on violating Federal election law.
- Trump is the President and it is likely he will not be served with such papers - at least not now.
- Remember that Richard Nixon (whose nickname was not Rich Nixon, but Dick Nixon) was not indicted even though he violated lots of laws. The prosecutors and the grand jury decided that the best course was to name him an "unindicted co-conspirator" thus preserving some law enforcement authority's ability to charge Nixon with actual crimes when his term ended.
- Nixon didn't last through his second term and his successor, President Gerald Ford, chose to issue Nixon a sweeping pardon to avoid the national disgrace of a former President doing hard time.
- In my mind, Trump directing Michael Cohen to pay women to keep silent about sexual encounters may technically be a violation of Federal election law but we already knew Trump's weakness around attractive women.
- The greater crime isn't, I don't think, a crime: Lying to the public in the course of a Federal campaign.
- From the earliest days, Trump made it clear he had no business dealings with Russians, didn't know any Russians, barely knew where Russia was, and even though maybe he once ran a beauty pageant in Russia, Vladimir Putin didn't show up so that didn't count.
- But, he liked Russia. He LOVED Putin. Putin said nice things about Trump. Trump is a sucker for flattery, is an even bigger sucker for despots and, despots who flatter Trump are the best people on Earth.
- What Special Counsel Robert Mueller's filings appear to suggest is that while Trump was telling us he didn't know nothin' about no Russia operations, his top fixer - Michael Cohen - was working hard to put together a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
- And, it appears, in spite of lying to us for months and months, Trump knew all about it.
- So, the question is: What law covers lying to the public or to the press?
- We need to see more about what Don, Jr. and Jared Kushner were up to. We need to understand why Kushner, Sen. Jeff Sessions, and Gen. Michael Flynn were seeking out Russians at every cocktail party, every event, and in every downtown DC crosswalk.
- There may have been a conspiracy to grant Russians special privileges and access in return for allowing a Trump Tower to be built, but Friday's filings don't appear to me to have made that case.
- On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the definition of bona fides, to USA Today's analysis of Friday's Mueller and SDNY filings, to the NY Times' discussion of Nixon's being name an "unindicted co-conspirator," and to the SDNY's web page.
The Mullfoto is of the airplane we were on coming back from Thanksgiving.
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