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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What will it take for Republicans to put country over party?

John Gotti was an Italian-American gangster and boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City. He earned the moniker “Teflon Don” after three high-profile trials in the 1980s resulted in his acquittal, though it was later learned that jury and witness tampering had tainted the trials. Gotti was finally brought to justice in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison. The prosecuting attorney: Robert S. Mueller III.

Mueller is leading another high-profile criminal investigation: whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians. He has authority to investigate any other matters that may arise directly from that investigation. Here is a partial summary of Mueller’s efforts:

  • Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, and George Papadopolous, a member of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisory panel, have both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
  • Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign’s former chair, was found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes. Manafort awaits his second trial for allegations of money laundering and unreported foreign lobbying work for the Ukrainian government.
  • Rick Gates, the Trump campaign's deputy chair, pleaded guilty and testified against Manafort about crimes they committed together.
  • Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight counts of financial crimes, including campaign finance violations. Notably, Cohen stated that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” Cohen made hush money payments to two women to silence them about alleged affairs in order to influence the 2016 election. The apparent reason Trump was not charged is due to the Justice Department’s position that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
  • Allen Weisselberg, the Trump organization’s Chief Financial Officer, has been granted immunity by prosecutors in the Cohen investigation.

The president has signaled that he might fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, that he might try to remove Mueller and that he might pardon Paul Manafort. What will it take for Republicans in Congress to put country over party and rein in the president? If they remain cowardly and complicit, they deserve to be voted out of office.

Trump and his crew are discovering that no one is above the law. The Don who occupies the White House is in substantial legal jeopardy.

Janelle Wolf

Bemidji

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