I have a confession to make: I was recently accused of a crime.
I was driving Southbound on Rochester Road, which is Main Street in Rochester, Michigan, at around 4:20 PM. Rush Hour starts at around 4:00 PM, so traffic was moving slowly in both directions.
Rochester Road is also five lanes (two lanes on each side, with a left-hand turn lane), and there is a stop light at the top of a hill near the point where the supposed crime took place.
Once the light changed, I started down the hill. I noticed a school bus in the right-hand North-bound lane (traveling in the opposite direction from me), but paid no attention to it, as it’s lights were not flashing.
There was a semi in the left-hand Northbound lane, just in front of (and to the left of) the school bus. I lost sight of the bus once the semi came between my car and the bus, and continued along on my way. I turned left at the next light, off of Rochester Road, and was pulled over.
To make a long story short, driving past a school bus with it’s lights flashing is pretty significant for a traffic violation, carrying three points (as it should be – keeping our children safe is important), which is enough to increase the cost of car insurance. I pled down to a charge of speeding at 5-10 over the speed limit on a limited-access road, which carries one point. With one point on my record, my insurance rates will not go up. I considered that a win.
What does this have to do with Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, and impeachment, you ask? Simple. I was found guilty, by plea agreement, of speeding 5-10 MPH over the speed limit, on a limited-access road, and yet I was not speeding, and the road did not have limited-access. The traffic violation I pled to had nothing to do with the crime I was accused of.
Now imagine, just for a moment, that I was Michael Cohen. Let’s say that instead of driving past a school bus, I committed rampant tax fraud – not for my client (Donald Trump), but for myself personally. Finally, let’s say that under the circumstances, the prosecutor decided that rather than throwing me in jail for 12 years on tax fraud charges, he was going to offer me a plea bargain, where I would plead guilty to campaign finance violations, and get no jail time.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Now read this interesting article by Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, on all that is wrong with the Michael Cohen case.
Mr. Carlson misses the biggest point. In a plea deal, someone generally pleads down to a much smaller crime than they would otherwise have been convicted of – just as I pled down to a one-point speeding charge.
We will never know what actual crimes the special prosecutor threatened Michael Cohen with (I was guessing when I said it was tax fraud), but we do know that Cohen was offered a plea deal under which he pled guilty to campaign finance violations.
Cohen’s plea does not in any way imply that he is GUILTY of campaign finance violations – it only shows that he PLED to that crime, rather than to whatever more serious crime the special prosecutor threatened him with.
Now we get to the political part.
According to the courts, back when John Edwards paid off a mistress during a Presidential campaign, paying off a mistress was a personal matter that had nothing to do with his campaign.
Fast forward to today. Trump paying off mistresses does not constitute a campaign finance violation, and cannot be construed as one. What Trump did was personal in nature. No crime was committed.
But Michael Cohen pled to campaign finance violations, which sure makes it look like the non-disclosure payments violated campaign finance laws.
This is a great example of the old ‘Texas Two-Step’.. Michael Cohen was threatened with something that did not involve the President, but allowed to plea down to something that would certainly SEEM to involve the President, at least to those who do not know any better.
And just like that, Democrats have the political leverage to impeach the President on the grounds of a crime he did not commit.
It’s a shame Mr. Carlson missed that part. He wrote what was otherwise a good article.
For the rest of us, let’s keep our eyes on the football and not be distracted. Michael Cohen was not guilty of campaign finance violations. He pled down to that. And if Michael Cohen is not guilty of campaign finance violations, neither is the President.
Remember that when the Democrats vote to impeach. 2020 is not that far away…
As always, if you agree with this message, please share!
Update: A federal judge has sentenced Michael Cohen to three years, rather than the ‘no jail time’ Mueller recommended.