Black Tuesday for the Trump Administration!!! Or was it?
Two members of President Trump's inner circle were both found guilty yesterday in federal court. Paul Manafort was convicted on 8 of 18 charges for, well, crimes you'd pretty much expect from any shady foreign lobbyist… mostly tax and bank fraud. Michael Cohen on the other hand, in another court, plead guilty to a few charges, but most notably to campaign finance violations. Now listen to the verbiage in his guilty plea because it's relevant to President Trump. Cohen stated that he was:
In violation of campaign finance law at the behest of a candidate for federal office for the principal purpose of influencing an election.
So in non lawyer speak, Cohen is saying this, "Yeah… I paid those chicks off, but I only did it because my boss - who was the candidate for president at the time - asked me to. And the reason he wanted me to cover all this up was because it might have changed the course of the election."
The reason for the lawyer speak in the wording of "for the principal purpose of influencing an election" is because saying it like that matches up directly with the wording of the campaign finance law. U.S. election law states:
Campaign contributions, defined as things of value given to a campaign to influence an election, must be disclosed.
So Cohen knew exactly what he was doing here. He was going down, but he wanted to wound his old boss once more before he got fitted for his orange jumpsuit and sent to prison.
So was it Black Tuesday? Well, let's look at Manafort. Nothing Manafort was convicted of had anything at all to do with President Trump. Nothing. The optics look bad, given that he was once Trump's guy, but in the end… it's just optics. Now let's look at Cohen. Cohen's statement was very damning. It'll fuel impeachment Op Eds for months. It'll be talked about in panels on every mainstream cable news outlet for days.
If he had some kind of smoking gun, Cohen wouldn't be going to prison right now.
But consider this, with as bad as Cohen's accusations towards Trump were, why wasn't that ALONE worth some kind of immunity deal? Cohen's going to jail with no deal. Why? Could it be because he doesn't actually have proof that his boss made him do these things? Because if he had some kind of smoking gun, Cohen wouldn't be going to prison right now.
So Cohen's big accusation, the news that will dominate CNN and MSNBC for the next month, all boils down to just that… an accusation. His word against the President's. I'm not saying the President didn't do these things, in fact we all pretty much think or know that he did. But it's not what you think or know, it's what you can prove.
Black Tuesday? Not hardly.