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Just like Nixon: How Trump’s sordid past is finally catching up to him

Nobody who has followed Donald Trump’s career, dating back many years before he entered politics, should be surprised by these events.

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“Lock her up!”

Roared at the Republican National Convention and every Donald Trump rally up to the present day, that ferocious chant now has a distinctly ironic ring. Several presidential henchmen who encouraged that ugly smear of Hillary Clinton — still innocent and still free — are on their way to prison. And there is reason to believe that they will not be the last of the president’s associates, possibly including his kin, to end up behind bars.

According to a jury of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s peers, Manafort is guilty on eight felony counts. Former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates copped a plea and testified against Manafort, but he’s going to jail, too. Michael Flynn, who advised the Trump campaign and then served very briefly as national security adviser in the White House, likewise pled guilty and will do time. (He led that nasty chant at the convention, a moment that will be replayed forever as his most memorable act.) And now Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and consigliere, has entered a plea agreement on eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance laws.

Nobody who has followed Donald Trump’s career, dating back many years before he entered politics, should be surprised by these events. Nor should anyone be surprised that Trump would express “regret” over the fall of Manafort for his many crimes against the United States. As Craig Unger explains in his new book, House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, the developer/casino magnate/reality TV star has cultivated connections with the underworld for decades. He built Trump Tower with illegal immigrant labor and concrete supplied by the Mafia — and gave an apartment there to the girlfriend of a mobbed-up Teamster boss. Millions of dollars have been poured into Trump properties from gangsters around the world in massive money-laundering operations.

He has always felt most comfortable with unsavory figures like Manafort, who should have been indicted and sent to prison for blatant influence peddling during the Housing and Urban Development scandal back in the Ronald Reagan era, and Cohen, who has long done business with crooks in the taxi and real estate sectors in New York City. His infamous attorney Roy Cohn was a mob lawyer indicted three times, who was lucky to escape imprisonment for tax evasion and many other alleged crimes.

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The Trump outfit is going down in the time-honored style that marked the decline of La Cosa Nostra. A tough guy like Michael Cohen folds up and squeals exactly the same as Sammy the Bull. And a smart guy like Manafort, who has gotten away with everything and thought he always would, is put away exactly the same as Al Capone, convicted of tax evasion on the testimony of an accountant.

No doubt Trump and his choir will remind us that none of these charges touch on campaign collusion with the Russians, but that is a feeble rejoinder. Special counsel Robert Mueller has already filed preliminary indictments on that aspect of his investigation, of which there will be more to come. Meanwhile, the special counsel will present evidence concerning Trump’s Nixonian attempts to obstruct his investigation.

But regardless of what Mueller eventually reveals about the president, the Cohen deal has placed Trump in grave jeopardy. In pleading guilty to felony violations of federal campaign finance statutes, Cohen has said that he paid off Stormy Daniels and another woman in a criminal conspiracy with Trump.

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Remember, that plea deal was reached not with Mueller but with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, headed by Trump appointee Geoffrey Berman, and the Department of Justice, headed by Trump appointee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. While his aides whisper to Fox News that “the president cannot be indicted,” Americans will soon realize that the man in the Oval Office is an unindicted co-conspirator — just like Nixon.

The question that faces every member of Congress, and for that matter, every voter, is what to do about it.

 


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White supremacists accounted for majority of terror-related arrests in last year: FBI director

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FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Tuesday that his agency has so far made roughly 100 terrorism-related arrests so far this fiscal year -- and the majority of them are related in some way to the white supremacist movement.

As Washington Post reporter Matt Zapotosky reports, Wray made his remarks about white supremacist terrorists while being questioned by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Despite the fact that white supremacists accounted for a majority of terror-related arrests in the first three quarters of this fiscal year, however, Wray also said that the FBI still considers jihadi-inspired terrorism to be the greater overall threat.

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Florida cop runs down wheelie-popping black teen on bicycle — then officers shock him with a Taser

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Florida police chased down a black teenager, struck his bicycle and then violently arrested him after he fled in terror.

Jaydon Stubbs and four friends were riding July 17 on their way to Hollywood Beach when an officer spotted the teens in an area where there had been a string of recent burglaries, reported WPLG-TV.

The officer saw the boys popping wheelies and ignoring traffic laws, so she tried to stop them for questioning -- but they split up and rode away from her.

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Here’s how Boris Johnson is already shaping up to be Britain’s Trump

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On Tuesday, Boris Johnson, former British Foreign Secretary and leader of the Conservative Party, secured the votes in Parliament to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

It is an outcome that was long considered likely — and it creates parallels with the 2016 election of President Donald Trump in the United States, as there are a great many similarities between the politics and styles of these two men, notes NPR.

First, and most obviously, both men are brusque right-wing populists who have made controlling immigration their core issue on the political stage — in Trump's case it is building the wall, while in Johnson's case it is implementing Brexit.

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