Tuesday, August 21st, former personal attorney to President Trump Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman to President Trump Paul Manafort were found guilty on a combined 16 felony charges. The charges include multiple counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations that directly influenced the 2016 presidential election. While these two Trump affiliates now await their sentencing, three more await their sentencing on a litany of charges involving lies about Trump’s campaign and it’s alleged collusion with the Russian government. This comes on the heels of 12 additional indictments dealt out to Russian intelligence officers by the Mueller investigation last month, bringing the total number of indictments up to 35.
We’re less than two years into Donald Trump’s first term in office and the second presidential impeachment in 20 years suddenly feels tangible. Whether or not you support the polarizing 45th U.S. president, his affiliates represent a corrupt campaign and administration that reflects poorly on the current state of the U.S. democracy.
Despite president Trump’s unorthodox methods, it’s difficult to admit that his administration’s blatant corruption and deception is far from unique. Distrust in the American government is a belief that’s gained steam in the last half century and shows no sign of slowing down. Seemingly every four years we gravitate toward candidates who stand against the current U.S. government and promise change (i.e. Obama, Trump, Sanders etc.), and justifiably so. If Trump is removed from office, he will be the third president to be impeached or resign in the last 45 years, and the second in the last two decades. When potentially three of the last nine presidential administrations could result in the president’s removal, it’s clear that there’s an inherent issue within the system itself.
Though the irony in Trump’s “drain the swamp” slogan has always been clear given his reputation, it’s starting to feel more applicable than ever. Donald Trump’s election was supposed to represent public backlash against a broken government and toxic political landscape, but his presidency has proven to operate just as toxically as the environment it campaigned against. As pessimistic as that sounds, it’s the unfortunate circumstance we’re in. This undoubtedly leaves us with a lot of questions: Where do we go from here? How do we retaliate against Russia if they’re found guilty of tampering with our democratic process? Is legitimate positive change in the U.S. government possible in such a polarized political climate?
I’m sure we all wish we had more answers. Regardless of your political ideology, President Trump’s undoing is another tragic blow for the state of the union and the hope for a trustworthy government moving forward. Sad.