Trump’s enemies pin hopes on Epstein, porn star

Contrary to recent media reports, dogged prosecutors have not backed off efforts to criminalize nondisclosure payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. Both women alleged they had affairs with President Donald Trump more than a decade ago and were paid to stay silent. Trump has adamantly denied the affairs ever happened.

The case of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sex trafficking minors, is also being closely watched. Hope springs eternal that the president will be indicted also.

The media has gone to great lengths to associate the president with Epstein, who frequented his Mar-a-Lago Club in West Palm Beach and was known to socialize with him.

The goal is to generate sensational scandals that the president is guilty of sex crimes in order to take him and his organization down.

Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York had ended their probe into the payments last month with no new charges expected.

A $130,000 nondisclosure payment had been arranged for Daniels by Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. He also arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer to pay McDougal for her story alleging an affair with the president. The company did not run the story after buying its rights. Executives at American Media Inc., publisher of the tabloid, admitted they helped Trump cover up the payments.

Cohen pleaded guilty last year to violating campaign finance laws regarding a total of US$280,000 payments he made through a shell company.

Cohen was repaid with checks signed by Trump and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jnr. He began his prison sentence in May and insists he made the payments at the direction of the president, a claim Trump has denied.

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is reviving, yet again, the investigation into whether senior executives at the Trump Organization violated the law by falsifying business records about the payments, which would be a state crime. Did the company incorrectly list the reimbursements as legal expenses?

His office sent subpoenas to the Trump Organization and American Media Inc. on Thursday seeking communications between the company and the women, sources told CNN.

This is a fishing expedition. If they do find evidence to support their suspicions, it won’t pack the same punch or create the same spectacle as the federal charges they had hoped to slap on the organization. Unless business records are being falsified to cover up a crime, this would only be a misdemeanor under New York state law.

His political enemies hope this could be another way to make the president and his associates suffer. Trump bosses could be indicted on state charges and the president would not be able to issue pardons.

Marc L. Mukasey, an attorney for the Trump Organization, told The New York Times the subpoenas were being used as “weapons” to harass Trump, his family and his business. The company would respond “appropriately,” said Mukasey.

On Tuesday MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pushed unsubstantiated narratives that Trump preyed on and raped underage girls. She reviewed a 2010 deposition regarding a lawsuit accusing Epstein of child trafficking. He reportedly declined to answer a question about his relationship with Trump and whether they had ever socialized together with females under the age of 18. In response Epstein asserted his Fifth, Sixth, 23rd and 14th Amendment rights.

She then referenced a 2016 lawsuit in which an anonymous woman alleged that Trump raped her at a party hosted by Epstein when she was thirteen.  The lawsuit was dropped just before the election that year amid claims the woman was receiving death threats. Trump has also denied any wrongdoing with respect to her claims.

 According to Maddow: “There is a general sense that the blood pressure in the White House has been running higher than normal since Epstein was arrested, and it is not possible to know if this is just the new crazy, this is just newly how it is, or if it’s a deliberate effort to try to distract from something, right?  Could this be the president hitting the panic button to distract from something else that is coming down the pike?”

As Trump continues to campaign for a second term he must contend with the media, prosecutors, and Democrats who will stop at nothing to take him out of the White House in handcuffs. They will keep ploughing repeatedly any fertile ground in search of any crime great or small. So far Trump has eluded capture in this unprecedented manhunt to reverse the course of a presidential election.