“Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance,” Cohen said.
Pressed on his past commentary about being willing to do anything for Trump, Cohen again hinted at flipping: “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”
.. Then Cohen resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee by citing not just the investigation he faces, but his disagreement with the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border.
.. And Cohen’s interview came with another big signal: the reported end of a joint agreement between Cohen and Trump’s legal team to share information. Such things often presage a more antagonistic relationship or even cutting a deal to inform on someone else. Michael Flynn’s lawyers stopped sharing info with Trump’s lawyers, for example, shortly before he flipped.
The left is freaking out and trying desperately to connect Russian hacking to the Trump presidency.
.. a savvy political strategist who ruled through a combination of fear, folksy humor and a laserlike focus on protecting the idea of an inerrant Bible.
.. he was fired from his job as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for allegedly lying about and mishandling complaints of student rape.
.. Until a few weeks ago, he had been an icon in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, credited with keeping the movement from sliding into liberalism, in part by codifying traditional gender roles for men and women that included a ban on women in the pulpit.
.. The consolidation of conservative power between the late 1970s and early ’90s, known by its Southern Baptist supporters as “the Conservative Resurgence” and its critics as the “Conservative Takeover,
.. Son of a major Convention power broker in Texas, long the most powerful state in the movement
.. Patterson was a prolific preacher before he was 20.
.. He was the equivalent of a “Baptist crown prince,”
.. The takeover, which lasted over a decade, was no-holds-barred, with Patterson keeping files on ideological opponents and cultivating spies in seminaries
.. Patterson had been “likened to the Rev. Jim Jones and Joe McCarthy” by his critics
.. “He’s been reviled as a power-mad fundamentalist on a witch hunt for heretics.”
.. the effort was focused on protecting inerrancy
.. But it was also informed deeply by the rising American feminist movement and increased debate about abortion.
.. Until the 1980s, Southern Baptist women were still being ordained
.. Polls into the 1970s also showed the vast majority of Southern Baptist pastors supported some access to abortion.
.. Patterson and his wife, Dorothy, were like the king and queen of what the movement came to call “biblical manhood and womanhood.” Dorothy Patterson, who was highly educated, wrote books about femininity and the proper Christian woman.
.. “He loves and delights my soul, He protects and possesses my body, He teaches and edifies my spirit, He praises and challenges my mind. . . . He is friend and counselor, husband and lover, pastor and teacher, inspiration and ideal,” she wrote of her husband in the 1976 book “The Sensuous Woman Reborn.”
.. By the mid-1990s the seminaries and state conventions were largely purged of moderates and liberals.
Many women who were studying to be pastors or who taught classes that included male students were forced out or left.
.. he had a quality whose power Americans in 2018 can recognize: He was an elite who was able to come across like a common man. His supporters describe him as a “teddy bear” and a practical jokester.
.. “That resonated with those small church pastors and evangelists who felt the academics were looking down on them,” Finn said “He was very sensitive to the charge that conservatives were dummies.”
.. recorded comments surfaced of Patterson saying he counseled abused women to remain with their husbands and making remarks seen as objectifying a teenage girl and criticizing the physical appearance of female seminary students.
.. Trustee Board Chairman Kevin Ueckert, in a June 1 statement, alleged that a Southwestern female student reported to Patterson that she had been raped, and police were called.
.. Patterson emailed campus security — Ueckert said trustees saw that email — and “discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could ‘break her down.’ ”
.. In the weeks since these cases surfaced, many other women have described less dramatic experiences
.. Patterson told her he would treat it as a “he said-she said” until he spoke to the professor — who denied everything. That was the end of the process
.. Younger Southern Baptist leaders saw him as an embarrassment with his cowboy gear, big-game trophies and what they perceived as anachronistic comments.
.. They winced at his 2008 testimony in the case of a female theology professor he fired (for being female), in which he said the Bible indicates societies ruled by women are “wicked.” Or the way he brought the 1950s to the 2000s in his seminaries with female employees being told not to wear pants.
.. Unlike Patterson’s generation, younger leaders don’t hesitate to speak out strongly against abuse and overt sexism. But what does that mean for their views of the place of women in society and in the church?
.. said Patterson’s fall is clearly orchestrated by progressives in the denomination who want to challenge the conservative status quo. The timing just before the annual meeting is suspicious, he said.
.. “To me it’s quite obvious,” he said. “This is about the Bible being inerrant. Then if you can argue that the Bible has errors, then it opens doors up for all sorts of things that have been nontraditional.”
Such a God might, for instance, offer political success as a temptation rather than a reward — or use an unexpected presidency not to save Americans but to chastise them.
.. so far the Trump presidency has clearly been a kind of apocalypse — not (yet) in the “world-historical calamity” sense of the word, but in the original Greek meaning: an unveiling, an uncovering, an exposure of truths that had heretofore been hidden.
.. That exposure came first for the Republican Party’s establishment, who were revealed as something uncomfortably close to liberal caricature in their mix of weakness, cynicism and power worship. It came next for the technocrats and the data nerds of the Democratic Party, who were revealed as ineffectual, clueless and self-regarding ..
.. And then it came for a range of celebrated media men, from Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer ..
