Trump’s relationship with Cohen, a lawyer so disreputable that no one else would want his representation, is off the charts.
Q: What kind of lawyer tapes his client (as Trump has asked in recent days)? A: Cohen, whose lack of standards is what made him so useful in the first place.
.. Trump’s supporters (most of them) acknowledge his serious shortcomings but think it’s more important to focus on his agenda and accomplishments. It’s difficult to find a further personal peccadillo that can budge anyone from these trench lines, since there’s no real contest over his character to begin with.
.. The irony is that Trump’s detractors hate him so much that they have created, perhaps, an impossibly high standard for his misconduct.
- It’s not damning enough for them that the Russians interfered in our election and Trump is dismissive of it;
- Trump has to be a quasi-Russian agent who actively colluded with the Kremlin, perhaps going back decades.
- It’s not damning enough that Trump had affairs with a porn star and Playmate; he has to have committed some serious criminal offense in the course of covering his tracks... When Giuliani says that the Cohen tape is exculpatory, he doesn’t mean that it proves there was nothing to the McDougal story and where does his client go to get his reputation back? He means that Trump was upfront and transparent about buying her story — he wanted to do it by check.
.. With Trump having delivered on important priorities for the Right and enjoying a hysterical opposition that pushes Republicans toward him, the Fifth Avenue principle applies now more than ever. To update it for current circumstances, Trump could pay off Karen McDougal with a black satchel full of cash in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters
.. Perhaps there will be some inescapable legal dilemma for Trump that emerges out of the Cohen imbroglio. But the president has a very wide margin for error. The lesson of these controversies so far is that there’s nothing low expectations won’t do.