The seriousness of the accusations against Donald Trump about the strategy he used to win the White House grows daily in light of the criminal nature of the facts and their relevance in the schemes of those that reveal this information. Meanwhile, instead of providing the explanations that people feel they are owed, Trump continues to respond to the facts with cheap jokes through social media, greatly diminishing the prestige of the U.S. presidency.
The future testimony of Michael Cohen, the man that used to be the New York businessman’s lawyer and had Trump’s absolute trust, is going to be particularly important. He showed up at the FBI offices on Tuesday in New York to plead guilty to the illegal financing of the Trump campaign, stating he acted under the candidate’s orders.*
It must be highlighted that Cohen is not just another in Trump’s circle of friends or someone uninvolved in the legal world. He has been Trump’s personal lawyer for a long time and was considered the person most loyal to the businessman outside Trump’s family. Cohen is perfectly aware of the federal crime to which he has pleaded and of the fact that he has implicated the president, someone whom until recently, Cohen said he would be willing to “take a bullet” for.
The allegations represent an important qualitative leap from a legal point of view. It is no longer just a political scandal because of the fact that Trump, as a candidate, ordered the payment of $230,000 to two women so they would not talk about their affairs with the businessman. What Cohen has revealed now is that he used false invoices to pay the bribes, which he passed off as campaign expenses. In other words, the same politician that constantly accuses those that oppose his positions of being dishonest had no qualms falsifying official accounts and diverting money in order to cover up a personal scandal that could harm his political ambitions.
As if this didn’t batter the prestige of the U.S. president enough, at the same time Cohen was implicating the president in court, a jury convicted his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, on eight counts of fraud. It is true that these crimes are not linked to the president, but they provide a significant example of the level of swampiness of some of the people the president trusted with legal advice and money. The investigation of Manafort, who was indicted on 18 counts by the special counsel, grew out of the framework of a Russian plot to influence the presidential election that Trump won, a matter in which there have been no satisfactory explanations.
On the basis of the facts being investigated, it has not been ruled out that Trump will be called to testify in court. But that doesn’t take into account the outbursts and confrontations the president has provoked and those that have recurred both domestically and in U.S. foreign relations. The facts show that the man that arrived at the White House under the banner of “America First,” in reality, placed himself above everyone else.
*Editor’s note: Cohen appeared before a judge in federal court, not the FBI offices, to plead guilty.