Saturday, September 8, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He admitted defeat to Stormy Daniels.

In court papers filed today, Trump promised not to attempt to enforce his nondisclosure agreement against Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who says she had sex with him shortly after the birth of his youngest son to his current wife. Trump had his "fixer" Michael Cohen use a shell company to pay Daniels $130,000 for her silence in the weeks before the 2016 election. The fact that both Cohen and Trump's businesses were illegally involved in funneling that money to Daniels means that Trump was part of a criminal conspiracy--as Cohen testified under oath when he pleaded guilty to related charges last month.

By giving Daniels what she wants--free rein to tell her story--Trump has apparently decided that the sordid details are less dangerous to him than undergoing a routine pre-trial deposition would be. Depositions are taken under oath. That means that Trump, who Cohen recorded directing the illegal shuffling of money, would have to choose between perjuring himself or invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. 

Trump is on record as saying that only guilty people plead the Fifth, but his friends and legal team seem absolutely convinced that he would be unable to tell the truth under oath--and have repeatedly said so in public.

So what?

  • It's bad if porn actors can successfully blackmail the president.
  • Presidents who don't commit crimes in the process of trying to get elected are less vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.
  • A president who is afraid of having to tell the truth under oath is unfit for the job.