Political Focus: Corruption probes find Cohen and Manafort in deep water

Ben Hume, Staff Reporter

Corruption charges have been few and far between ever since President Donald Trump came under fire early in his candidacy, with occasional news on associates connected loosely to Trump popping up every once in a blue moon. So the bombshells landing on Tuesday, Aug. 21 have been causing real concern for the future of his presidency.

Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort were both either found guilty or pleaded guilty to a variety of different charges leveled against them, some of which may show signs of corruption leading directly back to the president himself. Let’s catch you up to speed on how this giant mess of an investigation is going, and where these new guilty charges might lead us.

Besides Cohen and Manafort, you may have heard of Michael Flynn’s charges of lying to FBI investigators. His status is currently working with investigators, but he will most likely be sentenced after he is finished cooperating. Flynn’s case is, seemingly, closed. George Papadopoulos was also charged with lying to the same FBI investigators and pleaded guilty in October 2017, and prosecutors are currently seeking up to six months in jail.

Those are probably the most well-known cases so far, and neither of them has found any association to the sitting president. Cohen and Manafort are different.

The difference here is that Cohen’s plea includes a claim that he worked at the president’s direction when he paid hush money to Stormy Daniels, the porn star famously implicated with Trump’s actions prior to his presidency. It also shows that Robert Mueller’s investigation could find real evidence, even if Mueller doesn’t find anything related to collusion.

As NPR puts it, “when you start turning over rocks, you find worms.” And these guilty pleas go a long way to retaining public supportin the Trump era, hard evidence and big news stories are the best way to keep Mueller’s work in a positive light, especially with a grotesquely impressive 4,229 false claims in around a year and a half from the president. Truth is important, and the more news, the better.

There is, of course, still a large air of doubt about any real chance of criminal charges to be leveled against Trump, especially with the possibility of Brett Kavanaugh being nominated to the Supreme Court, who just so happens to not believe in charging standing presidents with crimes. How very convenient.

Even without the help of a sketchy nomination, finding enough evidence to convict, let alone impeach a president, is incredibly difficult. There’s a reason it has only come close a few times in the past. No matter how little public support Trump has, it takes a huge amount of evidence to get any standing president out of office. These guilty pleas are definitely a step in the right direction, but don’t start holding your breath.

Conclusion: it’s still complicated. With midterm elections acting as a soft due date for the Mueller probe, some are expecting more bombshells to remind politicians that there’s still more to be found. Nothing is confirmed yet, but keep your ears to the tracks and you might hear a freight train coming very, very soon.