Dear America,

In 2016, Donald Trump lost in New York City, his home town and the place where he did his business and accrued his money, by 79% to 19%, and in New York State as a whole, he lost 58% to 38%.  (The people upstate don't know much about Trump because he concentrates his self-promotion in The City.)  That should tell everyone on both sides of the Trump divide what kind of person Trump is.  So, when Republicans stick up for "the Donald" at the Michael Cohen hearings becomes inescapably contrived.  Everyone knows that Donald Trump is a "racist, a con-man and a cheat" in the words of Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and putative "fixer" in the course of those hearings, and thus Republicans' claims that they are skeptical of Cohen's veracity are palpably contrived.  Those who have defended Trump vocally have hitched their wagons to a dark star, and my guess is that they will get what they deserve in 2020.

As to the notion that Cohen's acts were just that, his acts and not the acts of his employer for over ten years, Donald Trump, the law deals with it through the doctrine of respondeat superior, or in English, "let the master answer."  What that means is that if an employee commits an act that harms another during and in the course of his employment, responsibility to make the victim whole reposes squarely on the shoulders of the employer...the master in the master-servant relationship.  The fact that Cohen was Trump's operative is irrefutable.  It would be different if Trump had employed the lawyer only once or twice but Cohen acted purportedly on Trump's behalf many other times.  The claim that Cohen was acting on his own might have a potential for credence.  But Cohen worked for Trump and his companies continuously for at least a decade, and the notion that Trump never knew over the course of that period what kind of things Cohen was doing is preposterous. There is a basic exception to the doctrine in cases in which the servant's acts were beyond the scope of his authority to act, which is essentially what Donald Trump is implying relative to Cohen's perjury and other acts that benefited only Trump.  But Cohen has testified that in at least the case of his perjury before congress, his prospective testimony was reviewed in advance by lawyers working not just for Trump, but for Jared Kushner as well.   In other words, Cohen's perjury was "suborned" by Donald Trump through others of his agents, like his son-in-law,  just as Cohen's acts in general were suborned by Trump.  The idea that all these people were acting deviously and outside the law on Trump's behalf but without his knowledge invokes a perhaps apocryphal historic event.

Henry II had a good friend, Thomas Becket.  Becket was a clergyman and when Henry II needed money, he wanted to take some of the wealth of the Catholic church, specifically its lands.  He also wanted to diminish the power of The Church so he had Becket designated Archbishop of Canterbury.  But Beckett, although a friend of Henry's, was primarily loyal to the church, and when the king asked Becket to act in Henry's interests instead of those of the church, Becket refused.  A political tussle between the two ensued, but Becket was unyielding, and the king was unrelenting.  Eventually, when Becket's intractability was reported to Henry, he is reputed to have said in the presence of some noblemen, "will no one rid me of this turbulent (in some versions of the story it is 'troublesome') priest?"   That utterance was construed by some of the noblemen that Henry had ordered them to kill Becket, and so they rode to Canterbury and lopped off the top of Becket's head right there in Canterbury Cathedral.  I've actually been there and seen the spot where it happened, so the story is true, at least in its principle details.

Who knows what King Donald has uttered and to whom, but one thing seems certain.  In the course of his business dealings, he has done a lot of uttering about people who crossed him, and a lot of bad things that benefited our illustrious leader have happened to them.  So far, the top of no one's head has been cut off, but who knows where Donald Trump is going to draw the line...if he's going to draw a line.  All I have to say is, I hope Michael Cohen has a steel football helmet.  

Your friend,




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