by WorldTribune Staff, August 24, 2018
“Would a Democratic House, assuming we get one, really impeach a president for paying hush money to old girlfriends?” columnist Pat Buchanan asked.
“Paying girlfriends to keep past indiscretions private is neither a crime nor a campaign violation,” Buchanan wrote on Aug. 23, adding that Donald Trump “could legally contribute as much as he wished to his own campaign for president.”
“Hence the high-fives among never-Trumpers are premature.”
But if Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and the conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort do not imperil the president today, “what they portend is ominous,” Buchanan wrote.
Cohen “handled Trump’s dealings for more than a decade and has pledged full cooperation with prosecutors from both the Southern District of New York and the Robert Mueller investigation.”
Trump said, ruefully: “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen.”
Buchanan wrote: “Michael Cohen is no Roy Cohn.”
As for the Mueller probe, Buchanan pointed out that President Richard Nixon resigned 26 months after the Watergate break-in. Now, 26 months after the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails, “Mueller has yet to deliver hard evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Putin’s Russia, though this was his mandate.”
Buchanan continued: “Mueller may not have the power to haul the president before a grand jury or indict him. After all, it is Parliament that deposes and beheads the king, not the sheriff of Nottingham. But Mueller will file a report with the Department of Justice that will be sent to the House.
“And as this Congress has only weeks left before the 2018 elections, it will be the new House that meets in January, which may well be Democratic, that will receive Mueller’s report.”
Still, Buchanan wrote, “as of now, it is hard to see how two-thirds of a new Senate would convict this president of high crimes and misdemeanors.
“Thus we are in for a hellish year.”
Trump will not resign, Buchanan said as “to do so would open him up to grand jury subpoenas, federal charges and civil suits for the rest of his life. To resign would be to give up his sword and shield, and all of his immunity. He would be crazy to leave himself naked to his enemies.”
Trump also has the power of the office at his disposal “in his fight for survival,” Buchanan noted. “And as he has shown, these powers are considerable: the power to rally his emotional following, to challenge courts, to fire Justice officials and FBI executives, to pull security clearances, to pardon the convicted.”
Democratic Party leaders insist that they are not thinking impeachment. “Democrats have been laboring for two years to win back the House,” Buchanan wrote. “But if they discover that the first duty demanded of them, by their own rabid followers, is to impeach President Trump, they may wonder why they were so eager to win it.”