So the deal with Donald Trump was that he would take his business acumen, such as it was, to Washington and lay waste to the status quo. Jobs would be restored, crooks would be fired, swamps would be drained, etc. That’s how things were going to be; those of us who did not like it could, at least, settle down and bear it.
One thing that was definitely not part of the deal: learning about the intricacies of a wealthy septuagenarian’s sex life. Put differently: Does Donald Trump like a little, you know—ahem? What is his go-to pick-up line? Are his hands always moist or do they just always seem moist? Is hot wax ever involved? Does he wear headphones and listen to MGMT? I don’t know. I don’t want to. But we all might soon.
On Tuesday, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to a litany of crimes including, among other things, campaign finance violations related to payments made to two women during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen acknowledged what has long been suspected: that those payments—to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and to the sometime porn actress Stormy Daniels—were to guarantee their silence about their respective affairs with Trump. Cohen says that this was done “at the direction of a candidate for federal office”—namely, one Donald Trump. Cohen faces a maximum of 65 years in prison. Hence, the plea deal.
This is bad for Trump, who is now freshly linked to a campaign finance violation. This is bad for us, the American public, because, among other things, we may soon hear a great deal about the 45th president’s sex life.
This fall, Democrats stand a pretty good chance of winning enough seats to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Should this happen, we are all but guaranteed a congressional investigation into the Cohen payments: On Wednesday, Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, demanded as much, though it’s unlikely to proceed for as long as Republicans are still in power.
If it does proceed, we must all say a prayer as the Pandora’s box of Vaseline is opened. To investigate the Cohen payments is to investigate the McDougal and Daniels affairs. To investigate the affairs is to risk learning about the big guy’s kinks, his sweet nothings and anatomy, his liaisons and attempted liaisons and any and all alternative uses of ketchup. We should be very afraid.
We know some things already, and they are bad. We know that the McDougal and Daniels episodes occurred during Trump’s marriage to Melania. We know that sharks were involved. We know that there was enough of a pattern to these relationships that there was probably more than just two of them.
“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer,” Trump tweeted Wednesday, “I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” Here, “a good lawyer” is another way of saying “a person to pay away evidence of your affairs.” Trump doesn’t deny that the payments occurred; he just says that he found out about them after the fact and that the funds didn’t come from campaign accounts. The former claim is risible at best, given there is tape of Cohen discussing the McDougal payment with Trump.
Far be it from me to suggest that a person shouldn’t pay, before or after the fact, for the companionship of a fellow consenting adult. In a perfect world, we would not know about any of it; the thought of Trump and furry handcuffs or Trump and the word “moan” or Trump and, ugh, flesh makes me want to remove my parietal lobe. But if you think this is a man who could so much as order Cialis without managing to break the law, the evidence suggests that you are probably mistaken. And so we are condemned, in the pursuit of justice, to finding out so very, very much about what has happened in the villas and hotel rooms and warm-robed confines that the president has found himself within.
That is, at least, if things go the Democrats’ way in the coming months. You know, the party that never manages to mess things up. So at least we’ve got that going for us.