Manafort is found guilty by a jury. None of those charges were related to anything connected to President Trump. Though it shows the Mueller team can build a prosecution case, it also shows that some charges are beyond a jury’s ability to process and sort out. It seems the Manafort jurors split the baby as best they could.
Michael Cohen, the President’s lawyer, pleads guilty. Yes, there is a recurring and ironic pattern that has Team “Lock Her Up” getting locked up. Cohen’s guilty plea is far more damaging to the President than Manafort being found guilty. Cohen, by his plea, acknowledges the President’s involvement in those acts that Cohen admits are crimes.
This should be bad news for the President. This should be a bad day for the President. Many chattering heads on television are convinced it was a terrible, no good, very bad day for President Donald Trump.
It was not.
It was not a bad day for President Trump because none of this is bringing down the President. It may bring down the House of Representatives, but probably not the Senate. And even if it brought down the Senate, it would not bring about impeachment. To the extent it brings about the downfall of the House Republicans, that probably helps Trump in 2020.
This does not bring about impeachment because you will be hard pressed to find 2/3 of the Senate voting for impeachment. Likewise, because the predicate act on the Cohen issue happened before the Presidency, the leadership of the House Democrats are going to have some qualms — unstated and never publicly acknowledged — with pushing impeachment.
None of this has anything to do with Russia, which just gives the GOP a talking point.
On the Republican side, it does not matter. The GOP has now so totally become a party in opposition to the Democrats rather than in support of any position that the President’s support is baked in. There is no video of the President using the N word. There is no order Cohen to commit crimes or anything else. Omarosa is off the front page and trying desperately to get back on it with a series of lame videos.
There is just Michael Cohen at center stage. He can now say whatever he wants to say, but the President’s supporters will treat him now as a traitor out to get their man because he has not been pardoned so is bitter.
By the end of this week, I expect we will find Trump supporters claiming that the candidate Cohen acknowledged he was working with was actually Hillary Clinton.
No, yesterday was not a bad day for President Trump. It was a good day. He is still President. His supporters still love him. And to the extent this causes voters to put Democrats in charge of the House, it gives the President some group he can more easily vilify. Yes, for a normal President and a normal presidency, yesterday would have been terrible. But this is no normal President and no normal presidency. This presidency feeds off this sort of chaos and his supporters rally to him at times like these.