A perversion of a democratic election

The narrative is becoming clearer.

In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him. At the same time, in this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law.

The prosecutors made clear in a sentencing memo filed on Friday that they viewed efforts by Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to squelch the stories as nothing less than a perversion of a democratic election — and by extension they effectively accused the president of defrauding voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.

The Republicans are trying to paint it as a nothingburger, and to convince us that Trump didn’t know it was illegal.

But if Trump didn’t know it was illegal…what was his understanding of why Cohen kept the hush money a secret? To put it another way, did Cohen pretend to Trump that it was all legal and aboveboard? If so, why? Why would he put himself in jeopardy to keep Trump out of it?

The exposure on campaign finance laws poses a challenge to Mr. Trump’s legal team, which before now has focused mainly on rebutting allegations of collusion and obstruction while trying to call into question Mr. Mueller’s credibility.

“Until now, you had two different charges, allegations, whatever you want to call them,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on Saturday. “One was collusion with the Russians. One was obstruction of justice and all that entails. And now you have a third — that the president was at the center of a massive fraud against the American people.”

And not just any old fraud but one that put him in all his corruption and incompetence in the White House. The fraud in question gave him the power to destroy the planet.

(Not for the first time, I feel the need to point out that a country that has weapons that can destroy the planet should have much better filters to keep corrupt egomaniacs from having the sole power to launch them.)

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