Trump Loyalists Will Cling to Him Like Barnacles on a Sinking Ship

The president has turned the GOP into a cult of personality.

Ting Shen/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

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Within a matter of minutes Tuesday afternoon, twin legal developments rocked the presidency: Donald Trump’s former campaign boss Paul Manafort was found guilty of tax and bank fraud, and his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, among other felonies.

“If Michael Cohen is telling the truth, then Donald Trump conspired with Michael Cohen—the President of the United States conspired with his longtime lawyer—to violate campaign finance law,” explains Mother Jones Washington, DC, Bureau Chief, David Corn, on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast. “This is far more serious for Donald Trump than the Manafort convictions.”

“You really have to go back to Watergate to find a situation in which so many of the president’s men ended up going to jail, or facing such charges,” Corn added.

But don’t expect Trump’s allies in the media to cop to his deepening legal peril. Everything is fine. As major news networks plastered the walls with breaking news Tuesday night, Fox News star Sean Hannity lamented “equal justice under the law … is dead” and defiantly trained his ire on the far more pressing problem: Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Corn tells host Jamilah King that Trump, “has turned the conservative movement and the Republican Party into this cult of personality that defends him no matter what. They are like barnacles on the hull. And if that ship goes down, they’re gonna go down with it.”

Listen to the exchange:

Also on the show we talk books. Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery interviews Jason Kander. He is an Afghanistan war veteran, the founder of Let America Vote, a group dedicated to ending voter suppression across the country, a podcast star, the Former Missouri Secretary of State, and now author. His new memoir, Outside the Wire, which chronicles his path from the battlefield to the halls of power, just debuted on the New York Times best seller list. Jeffery talks to Kander about being the first millennial to hold statewide office, creating a nationwide voter rights movement, and running to become mayor of Kansas City. (Oh, and one of the best Twitter comebacks we’ve ever seen.)

And finally, Ben Dreyfuss, Mother Jones’s editorial director for growth and strategy, interviews author Brian Abrams about Obama: An Oral History, his reflections on Obama’s biggest wins and losses as told to him in more than 100 interviews with key players, and how to think about his presidency now that we know what came next. Dreyfuss asks if someone told Barack Obama the night he won the presidency in 2008 that in 8 years he was going to handover the presidency to his exact opposite, would he have done anything differently? Tune in to hear Abrams provocative, thought-provoking response. 

Three fascinating conversations on where America is, where it has been, and where it’s going, on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast. Subscribe using any of the following services:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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