Paul Manafort (left) and Michael Cohen
In the span of an hour Tuesday, two people close to President Trump in the 2016 campaign who have been ensnared in legal troubles were found guilty in separate courts. And with that, Trump’s already questionable attacks on the independent Russia investigation into election meddling took an even bigger credibility hit.
Let’s start with a direct challenge to Trump’s version of events during the campaign that Trump appears to have just lost.
Trump originally said he didn’t know about his longtime lawyer and fixer’s efforts to pay off women during the campaign who said they had affairs with the president. Later he said he wasn’t doing anything wrong. That lawyer, Michel Cohen, just pleaded guilty in New York court, saying that he not only paid off those women to help Trump win the election — a potential campaign finance violation — but that he did it “in coordination and at the direction of” Trump.
In other words, Trump maintains that he had nothing to do with anything unsavory or illegal; Cohen just pleaded guilty to doing those things because Trump told him to. Cohen has already released some tapes that appear to back up his version of events. Now he has testified that it happened.
And it’s infinitely harder for Trump to logically claim he’s the one telling the truth when the other person faces jail time for telling a court his version of events.
Read the entire analysis here.