Who knew the 2016 Election would result in a remake of Jaws?
It’s that time of the month again folks! In the endless cesspool of controversy and scandals surrounding the administration of President Donald Trump it can be hard to recognize the fact that in any other presidency, these scandals would be career ending. Personally, I completely understand if one chooses to tune out all of the controversy, and “check out” from the news cycle, so to speak; there’s only so many times you can say “this will be the end of Trump’s career” before you yourself start to question if the President will ever truly suffer the consequences of his action. In addition, there are very little historical examples as to Trump’s behavior; this is completely uncharted territory, and it is easy to become fatigued. Despite this, I feel as if it is our duty to follow these stories with diligence, as if we forget about the controversy, that is inadvertently letting Trump off the hook for behavior that in any other situation would be considered despicable.
With all that being said, the controversy surrounding the adult video star Stormy Daniels could very well be Trump’s Monika Lewinsky scandal, and while we could argue until we’re blue in the face as to whether or not having former sexual relations with Daniels impedes President Trump’s ability to lead this country; much like the Clinton Administration, the sex scandal is more indicative of President Trumps moral fiber (or lack thereof), and his willingness to lie about anything and everything. In the words of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, at times it appears that Trump is “in complete denial about every aspect of his life.” While Trump vehemently denies having any sexual relations with Ms. Daniels, or even knowing who Daniels is, it is apparent that the FBI and The DOJ think differently, as just this week, the office and home of Trump’s longtime lawyer and confidant Michael Cohen was raided. In the process, thousands of documents and recordings were seized by law enforcement which could shed light onto just how much Trump truly knows about the situation.
While the Justice department has been sparse with details as to what exactly the raids were for, the US Attorney for New York has announced that Mr. Cohen was currently under criminal investigation for a litany of charges including but not limited to: bank fraud, wire fraud, and unreported finances tied to Trump’s presidential campaign. In addition, the Feds have also seized recordings between Cohen and the former lawyer of Stormy Daniels. While these recordings do not confirm that Trump had an affair with Daniels, or that Cohen brokered a hush deal with the porn actress, it does confirm that Trump had some interaction with the woman in question. In the legal world, audio recordings can be a touchy subject, especially if one of the two parties had not consented to being recorded. Nevertheless, if recordings exist between Cohen and Daniels former lawyer, a man named Keith Davidson which could shed light onto their relationship, said recordings could be a goldmine for prosecutors. While discussing the recordings, a CNN legal analyst stated “If all that stuff gets recorded, then they are in deep hurt because if it was just oral between them, it could be a conspiracy of liars, but the tapes undermine that.” With these recordings in hand, the Stormy Daniels story shifts from an alleged tacit verbal agreement into a concrete example of Trump and his associates using intimidation tactics to suppress information about the President.
So, what can we as casual observers take away from this story? And how does it fit into the larger narrative of the Trump Administration? For starters, it shows that law enforcement smells blood in the water, not only regarding Trump himself, but also his close-knit band of associates. Documents such as these confirm a narrative that many analysts and pundits have picked up on since day one of Trumps presidential journey, the narrative that in almost all cases, Trump chooses his associates not on skill, competency, or even political views. Instead, Trump values loyalty to him above all else, and installs associates based on whether they are willing to protect him from the prying eyes of the media and the law. Cronyism? Yes of course, but surprising? Not at all. This obsession with loyalty sheds light onto why so many of his associates are willing to take the brunt of media and legal criticism, or even become criminals themselves. All of these behaviors go towards protecting Trump, either from the outside world, or perhaps even Trump himself. The question then is why? What do these associates have to gain from constantly being embroiled in controversy? As more and more associates jump ship from the Trump administration, it appears that some are asking that question themselves, and only time will tell if this house of cards begins to collapse.