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Trump World confronts a tidal wave of scandals, investigations

Trump's closing message in 2016 said that if Clinton won, Americans would confront years of exhausting scandals. Oops.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen during a press conference at Los Pinos on Aug. 31, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen during a press conference at Los Pinos on Aug. 31, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico.

In the final days of the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's closing message urged Americans to reject Hillary Clinton, not just because she was wrong, but because her election would lead to an exhausting number of scandals.

On Nov. 2, 2016, Politico  reported, "Trump predicted that Clinton's election would bring 'an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis' because of the looming investigation and suggested Americans would not want to endure a second Clinton administration marred by scandal."

Three days later, Trump insisted that Clinton, as president, couldn't possibly be expected to govern -- because the distraction of a federal investigation would make such an endeavor impossible.

All of this came to mind when I saw this report in the New York Times.

The [FBI searches of Michael Cohen's office and hotel room] open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with [Special Counsel Robert Mueller].Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice.

Well, sure, when you put it that way, it starts to look bad for the president -- especially after he warned the electorate about the costs of electing a leader mired in scandal.

Indeed, let's not miss the forest for the trees. While the day-to-day developments in and around Trump World are themselves amazing, it's worth pausing to appreciate the fact the president is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, and he surrounded himself with people who've been indicted, have already pleaded guilty, or are currently under investigation.

And if we widen the aperture a bit, the picture gets even less flattering. NBC News published a list yesterday of Trump administration figures "accused of crossing ethical lines," and the list wasn't at all short. The president himself, of course, is accused of ignoring ethics rules and profiting from his office, but the list included familiar controversies involving EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, former HHS Secretary Tom Price, regulatory adviser Carl Icahn, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, former CDC Director, Brenda Fitzgerald, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

That's not even an exhaustive list. By my count, I'd also throw in related controversies surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and even former VA Secretary David Shulkin.

If you voted for the Republican ticket in 2016 because you hoped to avoid four years of scandal, I have some very bad news for you.