In case you were just out yesterday living your best news-free life in the last few weeks of summer, allow us to update you on the Kardashian-level drama that dropped in on the White House. Two people very close to Trump and supporting actors in the soap opera that is our country, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, are now facing prison time. This means Trump should be nervous as hell right now and we should all break out the popcorn.
First, in Virginia, we’ve got Manafort. Trump’s former campaign manager was found guilty yesterday of tax evasion and bank fraud. Minutes after, in New York, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations. To add a cherry on top, Cohen admitted he made all those unlawful contributions (specifically to silence women who `had criminally hot-goss on Trump) “at the direction of a political candidate.” Who could this candidate be, I wonder?
What does all this actually mean for our president? His personal lawyer pleaded guilty and his campaign manager was convicted. I’m not a detective, but this isn’t a great look. Besides just the fact that people incredibly close to him were breaking the law, this is the first time Trump has been attached to anything potentially criminal as president. Before yesterday, the investigation into Russian interference with our election was focused on people on the edges of Trump. Cohen’s confession that he was following the orders of the president by using campaign finances to pay off a porn star and a former playboy model now paves a clear path to actually implicating Trump.
Regardless of how the president tries to frame all of this on his Twitter or at his rallies, referring to Manafort as a “good man” and calling the investigation a McCarthyism throwback “witch hunt,” Cohen’s guilty plea and Manafort’s conviction mean Trump is walking on some seriously shady eggshells right now. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator and possible 2020 candidate, released an anti-corruption platform Tuesday. She added that the era of Trump “has given us the most nakedly corrupt leadership this nation has seen in our lifetimes.”
If we’ve learned anything about Trump so far, though, we know he was born without a sense of shame and he’s not afraid to fight back when it’s clear to everyone (ok, just the majority of the country) that he’s wrong. The next step could possibly be pardoning Manafort or revoking more security clearances, but his behavior has been unpredictable so far. The good news is, yesterday led us closer than ever to the truth. In a time when facts are alternative, the undeniable evidence in these cases with tapes, recordings, and documents are key. Don’t pop the champagne yet, but maybe put it on ice.
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