We can be grateful for some unlikely gifts this week. We’re lucky, as it turns out, that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III was so sharp in criticizing prosecutors in the Manafort case that an upset lead attorney, Greg Andres, protested at one point, “The court interrupts every single one of the government’s [direct questions], every single one.” After Ellis’s interjections, it will be difficult for Trump’s defenders to argue that the trial was biased in favor of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team.
We’re probably fortunate, too, that the jury reached a split verdict, convicting Manafort on eight of 18 counts. Reportedly because of one holdout juror, the panel was not unanimously convinced by the entire case presented by the government. For a divided America, this outcome ought to evoke our national icon of justice — blindfolded and holding a balance in her hand to weigh the evidence fairly.
And however odd it seems, we should celebrate the fact that Cohen, the man who did Trump’s legal dirty work for so many years, decided that he wanted to cop a plea — and, in the process, to present himself as a man seeking to serve his country by telling the truth at last about his former boss.
.. But interestingly, Russia does figure in Cohen’s motivations, according to Davis: After watching Trump support Russian President Vladimir Putin against U.S. intelligence agencies at the news conference following the Helsinki summit, Cohen “worried about the future of the country with somebody who was aligning himself with Mr. Putin,” Davis told NBC on Wednesday.
As Trump’s world collapses around him, the danger for the country arguably increases. Trump could lash out at his tormentors, reasoning that a constitutional crisis is his only possible salvation; the partisan fever in America could spike even further, with angry people on both sides taking to the streets; and foreign adversaries could seek to exploit our troubles.
.. For Republicans, there is a last chance over these next two months to finally show some guts and principle by separating themselves from Trump.