Hush Money and Impeachment
Dov Fischer
by

I have written before on the matter of President Trump and the pole dancer with the two implants. The matter is not his proudest life achievement, and what has transpired offers a potent life lesson for all. From all accounts, Mr. Trump has a very wonderful wife who regularly has stood by him publicly over the years through thick and thin, is profoundly intelligent and exceptionally accomplished both in language mastery and in corporate enterprises, has a pleasant appearance, seems to do well with her stepchildren, and has borne him one of her own, a fine young fellow. To the degree that the matter of the pole dancer with the two implants now has become an obstruction in Mr. Trump’s life and yet one more excuse by which cynically dishonest and hypocritical Democrats can try subverting his excellent Presidential agenda, it is a shame. Plenty of shame to go around on this one.

Let us be clear, though, on what the Left media do not report or explain. By all accounts, Donald J. Trump, notwithstanding his eccentricities and thin skin when attacked even by utter nonentities beneath his station, took a turn in his life as he got serious about running for President. He found, perhaps to his surprise, that his strongest support comes from Christians, devout Catholics, and Orthodox Jews, that his conservative policy positions and traditional legislative goals indeed resonate with the religious. He has connected with serious Christian pastors, and he has been warmly received by mainstream normative Orthodox rabbis. In time, he has come to address Liberty College, still finding his footing when quoting the Bible (“Two Corinthians” versus “Second Corinthians”), has become a great defender of prayer and freedom of the pulpit, and a defender of religious freedom in general.

  1. Presidential Candidates Campaigning for One-Night Stands

By all accounts, the matter surrounding the pole dancer and the implants is not comparable on any level to what Americans have had to experience with comparatively recent Presidential candidates like Gary Hart, Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards, or President Bill Clinton who actually have used Presidential runs, or their possibilities, or the ascent to such office as leverage to get playmates when the wife is not watching.

Leaving aside Clinton’s Arkansas-days shenanigans with Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and the rape of Juanita Broaddrick, he later abused and harassed Kathleen Willey when he became President. And two other words need no elaboration, not even an inserted hyperlink to Wikipedia: “Monica Lewinsky.” For Gary Hart — Donna Rice. For John Edwards — Rielle Hunter nee Lisa Jo Druck and baby. For Ted Kennedy — Chappaquiddick. By contrast, from the moment he began running for Presidential office, Donald Trump has had one woman in his life, Melania. On this issue of personal character, he clearly got responsible and became serious.

Yes, there have been the tweets and the maddening verbal broadsides — insults back and forth, whether with one or another accuser from the past, a painfully shameful audio recording in a trailer, and the like. The American people weighed so much of that amply reported information when they cast their votes in November 2016 for their President. They had an alternative, Hillary Clinton, and they elected Trump. Indeed, so many more Caucasian women voted for Trump than for Hillary that her surrogates and she have spent the past two years denigrating them. As she put it: “I’m talking principally about white women — they [were] under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends.”

  1. Hush Money for Peccadilloes Simply Is Not a Campaign Finance Matter

The payment of “hush money” to shut a woman up is sordid. The very need for “hush money” implies a predicate sordid deed. For those among the electorate who do not know millionaires and billionaires, “hush money” seems foreign indeed. It costs a bunch of cash to buy someone’s silence. But among those who are perhaps too rich for their own good, it is part of the cost of their doing business in circles where they believe themselves above all others, invincible, invulnerable, and beyond reproach.

The New York Times reported that actress and director Asia Argento, fittingly a leading voice in the #MeToo movement, is accused of paying $380,000 hush money to one Jimmy Bennett, who claims she sexually assaulted him in a hotel room when he was 17. That buys a lot of hush. The Chicago Tribune describes a Congressional Hush Money Fund to protect our paid legislators — your tax dollars at work. At least $17 million was spent to shut the mouths of those whose mouths politically needed to be shut. Rep. John Conyers paid hush money from a separate fund to keep his lady friends immersed in hush. CBS paid more than $5 million in hush money over twenty years to a woman who accused 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt (pronounced: You it!). Charlie Sheen, the former NBC star, paid millions in hush money after engaging in more peccadilloes than, say, two and a half men. MSNBC paid hush money to protect Hardball Chris Matthews when, on an occasion separate from the time a thrill ran up his leg, he was accused. MSNBC also issued a formal reprimand. Fox News paid hush money for years to people who proffered allegations against Bill O’Reilly.

