It never fails to amaze me that Bret Stephens is considered a conservative who reveres the U.S. Constitution when he is so openly blind to the machinations of Hillary Clinton and is the embodiment of the never-Trump movement. '
The single most important thing that Bret Stephens does not understand is that the impeachment of a president is reserved for actions that a sitting president has taken while in office and acting as the President of the United States -- not what occurred before he was in office nor what he says or does while campaigning.
Second, if using a non-disclosure agreement is a criminal matter under the FEC (Federal Election Committee rules, why are the legislators in Congress who used taxpayer funds and NDAs to cover-up sexual abuse not prosecuted for campaign violations made in their name? Definitely these payments of so-called "hush money" influenced their individual campaigns.
Third, the President will find it difficult to defend himself against these false and scurrilous allegations because the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, will never take these matters into court because his entire appointment and prosecution is illegitimate under the Constitution and there was no criminal predicate to turn a counterintelligence investigation into a criminal investigation. And the last thing they want to do is to explain to the court how opposition research became the raison d'être for spying on Americans and political campaigns. So we are left with indefensible allegations from a partisan advocate that will be contained in a report to be leaked to Congress and the media.
Opinion – by Bret Stephens, New York Time Opinion Columnist – August 22, 2018
Donald Trump’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors
For all of my opposition to Donald Trump, I have long been skeptical of the political wisdom or evidentiary basis of efforts to impeach him.
At least that was my view until this week. Michael Cohen’s guilty plea changes this. The Constitution’s standard for impeachment is “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The standard is now met.
Trump’s longtime fixer acknowledged in court on Tuesday that he violated campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” That means Trump. That means that, as a candidate, Trump is credibly alleged to have purposefully conspired with Cohen to commit criminal acts. That means the duo did so “for purposes of influencing [an] election for Federal office,” which is the legal definition of a campaign contribution.
It also means that, as president, Trump allegedly sought to conceal the arrangement by failing to note in his 2017 financial disclosure forms his reimbursements to Cohen. The president most likely continues to lie to the American people about the nature and purpose of those payments.
The Trumpian rebuttal to these charges is that Cohen is a sleazy lawyer and proven liar. And that the most prominent attempt to prosecute a political figure for violating campaign-finance laws — involving former Democratic senator and 2004 vice-presidential candidate John Edwards — failed in court. And that campaign-finance violations don’t rise to the level of impeachable offenses, anyway.
But if Cohen’s lies as Trump’s lawyer are one thing, lying under oath to a federal judge is quite another. Cohen’s sentencing isn’t until December when he’s expected to be sent to prison for up to five years. If he's untruthful, that leaves plenty of time for any deceits to come to light. Ask yourself: Does he look like a guy eager to have his sentence doubled?
To suggest that this doesn’t amount to a felonious act also doesn’t pass the smell test. The president is now, in effect, an unindicted co-conspirator on charges already prosecuted by the government as a criminal matter against Cohen. Why should a lighter standard apply to Trump, since he’s the one at whose direction Cohen claims to have carried out the payments?
If breaking the law (by lying under oath) to conceal an affair was impeachable, why is breaking the law (by violating campaign-finance laws) to conceal an affair not impeachable?
If “cheating the electoral system” (by means of a burglary) was impeachable, why is cheating the electoral system (by means of illicit hush money) not impeachable?
If cheating “our institutions” (by means of an “assault” in “every way” on the legal system) is impeachable, why is cheating those institutions (by means of nonstop presidential mendacity and relentless attacks on the Justice Department and the F.B.I.) not impeachable?
Pragmatists will rejoin that there’s no sense in advocating impeachment when the G.O.P. controls Congress. I’m sorry that so many congressional Republicans have lost their sense of moral principle and institutional self-respect, but that’s a reason to seek Democratic victories in the fall. The Constitution matters more than a tax cut. What the Constitution demands is the impeachment and removal from office of this lawless president.
Bret L. Stephens joined The Times as an Op-Ed columnist in 2017 after a long career with The Wall Street Journal, where he was deputy editorial page editor and a foreign affairs columnist. Before that he was the editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.
Bottom line …
Bret Stephens is described by members of the media as a conservative writer at the New York Times. After reading some of his work, I wonder if he was ever a conservative and now simply an ordinary communist-like writer working in the New York equivalent of Pravda?
The Trump matter has been the biggest lie told in the history of our nation. It rises to the level of a constitutional crisis and should the progressive socialist democrats regain control over the House and/or the Senate, the beginning of the end of America as we know it.
Every place you look, the democrats wreak havoc and destruction. They fear a president who cannot be shamed by the media and speaks his mind. They fear that the power they have inserted into the bureaucracy will be challenged as the President shrinks government and cuts back regulations which criminalize almost every aspect of human life.
We are so screwed. Remember this when you vote. The Constitution and your life are on the line.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius