Judicial events that involve former Donald Trump's close collaborators shake American democracy to its core, due to the thorough investigation on the suspicion of Russian interference in the last US elections.
Michael Cohen's guilty plea will inevitably damage the presidential institution. Guilty verdicts against Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman, also spoil the White House´s image.
These judicial results are not directly linked to the so-called Russian plot. But Cohen´s plea directly implicate the President. Thus, if before he was supposed to be suspect by association, now the thesis that the President himself -then candidate- might have incurred in crime is strengthened..
Cohen and Manafort join a list of more than 30 federal defendants, product of investigations related to the last electoral campaign and this federal Administration. Six pleaded guilty. Among them, former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, and two other Trump´s former presidential campaign advisors.
These prosecutions are related to the investigation that special prosecutor Robert Mueller began in 2017 on the possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia, a country pointed as having interfered in the 2016 elections in favor of the candidate that prevailed. It is necessary that the results of the investigation lead to strengthen the US electoral institution, now tainted with suspicion of foreign interference.
Most of the analysis of recent events agree that the President is now closer to being impeached or criminally prosecuted. They are based on the fact that - now more credible- that Trump may have conspired to lie to voters to obtain political advantage. What will happen in November mid term elections could determine the future of the President. And that of the democratic institutions that the President represents.
The President has reiterated his comtempt for investigations. The New York Times revealed that since the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's offices in April 2017, the President referred to the investigation as a "witch hunt" more than 110 times. And he repeated criticisms to the process during visits to his followers through out the country.
Trump seems to underestimate the privilege of occupying the Presidential seat with disdain to the constituents right to clear accountability. With his repeated attacks to the investigative efforts of the federal government that he leads, Trump damages other crucial institutions necessary for a free society.
What happens calls for a deep reflection from officials, politicians and citizens, both in the United States and in any country that claims to be democratic.
It is a living reminder that, both in the US and in Puerto Rico, those elected to administer our institutions have a legal obligation to do so with integrity, responsibility and transparency. They also have a moral obligation to clarify anything that harms their credibility and generates distrust among citizens. And to ensure that those around them also have to remain intact, without ethical hesitation.
This convulsive historical period represents opportunities to increase the protections of democracy.
In the first line of defense, citizens have the responsibility to remain attentive to these judicial and political processes, free of sectarian passion. At local level, it is important to understand the relevance the events have in our own institutions, policies and government.
In Washington, investigations must reach their ultimate consequences to reach the truth and to prosecute those that may be guilty. First of all, this shock to democratic institutions must have the effect of strengthening them before any internal or foreign attempt to weaken or destroy them.
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