Sohn: The depressing saga of 'Individual-1'

Sohn: The depressing saga of 'Individual-1'

December 11th, 2018 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

President Donald Trump talks to media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, before attending the Army-Navy Football Game. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Photo by Carolyn Kaster

We can be forgiven for being depressed. The sky is gray, the rain is cold and there is absolutely no redeeming news out of Washington these days.

In fact, it becomes clearer each day that our president — otherwise now known as "Individual-1," is a con man.

And a low-IQ con man, at that, given his apparent consistent ignorance of the law, the Constitution, and the basic rules of democracy and politics.

More depressing still, it becomes clearer daily that most Republicans don't care and will seek any way possible to shield their heads from the mud Donald Trump slings, even pretending not to see the deepening quicksand all around them in the swamp they call D.C.

Just last week, we learned of new court filings that detail previously unreported contacts between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign. The Russians were offering the campaign "synergy on a government level." That would be legal speak for Russian collusion.

The filings also directly implicate the president — "Individual-1" — in plans to buy the silence of women he had affairs with so that he could be elected. And, according to the filings, he bought that silence illegally on the dimes of campaign donors. recently reprinted a Salon article on those revelations topped with this headline and lead-in:

"Here's why Donald Trump could easily go down in history as a worse traitor than Benedict Arnold. The Trump-Russia scandal will likely end up being in many respects a bribery and money laundering and possibly even RICO scandal, with features of conspiracy to commit election fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States."

But Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for one, isn't buying it. He told NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he didn't see anything illegal about Trump's efforts to build a hotel in Moscow deep into the 2016 campaign — so long as Trump didn't promise anything in exchange for it.

Of course, Trump business associate Felix Sater told BuzzFeed News that the penthouse of that Moscow hotel (which he and Trump fix-it attorney Michael Cohen worked to make happen long into June of 2016 despite Trump saying the development was canned in January) was to be a gift to Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Paul also played down the alleged campaign finance violations that paid off Trump's girlfriends. Paul argued that such missteps should not be "over-criminalized."

"I personally think that if someone makes an error in filing paperwork or not categorizing, it shouldn't be jail time, it ought to be a fine." He added that if campaign finance violations are aggressively prosecuted, "we're going to become a banana republic, where every president gets prosecuted and every president gets thrown in jail when they're done with office."

This kind of alternative logic gives added nuance to the alternative facts to which we've become conditioned.

Thus, it's understandable why we're in the winter of our discontent and Trump slump.

After all, we've already endured the ripping of migrant children from their mothers' arms and the construction of tent cities to house those children in cages. We've sent 5,000 or 6,000 troops to the Southern border to string up some barbed wire for the wall that Mexico is never going to pay for.

We numbly watch as the blow-hard-1 criminalizes blacks and migrants, but remains friendly with the Saudi crown prince, who even members of Congress now believe ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And why not? Trump claims the Saudis assured him that the journalist was an "enemy of the state" and "member of the Muslim Brotherhood." If true (it's not) that should be reason enough for murder, right?

We've been struck dumb by his undoing of practically every climate change and clean environment rule ever enacted. Climate change, like Russian collusion, is a hoax, Trump constantly parrots.

And, who knows — maybe we're so desensitized that we won't notice if Trump pardons all of the three dozen or so people already charged in the Russian probe — even the five former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty.

Yep. We've got the Trump slump.

Some call it Trump anxiety disorder.

Politico wrote about it in October.

"Trump May Not Be Crazy, But the Rest of Us Are Getting There Fast," the article is headlined. It reports that counselors say Trump and his "convulsive effect" on America's national conversation are giving politics a prominence on the psychologist's couch not seen since the months after 9/11.

Let's buck up.

The House will flip to Democratic leadership in early January. And the more Trump tweets "WITCH HUNT!" — a near daily occurrence now — the dizzier GOP members will grow from their exhausting duck-and-run dance. Eventually, they'll fold up.

The sun will rise again.

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