Republicans agree 'hush money' payments are crimes—unless Donald Trump’s name is attached
If you haven't heard, Donald Trump is allegedly something of a criminal. His money and resources would then allegedly make him the head of a criminal enterprise. The rest of his Republican Party has collectively stuck its head up his behind and allowed him to pass through impeachment after impeachment without any real consequences.
But now, as multiple legal cases begin to tighten around him, Trump is finally facing the very real possibility that he will be indicted for his part in the hush money payments he and his minions made to adult film star Stormy Daniels back in 2016. For his part, Trump has pleaded the Fifth Amendment about 440 times. However, the Donald hasn't remained quiet as he has begun working on his presidential campaign and using it as a public defense. His defense: claims of witch hunting on the part of the entire U.S. justice system.
His plan seems to be that he can lead some kind of revolt against the government or create a threat of mass violence so distressing that he will be able to bully his way out of paying for his crimes. The second part of this is to create a lot of smoke during the discovery in his many upcoming trials, hoping to have a chance of leaking information that he can throw like cheese puffs to his more conspiracy-minded MAGA followers.
On Friday, The Economist and YouGov released some polls they conducted over the past week of 1,500 citizens. The poling covers dozens of questions, but a fun one is concerning hush money: "Do you think it is or is not a crime for a candidate for elected office to pay someone to remain silent about an issue that may affect the outcome of an election?"
Almost three-quarters of the respondents agreed that it is a crime if a politician running for or in office pays someone money to stay silent about something that they fear will hurt the outcome of an election. In fact, 78% of self identified Democrats believed it to be a crime and 73% of self-identified Republicans agreed.
The Economist and YouGov pollers then asked, “Do you think it is or is not a crime for a candidate to fail to report spending campaign money on payments to keep someone silent about an issue that may affect the outcome of an election?”
Once again, most people were in agreement—in fact a little more so, as 83% of Democrats polled thought it was a crime and 76% of Republicans believed it to be a crime. Good news! Here’s another question: “How serious an issue is it that an adult film star was paid $130,000 in October 2016 to remain silent about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Donald Trump that took place in 2006?”
In this case, the answers available to those polled were four, ranging from "A very serious issue," "Somewhat serious," "Not very serious," to "Not serious at all." Guess what? With Trump directly implicated in what three-quarters of the very same Republicans polled said was a crime, this time only 45% total (15% saying it was very serious) could bring themselves to be consistent about what they had just said.
A good deal of this seems to be media diet. According to those Republicans polled, when asked about what they had heard concerning the hush money case against Trump, about 40% said they had heard nothing at all. In seems that in this case it isn’t only the elected officials with their heads stuck where the sun doesn’t shine.
Judd Legum is the founder and author of Popular Information, an independent newsletter dedicated to accountability journalism. Judd joins Markos and Kerry to talk about the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against Fox News and the recent revelations of behind-the-scenes deceit practiced by everyone from on-air host Tucker Carlson to the owner of it all, Rupert Murdoch.
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