February 27th, 2019, in my humble opinion, represents one of the darkest days in American History.

As I was preparing for my third day of conferences covering the collection of personal data on American consumers and how to deal with the privacy issues being addressed around the world, I turned on the news to get an update on the progress President Trump was making with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  This second summit, as we could all see, was critical to the furtherance of the pledge Chairman Kim had made to move towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

My focus this day was on my meetings with the CEOs and representatives from many of the digit giants as well as hearing directly from Google, Facebook and others they presented their cases for the protection of consumer data and the future of the Internet.  As the consumer advocate for over a million consumers here in the states, the GDPR in Europe and the new Data Privacy Law in California were first and foremost in my mind.  However, that all changed as the news commentators were discussing the opening of the congressional hearing and the testimony about to be made by one Michael Cohen, convicted felon and former personal attorney for Donald Trump.

What I wanted to hear about was the North Korea Summit.  I, like millions of Americans, take the threat of nuclear war very seriously when you consider where we were sitting just 2 years ago.  For over 70 years North Korea has posed a threat to millions of lives and in more recent years, a direct threat to these United States.   I have been so pleased with the progress and changes that have been made in the relations between North Korea and the United States, not to mention the amazing state of peace being developed between North and South Korea.   However this summit, this historic time was being overshadowed by what appeared to be another political circus act by congressional members to damage the image of President Trump.   Now do not get me wrong, I am not always happy with the statements coming from President Trump nor does his past relationships with women outside of his marriage bring to mind anything but heartfelt pain for the First Lady and his family.  The bottom line is this:  we did not elect a choir boy as President.  We hired a tough business man to clean up decades of problems in Washington and as far as I can see, he is doing just that.  We elected Donald Trump because we “Americans” were tired of the status quo with nothing getting done in Washington DC.

As I listened to the Republican Congress Members talking about the “timing” of this hearing and how Democrats were bringing in Mr. Cohen to testify as to his knowledge of Donald Trump’s business dealings and alleged payments that may be considered a violation of campaign finance laws, and how this was a direct attempt to split the screen from the good news from the Trump Summit and the Cohen attack on Donald Trump, this was the first thought that ran through my mind. How can the President of the United States keep his mind in the game, stay focused on the negotiations with Chairman Kim, when the world is watching the Democrats and Republicans battle back and forth over his business dealings and personal life before he came to office.

Then I asked myself, what affect on Kim is this making and what is going through his mind.  Then, it hit me.  The Democrats are playing right into the hand of Chairman Kim Jong Un.  They are handing him a way OUT of the negotiations.  A way to NOT give up the nukes.    If Chairman Kim thinks for one minute that our congress is in a deadlock, that President Trump is headed for impeachment proceedings, that the infighting between the house and senate and the Republicans and Democrats places the USA in a state of total chaos, well what is the incentive for him to disarm his country?   We all know the ONLY reason Chairman Kim is at the negotiation table and has made significant changes to his missile testing, nuclear arms posturing and peace efforts with the South, is because he was afraid President Trump would simply use our military to take him out.  If the North Korea leader felt for a minute that Congress was not fully backing the President, then the hand being held by Chairman Kim would be quit different and he may just push back away from the commitment made in 2018.

So here is my point, my concern and our collective nightmare. If any member of the US Congress did, with any intention, orchestrate the timing of the Michael Cohen testimony in order to disrupt or interfere with the peace mission Summit with North Korea, then it could be considered action taken in direct conflict with their oath of office and potentially an act of treason as defined by law.  At least that is the question I have for the Office of Congressional Ethics and other departments within our government.   For as I read the Constitution, Article III Section 3…. “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort…”  If the timing of the hearing with Michael Cohen did not give aid and comfort to the leader of North Korea, I’m not sure what else would.

I realize that treason is a very strong word and one we should never use without full justification for it.  I do not claim to know the answer as to whether an act of treason was committed… for I was not there and I do not understand how this all came about timing wise. However, it is very difficult to understand why congressional leaders would even allow such testimony to be given, knowing full well the extent and content of such testimony, on the same day our country is in the process of moving forward one of the greatest peace missions in decades.  Politically motivated strategic moves are the norm for both the Republicans and Democrats.  If my thoughts are correct, then this goes way beyond a simple political move that creates an opening and talking points for Presidential candidates. This could very well have an ongoing and critical impact on the safety of the Korean region and our country as well.

As I finish writing this, I just pulled up the news reports which indicate the summit has fallen short or failed.  This is terrible news and I in part hope and pray that “My Take” on this matter is wrong.  Why?  Because if I am right, then certainly yesterday was indeed one of the darkness days in the history of our country.

Wayne Warrington
Consumer Advocate


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