.. It has come as well for figures whose style anticipated him (Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, that whole ménage) and for figures who have deliberately attached themselves to his populist revolt. The sins of Roy Moore were more exposed by the Trump era, and now likewise the racist paranoia of Roseanne Barr.
.. a similar moral exposure has come to precisely the sector of American Christianity where support for Donald Trump ran strongest — the denominational heart of conservative evangelicalism, the Southern Baptist Convention.
.. The main case is Paige Patterson, the now-erstwhile president of a major Baptist seminary in Fort Worth, who was eased into retirement over revelations that he’d counseled abused women to return to their husbands and allegedly shamed and silenced at least one rape victim.
.. Patterson is a beginning, not an end.
.. Late last year I wrote an essay speculating about the possibility of an “evangelical crisis” in this era, driven by the gap between the older and strongly pro-Trump constituency in evangelical churches and those evangelicals, often younger, who either voted for the president reluctantly or rejected his brand of politics outright.
.. “the big story behind the story of Patterson’s fall is a high-stakes showdown between two generations of Southern Baptist leaders.” Both generations are theologically conservative, but the figures raising their voices against Patterson have been — generally — associated with a vision of their church that’s more countercultural, less wedded to the institutional Republican Party, more likely to see racial reconciliation as essential to the Baptist future and intent on proving that a traditional theology of sex need not lead to sexism.
.. Whereas Patterson’s defenders represent — again, to generalize — the more pro-Trump old guard in the Baptist world, with a strong inclination toward various forms of chauvinism and Christian nationalism.
.. It is not a coincidence that Russell Moore, perhaps the most prominent anti-Trump Baptist, provided early support to Patterson’s critics — while Robert Jeffress, whose Dallas church sets “Make America Great Again” to music, labeled the calls for Patterson’s resignation a “witch hunt.”
.. it’s wiser to regard an era of exposure like this one as a test, which can be passed but also failed. A discredited “old guard” doesn’t automatically lose power; a chauvinism revealed doesn’t just evaporate. And the temptation to dismiss discomfiting revelations as fake news, to retreat back into ignorance and self-justification, is at least as powerful as the impulse to really reckon with the truth.
.. So the question posed by this age of revelation is simple: Now that you know something new and troubling and even terrible about your leaders or your institutions, what will you do with this knowledge?
President Trump resembles a Geiger counter: When he emits increasing howls, he is signaling that we’re approaching some radioactive or explosive truth.
Trump is said to be near a “meltdown” in his fury at what he describes as “an attack on our country” — by which he means the ongoing criminal investigation of him. It’s a phrase that he has not used about Russia’s interference with our elections
.. Americans by a 69-percent-to-13-percent majority oppose the firing of Mueller. Even Republicans say by more than a two-to-one ratio that Trump shouldn’t fire Mueller.
.. It may be that Republicans in Congress would get over their indignation, form a protective circle and try to move on, for that’s what has happened every time Trump has committed some new outrage.
.. In any case, that would not automatically end the separate investigation that led to the raid on Michael Cohen’s files, and it might even fuel state investigations and prosecutions in New York.
.. If Trump were to recklessly end an investigation into whether he is obstructing justice, that would seem prima facie evidence of obstruction of justice. Trump should have learned something from firing James Comey; that misstep didn’t stop the investigation but assured that Comey’s book will be a best seller when it comes out next week, and handed Comey the ABC interview in which he apparently compares Trump to a mob boss.
.. the political price of pardons will be increasingly costly — and they won’t provide protection from state prosecutions.
.. Trump says he’s the victim of a “witch hunt,” but it’s actually a “criminal hunt” — one presided over by Republicans, most of whom he has appointed.
President Trump reacted angrily Monday to news that federal agents had raided the office and home of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen — calling the action “disgraceful” and describing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as “an attack on our country.”
.. “It’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt,” said Trump, who claimed that he had “given over a million pages in documents to the special counsel. They continue to just go forward … and I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now. Actually it’s much more than that. You could say right after I won the [2016 Republican] nomination it started.”
Trump also accused Mueller’s investigators of being “the most biased group of people [with] the biggest conflicts of interest” and said Attorney General Jeff Sessions “made a terrible mistake for the country” when he recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation last year.
A source close to the White House told Fox News’ John Roberts that the raid showed that the Mueller investigation “is out of control” and was a “demonstration of bad faith” on the part of the special counsel.
.. Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, said Monday’s raid was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan and was based at least partly on a referral from Mueller.
.. A source close to the Trump legal team told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge that the raid on Cohen was “aggressive” and designed to “squeeze the president.” The source, who has knowledge of talks between Mueller and the president’s legal team, added that the raid “puts a fork in” the prospect of Trump agreeing to be interviewed by the special counsel.
.. Under Justice Department regulations, Mueller is required to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when his investigators uncover new evidence that may fall outside his original mandate. Rosenstein then would determine whether to allow Mueller to proceed or to assign the matter to another U.S. attorney or another part of the Justice Department.
.. “Why don’t I just fire Mueller?” asked Trump, repeating a reporter’s question to him Monday night. “Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We’ll see what happens, but I think it’s really a sad situation when you look at what happened.
“And many people have said, ‘You should fire him.'” Trump added. “… So we’ll see what happens … this is a pure and simple witch hunt.”