Love or hate Donald Trump, one thing is likely: The Trump presidency is going to make a riveting crime TV miniseries. We have hush money, secret recordings, an adult film star, a former Playboy playmate, witnesses “flipping” and a whole lot of tweets. And that’s just based on what we’ve seen so far.
Trump could, of course, be played by Alec Baldwin. Though Al Pacino might be a better fit, given his experience playing a mafia kingpin in “The Godfather” films.
The series would have to begin with Trump descending the gold escalator at Trump Tower in June 2015 to announce his candidacy for president. Speaking of Trump Tower, there clearly needs to be an entire episode dedicated to the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians.The episode could open with Donald Trump Jr., possibly played by Topher Grace who just did an amazing job as David Duke in “BlacKkKlansman,” receiving an email in June 2016 from a friend informing him that several individuals linked to the Kremlin want to help his father’s campaign.
I can just see a gleeful Trump Jr. reading parts of the email out loud: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia…provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary…This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
An excited Trump Jr. turns from his computer, picks up his phone and calls someone. It’s a blocked number. Is he calling his father? The audience will have to decide.
There could also be a pivotal episode focused on just one day: January 27, 2017. That’s the day Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos spoke to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. In the scene, we see Papadopoulos is clearly lying. (In a later episode of the series, Papadopoulos would plead guilty for that crime.)
But that’s not the only thing that happened on January 27. Recently sworn in President Trump called then FBI director James Comey and asked him to have dinner – at least that’s Comey’s version. Cut to Comey and Trump having dinner, alone. Trump asks Comey for his “loyalty.” A stunned Comey stops eating, looks up at Trump, and as he opens his mouth to speak, we cut to commercial.
Trump has denied that he asked for Comey’s loyalty, so it would be up to the audience to decide if Trump, who even his close friends have admitted demands loyalty, is telling the truth.
There are just so many other must-see episodes that this Trump crime series promises – for example, one focused on Trump’s former National Security adviser Michael Flynn. The episode opens with Flynn at the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016, chanting with the audience “lock her up” – a reference to then-candidate Hillary Clinton. Then we cut to the winter of 2017. Flynn enters a federal courtroom. He enters a guilty plea for lying to the FBI regarding his conversation with the Russian ambassador.
But the most compelling episode – or maybe it has to be two episodes because there’s so much to cover – must be what took place this past week. First, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on eight different felonies. I’m betting that the cantankerous judge who presided over the case, T.S. Ellis, will be a real scene stealer with his lines from the trial like, “They made a mistake when they confirmed me. I’m not very patient, so don’t try my patience, either.” Bruce Willis might be a good fit for that role.
The most dramatic part of that episode, though, has to be when we see Trump’s longtime fixer and personal lawyer Michel Cohen enter federal court to plead guilty to several financial and election-related crimes.
We first hear Cohen, who must be played by Ben Stiller, admit to crimes about his financial misconduct. The drama then builds as Cohen gets to counts seven and eight of the charges. Cohen admits he violated campaign finance laws. The camera zooms in on Cohen’s face. We see a bead of sweat on Cohen’s face. He clears his voice and then declares that he violated these federal election laws “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” We cut to Trump in the White House screaming at his television while throwing a half-full can of Diet Coke at the screen. (OK, I took dramatic license with Trump’s reaction, but it’s plausible!)
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And there are several possible other episodes, just based on the news of the last few days. Trump’s long-time friend David Pecker, who publishes the National Enquirer, and Trump organization CFO Allen Weisselberg have both been granted immunity in connection with the investigation of Cohen and Trump paying hush money to help the 2016 campaign. Who knows what might come next?
The challenge with the TV series is that we don’t know how it’s going to end. Will Trump be impeached? Or will he remain Teflon Don? While it’s hard to predict, one thing is almost certain – this series will draw huge ratings and that, ironically, will make the ratings-obsessed Trump quite happy.