Thursday, February 28, 2019

Consider This – Congressional Investigations and the Art of the Deal

This was a week of wagging the dog. At least two major political issues took over much of the news – the visit of Trump to Vietnam where he met with Kim Jong Un of North Korea with the intent to continue talks of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the testimony of Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen in front of the House Oversight Committee. Other items which had slightly less notice include the passing of a new firearms statute which closes loopholes regarding clearances prior to purchase and ownership of guns.

But the two biggest news items being the failure to make a deal with North Korea and the arguable success (or failure) of the testimony of a convicted liar. We can thank the major media outlets for this – news judgement comes from the different networks through discussion and decision by executive producers, news directors, and assignment editors, and it is these people who decide what the American people need to know today.

Even those of us writing a simple blog for commentary and opinion will write what we want, and pray that you, the reader, agree with our topic of choice… but I digress.

This is about the art of the (no) deal, and the veracity of a testimony.

Today we find Trump on his way back to the Whitehouse without any agreement – in fact, he is farther from any deal now than he purported to be after his first meeting last year with Kim Jong Un. There will be no stand-down or dismantling of the North Korean nuclear weapons program. And even the simplest of questions regarding the late Otto Warmbier’s treatment after his extended detention by North Korea. Warmbier had been touring that country and was convicted of theft in 2016, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, then sent to the North Korean labor camps. For over a year, he had no contact with the outside world; if it weren’t for  U.S. State Department efforts to have him released and sent back to the states, he might have died over there. As it was, he came home in a coma and never recovered, passing away in 2017.

But Trump believes the claims of Kim Jong Un, that he had no knowledge of this issue or the treatment of an American citizen in his country’s prisons.

Meanwhile, back at the capitol, Trump’s former “yes man” Michael Cohen was coming clean before the representatives of the House Oversight Committee. Cohen spent a decade working as one of Trump’s attorneys, first as a private sector, real estate and contract lawyer, and then as Trump’s “fixer” during the campaign for President. Cohen admitted to being tasked with the verbal strong-arm tactics to keep potentially harmful information being leaked to the public – whether it was college transcripts and test scores or tell-all stories from one of Trump’s (alleged) many mistresses. Cohen was instrumental in the $130,000 payout to Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) to prevent her story from being released prior to the 2016 election. During the public hearings on Wednesday, Cohen produced evidence of Trump’s involvement, including a copy of one of the checks Trump personally wrote to Cohen to reimburse the money paid out from Cohen’s personal accounts.

While the Democratic party as a whole might have an agenda to get back at Trump for costing their precious Hillary the election, this was not made obvious in the questioning during the broadcasted hearing. For the Republicans on the committee, however, they only attempted to undermine Cohen as a viable witness, and the underlying tone of their agenda was less in defending Trump (no one came out and openly spoke on behalf of him), and more an attempt to discredit Cohen’s veracity. Those who still support Trump consider this hearing just another extension of what Trump continues to call a witch hunt, and a failure by the Justice Department and the House Oversight Committee.

Consider This:

Cohen has nothing to lose by his testimony. He was already proven to have lied, this is true, and he is now disbarred and convicted of crimes for which he will spend a number of years behind bars to atone. However, by admitting the truth of his participation in the various questionable activities of the Trump family and Donald Trump himself, he can be remembered for coming forward when everyone else would not. His testimony provides much “food for thought” for The People, as well as potential evidence and other details which could bring further scrutiny into the Trump’s business dealings before and after “the Donald” took over the Oval Office. The questioning about various actions by Cohen on behalf of Trump, as well as those activities which Cohen witnessed Trump doing, goes a long way to establish the pattern of his behavior, and speaks to the integrity of Trump in all of his dealings in and out of the presidency.

Trump’s failed negotiations (even though he calls himself the “Great Negotiator”) tied with the admission by Cohen to the many shady business deals completed on behalf of Trump, speaks volumes to the lack of character, veracity, and qualification as a respected and respectable leader and international representative of The People and Our country. While this hearing is only the beginning, it should make people truly think about what is going on, and question everything themselves.

It is time for The People to act and take back this nation from the big business, corporate moguls. To truly make America great again, the People must be represented in a responsible manner by those elected to represent us, at ALL levels of the government – legislative and executive branches.

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