All those tweets, posts, and predictions that started with tick-tick-tick … today they went boom.
In an amazing period of just a few minutes on Tuesday afternoon the jury in the trial of Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort returned a verdict of guilty on eight counts, and two minutes later Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts. Barring a pardon from Trump, today’s findings against both Manafort and Cohen are enough to earn the two men years behind bars.
But while the day was a vindication for the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, it was an even bigger black mark against Donald Trump than anyone was expecting.
While there was nothing in Michael Cohen’s plea before a federal judge to indicate that he had reached any cooperating agreement, his actual statements were more damning for Trump than anyone imagined coming into this day. Before the judge, under oath, Cohen stated that he made payments “In coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” in knowing violation of campaign finance law.
Cohen’s statement was as direct an indictment of Donald Trump as any statement made against Nixon during Watergate. Trump is now officially an unindicted co-conspirator to the crime committed by Cohen. More than that, this is a conspiracy that happened at the direction of Trump.
Donald Trump is guilty, says Michael Cohen under oath.
And in two hours, Trump will take the stage at yet another rally to scream “fake news” and “witch hunt” and (because it’s in West Virginia) “clean coal.” This is an extraordinary day in American history … and it’s not over. Though if Donald Trump wanted to just aim Air Force One at Moscow and keep going, I think we could all agree to let him keep the plane.