And any senator who votes to confirm his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh ― scheduled for confirmation hearings in two weeks ― is complicit in the president’s stolen election and his alleged federal crime.
That may sound unrealistic and extreme; however, we’re in a massive national political crisis unlike anything many of us have ever seen. And it calls for speaking boldly and demanding strong action.
Let’s look at the facts.
Many things could have impacted the 2016 election and handed it to Trump, who lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College by less than 80,000 votes in three states. Russia’s interference, James Comey’s late letter on Hillary Clinton’s emails, and voter suppression in swing states all likely played a role.
But on Tuesday, Trump’s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen admitted ― under oath in a court of law ― that he was directed by the then-presidential candidate to pay off two women to stay silent about their stories of sexual affairs with Trump. This demonstrates a deliberate and direct action by the Trump campaign to interfere with the 2016 election.
Had the allegations of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal been made public in the last weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump would have surely experienced a loss of support, coming on the heels of the already-damaging Access Hollywood tape. Even a small dip could have been enough to cost him the race.
Any senator who votes for Kavanaugh legitimizes Trump’s stolen election ― and must be held accountable.
And in fact, Trump knew the women’s stories would sink him ― so much so that, according to Cohen (I repeat, under oath in a court of law), Trump directed his former lawyer to move ahead with the payments and negotiations.
Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight criminal counts, including bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He told a federal court in Manhattan that “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate,” he and the head of a media company conspired in the summer of 2016 to keep an individual (very likely McDougal) from disclosing information that could hurt “the candidate.” (That media figure is loyal Trump supporter David Pecker of America Media, which bought the rights to McDougal’s story for its publication The National Enquirer, then killed it.) And Cohen admitted he worked “in coordination” with the same candidate to make a payment to another woman ― very likely Stormy Daniels.
“I participated in this conduct . . . for the principal purpose of influencing the election,” Cohen told the court.
The Trump campaign is still under investigation for potentially conspiring with Russia. Investigators haven’t publicly reached a conclusion yet, nor has anyone involved with the Trump campaign admitted to a crime directly related to Russian interference ― though Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said on MSNBC on Tuesday night that Cohen has information helpful to the investigation, which would show not just “a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system,” but also that Trump knew about “the computer crime of hacking.” Special counsel Robert Mueller continues to work on the case.
But we already know that Trump engaged in “a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system,” thanks to Cohen’s admission on Tuesday (once again, under oath in a court of law) that he was directed by “the candidate” to pay Daniels and work with Pecker to pay McDougal solely for the purpose of affecting the election’s outcome.
Had the allegations of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal been made public in the last weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump would have surely experienced a loss of support.
And remember: Trump has already admitted to paying Daniels. After first saying he didn’t, Trump later changed his story ― via his attorney Rudy Giuliani ― and said he did reimburse Cohen for the payment.
So there we have it. Trump cheated and stole an election. And his illegitimacy means most of his actions as president have gone against the will of the American people.
And that’s how we come to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
The appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was already a stolen seat, denied to President Barack Obama by Republicans who blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland. Kavanaugh’s nomination is equally illegitimate and must be stopped.
Trump cannot be permitted to proceed on this nomination, which would fundamentally change the makeup of the Supreme Court for decades to come, when his longtime attorney just pleaded guilty to helping Trump cheat to win and admitted that Trump directly conspired with him.
The GOP must suspend the Kavanaugh nomination immediately. It should also begin impeachment proceedings, and Democrats need to finally go all out in calling for that action, as well.
Few of us expect that to happen, not with a GOP that has looked the other way on Trump’s massive corruption from day one. But that doesn’t mean we should demand anything less. We must stop pretending this isn’t the massive political crisis that it is ― one that has done enormous harm to our democracy.
Every Democratic and Republican senator must be pressured to call for putting the Kavanaugh nomination on hold indefinitely. Any senator who votes for Kavanaugh legitimizes Trump’s stolen election ― and must be held accountable.
Michelangelo Signorile is an editor-at-large for HuffPost. Follow him on Twitter at @msignorile.