For decades, Republicans, and especially conservative Republicans, insisted that character counted in public life. They were particularly vocal about this during the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, arguing against “compartmentalization” — by which they meant overlooking moral turpitude in the Oval Office because you agree with the president’s policy agenda or because the economy is strong.This is so lame that I question the sanity of those with Trump derangement syndrome.
Senator Lindsey Graham, then in the House, went so far as to argue that “impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
All that has changed with Mr. Trump as president. For Republicans, honor and integrity are now passé. We saw it again last week when the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen — standing in court before a judge, under oath — implicated Mr. Trump in criminal activity, while his former campaign chairman was convicted in another courtroom on financial fraud charges. Most Republicans in Congress were either silent or came to Mr. Trump’s defense, which is how this tiresome drama now plays itself out.
It is a stunning turnabout. A party that once spoke with urgency and apparent conviction about the importance of ethical leadership — fidelity, honesty, honor, decency, good manners, setting a good example — has hitched its wagon to the most thoroughly and comprehensively corrupt individual who has ever been elected president. Some of the men who have been elected president have been unscrupulous in certain areas — infidelity, lying, dirty tricks, financial misdeeds — but we’ve never before had the full-spectrum corruption we see in the life of Donald Trump.
He doesn't even have any argument about corruption in office. His main snipe at Trump is the Cohen plea deal.
Cohen says that Trump authorized paying off an extortionist during the campaign. There is nothing illegal or immoral about that. The problem, according to his accusers, depends on a little mindreading. If the payoff was for his personal benefit and he used campaign funds, then that would have been a campaign law violation. If the payoff was for campaign benefit and he used personal funds, then those funds should have been reported a campaign contribution to himself, in order to be legal. If the payoff was 70% for the campaign and 30% for himself, then the 70% should have been reported as such. If the report said 70% and it was really 80% based on inferences about his state of mind, then his accusers would say that he committed a crime.
The same problem occurs if Trump bought a fancy suit of clothes. Failure to properly allocate his personal and campaign use or benefit could lead to an accusation of a campaign finance crime.
Trump is considered particularly vulnerable to this sort of accusation because he is unusually open and honest as a public figure. He freely comments on his thinking and wishes, while the lawyerly politicians like Obama and the Clinton speak only in measured and lawyer-approved equivocations.
Is this really the best the Trump-haters have to offer as an impeachment argument? It is pitiful.
Trump is restoring honor and integrity to the White House.
In my opinion, pardoning Manafort is the honorable thing to do. I expect Trump to do it after the legal case is settled. Manafort was only prosecuted because Mueller could not get evidence against Trump, and it would be wrong to let a man go to prison for that.