The payment of hush money by celebrities, sports stars, and multi-millionaires and billionaires has nothing to do with election campaign donations. It is about keeping secrets from a wife or husband who otherwise would walk out of a marriage if he or she found out. Or it aims to keep the publicity away from the children because the kinds of people who have the wherewithal to pay hush money for peccadilloes are the kinds whose scandals will hit the media circuit. Celebrities in more wholesome American times did not want the public to know they cavorted disgracefully because they feared losing their movie followings and careers. A Los Angeles Laker basketball player had to buy his wife a rare $4 million eight-carat purple-diamond ring after news emerged that he had cheated on her in an Edwards, Colorado hotel room; a few years after the ring lost its glitter, she filed for divorce anyway. Donald Sterling, another Los Angeles basketball legend, gave one of his girlfriends $500,000 in luxury cars and a $1.8 million home; when his wife found out, she sued to regain her half of it in community-property California. The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH/Rainbow Coalition paid money to Karin Stanford after she had his baby; payments included $15,000 to move and $21,000 for consulting services, but they rescinded another promised $40,000 in contracting work when the affair became known.

It is beyond absurd to suggest that any hush money paid to the pole dancer with the implants by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney from his pre-Presidential years, was intended as a campaign expenditure. It plainly was to guard Trump’s innocent wife from embarrassment, protect his marriage, spare his children from seeing a sordid report in the news about a side of their Dad that they already had to know or suspect. Alas, in the heightened cynical age in which this unfolds, Democrats are primed to leverage their new House majority to search for impeachable offenses in all this. It is that absurd.

  1. Who Will Call the Democrats Bluff and Dare Them Finally to Put Up or Hush Up on Impeachment?

At some point, sooner or later, perhaps Trump supporters will come to root for impeachment proceedings finally to begin. Impeach 45? Bring it on!

Impeachments of American presidents never really are about high crimes or misdemeanors. (U.S. Const. Art. II, § 4.) Rather, they are political theater. When the Republican Abraham Lincoln was murdered after emancipating African American slaves, he was succeeded by Democrat Andrew Johnson, the Southerner from eastern Tennessee whom Lincoln had named as his running mate to balance his ticket. The northern Republicans who dominated the Congress as the Civil War ended were determined to remove Johnson, and they easily had the votes in the House to impeach. They needed two-thirds in the Senate to convict, and they fell one vote short (35-19) when Edmund G. Ross of Kansas voted his conscience, as did nine other Republicans. President Johnson had fired his Secretary of War, Edwin McMasters Stanton, and subsequent legislation and United States Supreme Court jurisprudence strongly tend to uphold a President’s authority to remove cabinet officials and others without Congressional approval. See, e.g., Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926). A similar impeachment effort against President Clinton in December 1998, again politically motivated and somewhat botched, generated mixed political results. His name was sullied and his reputation, like Ms. Lewinsky’s dress, was stained, but he emerged politically whole and a prized Democrat star for another two decades even though he never received 50 percent of the vote in either of his two Presidential races. On the other hand, the Clinton scandals may have helped elect George W. Bush President in 2000, as Al Gore avoided having Clinton help campaign for him, and Bush was seen as more morally fit to lead the nation.

If the Democrats ever truly proceed with bills of impeachment aimed at President Trump, whether based on hush money payments that predate Mr. Trump’s presidency or on his pre-Presidential entrepreneurial interest in building a Trump hotel in Moscow or on his proper wielding of his executive authority to fire James Comey, a leaking political partisan who really needed to be removed from a compromised Federal Bureau of Investigation, they presumably will have the votes to send the allegations to the Senate. We know from the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton that it does not matter a whit whether it is a high crime or misdemeanor for a President to fire a Secretary of War or to lie about his secret rendezvous with a woman about whom his wife is not supposed to know. Rather, Presidential impeachment is pure Swamp Politics, bought and paid for with our tax dollars. The United States Senate never will come even close to mustering the required two-thirds vote to convict President Trump for any actions pre-dating his election, and they probably would not dare convict for anything he has done or will do since his election either, unless it truly and unequivocally constitutes a bona fide high crime or misdemeanor.

Not one single Democrat Senator voted to convict President Clinton, and no Republican Senator will vote to convict Mr. Trump. The two Republican Senate “Never Trumpers” — Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona — will be long gone, and any Republican Senator who would vote for conviction would follow. The more radical Democrats — Spartacus, Bernie, Pocahontas, and Company — would play politics for their bases and vote to convict. However, other Senate Democrats like Doug Jones of Alabama, who faces a brutal reelection campaign in 2020 when Mr. Trump will be heading the national Republican ticket and Roy Moore will not be the Republicans’ Alabama Senate nominee, probably will vote with the Republicans and for Mr. Trump in the same way that Joe Manchin saw the light momentarily and broke Democrat ranks to hold his West Virginia Senate seat by voting to confirm the Hon. Brett M. Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. In the end, suburban Caucasian swing voters will be left wondering why they gave the Democrats the House in 2018, only to see promises about focusing on fixing health care and immigration get diverted so that the Democrats’ increasingly radical Left base could realize their pointless and ultimately fizzled impeachment aspirations.

Perhaps the better hush money will be allocated to silencing those bombastic Democrats endlessly trying to find in every day’s news an excuse to threaten impeachment. In time, the inevitable House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may well be cooing behind closed doors to her sister California House Democrat, paraphrasing the title of a film about two insane women: Hush, hush, sweet Maxine.

Dov Fischer
Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.
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