There’s a reason why President Trump increasingly sounds like the mob boss in a cliche-ridden gangster film: That’s basically what he is — and he must know how such movies usually end.
On Wednesday morning — a day after his former campaign chairman was convicted of felonies in one federal courthouse and his longtime lawyer pleaded guilty to felonies in another — Trump issued this statement on Twitter:
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. ‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ — make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”
A few days earlier, Trump had referred to John Dean, the White House counsel whose truth-telling was instrumental in Richard Nixon’s downfall, as a “RAT.” And in a Fox News interview broadcast Thursday, he complained at length about defendants who “flip” and inform on higher-ups in exchange for leniency at sentencing…
A billionaire businessman for president? What could go wrong?
Plenty, according to former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who says President Donald Trump is using his office not to benefit the American people, but to personally enrich himself as part of a “criminal enterprise.”
“The promotion is extraordinary, there hasn’t been a president in my lifetime that’s done anything like this,” Dean, who served as DNC chair from 2005 to 2009, said Tuesday night on MSNBC. Dean said he believes the White House is using the Trump empire to “shake down foreign governments who have moved their events to his hotel in Washington at somebody’s request in order to get favors.”
Trump’s business ventures have sparked much discussion about the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which outlaws accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments. A government watchdog group filed a lawsuit against Trump just three days into his presidency, citing his administration’s “countless conflicts of interest.”
But Dean said the emoluments clause was a “far-flung argument” to nail Trump. Instead, he was putting his faith in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian collusion in the 2016 election, which is possibly branching out into Trump’s financial house of cards.
“I think he’s running a criminal enterprise out of the White House, and I think that’s what Bob Mueller’s on the track of,” Dean said….