#TheResistance thinks they got him.

The convictions of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are it. Trump’s gonna go.

Not so fast.

The Manafort conviction doesn’t even tangentially involve Trump or the Trump campaign in any wrongdoing. Manafort was prosecuted because he made the wrong life decision to affiliate with the Trump campaign to help manage the anticipated convention floor flight. But for that decision, Manafort never would have been targeted by prosecutors on charges previously ignored by federal investigators. That Manafort was prosecuted because he knew Trump does not implicate Trump in the wrongdoing.

The Michael Cohen plea deal is potentially more problematic. Cohen said he made the payments to buy the silence of two women with the knowledge and at the direction of a federal candidate (Trump). That contradicts Cohen prior versions. But assuming it’s provable, it’s not clear that the payments were illegal. The issue is whether they constituted unreported campaign contributions, which is not a slam dunk for prosecutors. In the plea deal the issue was not litigated – Cohen agreed to it because the prosecution had him on more serious tax and fraud charges, so adding in the campaign finance issues was at no cost to Cohen.

John Hinderaker summed it up well:

It is not illegal to pay someone to remain silent. The theory here is that the money paid to Clifford was an illegal campaign contribution. Since Cohen says he made the payment to Clifford at Trump’s direction, Mueller is trying to ensnare Trump in that “crime.” To my knowledge, there is no legal authority on whether paying a woman to keep her mouth shut constitutes a campaign contribution. It strikes me as a foolish interpretation of the law, and forcing Cohen to plead guilty to the “crime” of paying off Ms. Clifford doesn’t transform it into a crime.

The reason none of this will hurt Trump is that it’s all baked into the cake.

There isn’t much about Trump’s personality or conduct that wasn’t exposed prior to the 2016 election, including alleged Russian collusion.

People who hated Trump before still hate him. People who loved Trump before, still love him. People who care most about the economy still care most about the economy.

People who viewed the 2016 election as the Flight 93 Election also view the 2018 and 2020 elections as Flight 93 elections (and they are).

It’s August 21. This will not be a big election issue.

Donald Trump famously said that he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and not lose supporters.

We’re not even approaching that territory.

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