Paul Manafort's conviction and Michael Cohen's plea bargain last week are being spun by the media as bad news for Trump and possible grounds for impeachment. The narrative goes that they somehow prove that the president was involved in their acts of wrongdoing, which could in theory lead to a Democrat-controlled Congress initiating the process to remove him from office if they win the midterms. Robert Mueller's Russiagate investigation is more irrelevant than ever at this point because the current story has nothing to do with a foreign country or allegations of so-called meddling even though the two perpetrators were ultimately caught up in its net and had their crimes brought to light by it.
About that, Trump's media surrogates made a valid point that Manafort's crimes were committed years before he even joined the presidential election campaign, while the ones that Cohen struck a deal for aren't even crimes at all, they say. Rather, they allege that Trump's enemies in the government are manipulating the optics of these cases in order to sow doubts about his future leadership ahead of the November midterm elections, which when coupled with one-sided Mainstream Media coverage of this issue, might be enough to narrowly tip the scales to the Democrats' favor. It's pretty unlikely that Trump would ever be impeached on these premises, but the fantasy of this happening could galvanize some voters.
The larger question that the anti-Trump forces don't want to talk about is how the "Russian collusion" narrative has all but disappeared after Mueller spent more than a year frantically trying to uncover at least some degree of evidence proving this conspiracy. He's been totally unsuccessful in this regard, but the convenient distractions of Manafort's conviction and Cohen's plea bargain are taking some Americans' minds off that matter. Nevertheless, it's also very revealing because it shows that many of the president's opponents are against him in principle, not because there's any proof that he's a foreign puppet. Should more voters realize this, then there's a chance that the Democrats' Russiagate gambit might ultimately backfire on them come November.
Andrew B. Raupp, Founder @stemdotorg and a Forbes Technology Council contributor, and Matthew Farag, Chicago-based political commentator, join the show.
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