THE COHEN COLUMN--When Trump told America that his tax returns were perpetually under audit as an excuse not to let us see them, unlike every other modern presidential candidate, we easily presumed he was lying about that, just like he lies about everything else.
Yeah, well the serial liar in chief is sure under audit now. As we now learn, Special Counsel Mueller has engaged the elite criminal investigation unit at the IRS, the top indictment evidence finders in the justice system, to start turning over rocks.
We already knew that Trump has been a lifelong, recidivist tax cheat. He keeps two sets of books on everything, one to inflate his net worth for bragging purposes, the other grossly undervalued to evade his taxes. Article in RedState, a conservative news site. The chance that Mueller will not be handed an open and shut case of massive tax fraud is exactly 0.00 %
And that's before we even get to the hot and cold running money laundering Trump's been involved in with Russians for decades, including the biggest organized crime figures there, with new stories about that breaking almost daily.
We told you when he started smearing James Comey, a move his own attorneys actually unwisely recently renewed in memos to Mueller, that it would give the FBI every motivation to, and please again forgive the mild vulgarity, have a hard on for him. Since then, Trump has extended his insults and smears to Mueller and his whole team of top professionals, calling them "bad people." They will in their righteous indignation thump Trump. Count on it.
We also told you long ago that anyone who got in bed with "this goat of man" would never be able to get his smell off of them. But it's now worse than that.
It is unlikely, for example, that Paul Manafort's own financial crimes would ever have grabbed the attention of a serious federal prosecutor. Now, Mueller has strong incentive to turn over every one of Manafort's rocks to use as leverage to get him to truthfully testify about Trump himself.
Even beyond that, there is likely hardly a person in the White House now who does not have criminal liability in the obstruction of justice related to the firing of Comey.
Stephen Miller, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were all involved in the initial draft of a letter to fire Comey, which Mueller already has and which made it clear that the sole intent was to stop the Russia investigation.
EVERYBODY knew about this letter, and the true intent of the firing, including VP Pence, including Assistant US Attorney Rosenstein, including all the PR people. More or less that makes them ALL part of a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice, as they went along with what turned out to be a short-lived cover up, misleading public statements of their own and everything.
On top of which, there aren't enough pardons in the world for Trump to grant that could derail this train of judgment. In particular because for his financial crimes in New York, where Trump can grant no pardon, he and Manafort are also subject to New York STATE prosecution by its NY Attorney General Schneiderman, who has already proven he can nail Trump, once in his fraud university case and in other areas of Trumpworld.
So, yes, they are going to flip Manafort. Plus, we now know that Felix Sater, one of Trump's main point men for Russian money laundering, is already cooperating and was just quoted saying that he believes both he and Trump are going to prison. Before long, virtually the entire White House staff will be lining up to be cooperating witnesses, if they can, to save their own skins.
This is now waaay beyond a little "innocent" collusion with the Russians, over babies. Remember that statement by the Trumps that a Ruskie meeting was all about adoptions? Though we can't preclude there was more there as well.
But at least Trump can count on his Republican friends in Congress, at least the ones he has not insulted, to protect him from impeachment. Oh, but wait; he's insulted ALL of them. He's made enemies of ALL of them. They are just waiting for the Muller’s indictments to fall like rain drops on their heads and Trump's poll numbers to plummet ever further before they run for the hills.
You're going to be hearing the words, "I never did like the guy," … a lot.
Trump has been fined many times before. Trump has had legal troubles many times before. But now the entire US justice system is going to come down on Trump like the rubble of a demolished skyscraper. And just like Manafort, Trump is going to be prosecuted for things that he never would have been otherwise held accountable for in the usual course of the rich getting away with just about everything.
All because Trump got in bed with himself: the most offensive lying loud mouth to ever sully the highest office in the land.
I salute the many loyal and honorable Americans that are participating personally and meaningfully in the take down of Trump and with him the many, but not all, Republicans that still play ball with him.
Remember the answer is always VOTE.
(Michael N. Cohen is a former board member of the Reseda Neighborhood Council, founding member of the LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee, founding member of LA Clean Sweep and a contributor to CityWatch.)