The following essay is from long time conservative and republican writer, John Ziegler, who had a lot to say about the Cult 45 crowd.
Whenever there is a new “bombshell” in the Russia probe, it is always important to remember that, unless Trump’s base of political support starts to leave him, none of it really matters, except to those who are heading to prison. This goes for last week’s big news regarding President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleading guilty to having lied to Congress about the details of his boss’s dream of finally building a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The non-“state-run” news media immediately understood the potential significance of this development and acted accordingly. However, Trump’s core backers (“Cult 45” has I have referred to them for the past two years) have no clue why this news is even remotely important, and see it as yet another sign that their fearless leader has been right to refer to the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt.”
Obviously there are those in the cult who would not care, or would not believe their own eyes and ears, if Trump announced live on national television that he indeed colluded with Russia because they have compromising information on him, and lied about it all along. Most of “Cult 45” likes to at least pretend, however, that there are solid reasons for their 100% support of Trump on virtually every possible topic, and they honestly seem to think that the Cohen news is another big nothing-burger, which is being overhyped by the “Fake News!” media.
Intellectually, the biggest disconnect is that Trump’s biggest supporters look at every new piece of information in a vacuum (we already knew that Trump wanted to build Trump Tower Moscow, so who cares?!), while more seasoned and objective observers see the case Mueller is building as pieces in a large puzzle starting to take form. To change the metaphor slightly, Trump supporters have their faces up too close to a giant mural and they cannot, or will not, see the bigger picture.
Trump, or course, understands this reality and is an absolute master at exploiting it. His defense against Cohen’s claims appear to be scattershot and inherently contradictory (Cohen is totally lying, but what he said also perfectly matches what I told Mueller), but in actuality he is simply providing his backers a buffet table of options from which to choose their preferred alibi.
One of the keys to Trump’s manipulative mastery is that, no matter what the new revelation is, he treats it as if it is not really new (even when it absolutely is). And claims that it not only isn’t a bad thing, but that what he did was actually was quite good. Obviously it helps greatly when your side is not remotely restricted by the truth because you have already established the expectation that lying is perfectly acceptable, and even expected.
So while I am well aware that it will fall on deaf ears, I still feel compelled to explain why the latest Cohen news, in a rational world, is indeed quite important. Interestingly, this case can be easily made even if there was no actual campaign “collusion” with Russia.
There are at least two key elements of Cohen’s plea that are unequivocally bad for Trump and that appear to have no logical or suitable explanation. The first is that Cohen lied, with at least Trump’s knowledge, about the timing of the prospective property deal with Russia, and the second is how the new timeline changes the perception of other events we already know about.
Contrary to what Trump has tried to pretend, the idea that he was still trying to do a major business deal, which may have included a direct and illegal bribe to Vladimir Putin, while he was the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, is both very new and, at best, extremely inappropriate. Had this been known during the primary campaign — when Trump was inaccurately claiming to have no deals in Russia — it could have easily prevented him from being the nominee (there is no greater proof of the neutering of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio than that neither of them have raised a stink about this outrageous new information which, if it had not been hidden, could have made them the 2016 GOP nominee).
Of course, the big question here, as it has been throughout the Mueller probe, is why lie about this, under oath, after Trump has already won the presidency? Yes, it would have been an embarrassing disclosure, but by Trump standards, as the total lack of GOP reaction to it proves, it would have been no big deal.
Quite simply, why all the lying by so many people extremely close to Trump, in a manner which risks their personal liberty? This just doesn’t happen in the real world, unless of course there is something important to be hidden.
Then there is the issue of how old information is now seen very differently through the lens of new data, which is clearly a blind spot in the way the minds of most people work these days.
First, there are the pro-Russia changes to the GOP platform at the convention that took place just after the last known contact between Cohen and the Russian government regarding the Moscow project. We now know that, at best, Trump was using the GOP platform as a way of currying favor with the Russian government, presumably (Trump basically said this himself last week) so that he could do business with them after what he assumed would be a loss in November of that year.
Then there is what the new timing of the never-completed Moscow deal does to the perception of the infamous meeting at Trump Tower in New York, which took place when the proposal was still very much on the table. We always knew that President Trump claiming to not be fully in the loop on such a potentially juicy gathering with representatives of Russia was an absurd concept, but know we know that it is simply impossible and that, because Trump has submitted his written answers to Mueller, very likely perjury.
Even if Trump was not famously a control freak, the idea that his son, son-in-law, and his campaign chairman would meet important Russians in his own building (where he himself was apparently that day) while his dream project with Russia was still very much in play, and him not be 100% informed of every detail, is completely ludicrous. Why Trump is lying about this is still unknown, but not long ago Republicans strongly believed that a president should be impeached for acts of perjury far less momentous than that one. [Source]
Never let it be said that I don’t feature writings from a republican point of view.
The 2020 election for president should be interesting.