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Bad seed, bad fruit

8/23/2018, 6 a.m.
We hope that Tuesday’s courtroom dramas in New York and Northern Virginia opened the eyes of those who blindly back ...

“By their fruits you shall know them.”

                            — Matthew 7:20

We hope that Tuesday’s courtroom dramas in New York and Northern Virginia opened the eyes of those who blindly back President Trump and will push Republicans in Congress out of their tacit support for a fascist who is destroying our country.

The plea deal by Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, in federal court in Manhattan, and the conviction of Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, in federal court in Alexandria, proves that disciples of Mr. Trump also have produced bad fruit.

Mr. Cohen told the judge when he pleaded guilty to eight felonies involving tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance laws that Mr. Trump sowed the criminal seeds when Mr. Trump directed him to pay hush money to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them quiet about their alleged affairs with Mr. Trump.

According to Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump authorized the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her, and $150,000 through the National Enquirer to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal for the rights to her story so it wouldn’t be published.

Mr. Cohen told the judge he participated in the deal “for the purpose of influencing the election.” By helping to cover up two potential sex scandals, Mr. Cohen helped ensure Mr. Trump’s presidential bid could remain unscathed.

As Mr. Cohen was pleading guilty on Tuesday, a jury announced that it found Mr. Manafort guilty of eight counts of financial fraud. The jury found Mr. Trump’s man had hidden a fortune in foreign accounts with the goal of evading U.S. taxes on the millions of dollars he was paid serving politicians and oligarchs allied with the Kremlin. When his work and money began to dry up, he lied to obtain millions in bank loans in the United States.

One of the chief witnesses against Mr. Manafort was Rick Gates of Richmond, who served as Mr. Manafort’s deputy on the Trump campaign. Mr. Gates also was a top adviser to Mr. Trump, particularly during the transition to the White House following the election.

Mr. Gates, who disclosed to the jury his own avarice and thievery from Mr. Manafort during that time, already had pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements.

Mr. Gates is cooperating with special counsel Robert S. Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s interference and influence in the 2016 election to get Mr. Trump in the White House.

We believe Mr. Manafort and Mr. Cohen will start singing to Mr. Mueller — if they haven’t already — in an effort to reduce the amount of prison time they will receive.

Already, Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former campaign adviser and his first national security adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts he had with Russian officials. He, too, reportedly is cooperating with Mr. Mueller on the Russia probe.

These latest court actions serve to confirm what we have long believed — that Mr. Trump needs to be impeached for colluding with the Russians and criminally conspiring to manipulate the election’s outcome.

Republicans in Congress need to stand up and disavow this man who has been a national aberration as he continues to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a regime that continues to threaten our basic democracy by hacking our elections.

We can tell who Mr. Trump is by the rotten fruit he surrounded himself with. It is long past time for the White House and our government to be rid of him.

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