If ‘Terrible Tuesday’ is just another day, we’ve got problems



August 23, 2018 - 10:05 AM

Paul Manafort is escorted to his arraignment on a variety of financial crimes in State Supreme Court in New York on June 27, 2019. Photo by (Alec Tabak/New York Daily News/TNS)

As long as the U.S. economy is strong, conservatives will continue to bless Donald Trump. As if there were any question.
Tuesday, though, was a test.
That afternoon, two of President Trump’s closest advisers were found guilty in separate criminal trials. Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s longtime personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight felony accounts including paying hush money to two women in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, as well as admitting to tax fraud, multiple counts of tax evasion and bank fraud.
Within an hour, Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted of eight felony accounts including hiding more than $60 million in foreign banks to avoid paying taxes. Manafort made his millions by advising pro-Russian candidates in the Ukraine.
Tuesday evening, Mr. Trump said neither of the findings “involves me.”
He’s wrong. Payments intended to influence the outcome of a campaign must be recorded.
 And yet he survives, nay thrives, on the “fake news,” portraying himself the victim of “witch hunts.”
Which says more about us than him.
As Americans, will we accept the jury’s findings that Manafort was on the take with Russia to overthrow Ukraine’s fledgling democracy and in so doing accepted millions and millions of dollars, which he hid in foreign accounts?
As Americans, will we recognize the seriousness of Cohen’s confession to breaking campaign finance law by making illicit payments at the direction of Mr. Trump.
Or will we sum it all up by saying we knew we hadn’t elected a Boy Scout, and besides, the stock market is going great guns.
As if that’s all that truly matters.
Because we depend on our elected officials to lead — including setting a moral tone of outrage, forgiveness, hope or despair in times of crisis — we await their reaction to “Terrible Tuesday.”
If the economy continues to lead the news, then we’ll know which side of truth they have chosen to take.
— Susan Lynn


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