The United States may be heading towards a constitutional crisis following the conviction of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen’s guilty plea. Cohen’s confession of crimes was especially spectacular and has the potential to severely damage President Donald Trump.
Manafort was convicted on 8 count of bank and tax fraud, while Cohen admitted campaign finance law violations, claiming he was directed by a candidate for federal office. His lawyer Lanny Davis later identified this candidate as Trump.
News organisations all over the world are speculating about Trump’s future today, with experts on the American constitution, law and politics voicing their belief that this may be the beginning of the end.
“We have a constitutional crisis. Trump is an existential threat,” one expert on authoritarianism, Sarah Kendzior, tweeted. “Every now and again — Helsinki, Charlottesville, Comey firing, migrant kidnapping — officials seem to finally grasp this. Today is such a day. But it was always true, and will remain true — unless the GOP impeaches.”
A former special counsel to President Barack Obama suggested that this was a dangerous moment for Trump.
“This is the worst hour of Trump’s entire presidency – no, make that entire life,” Norma Eisler tweeted.
US media rounded on Trump last night, with the New Yorker declaring it ‘the end stage of the Trump presidency.’ While not everyone is so sure about the impact, Cohen has accused Trump of committing and/or directing crimes, this is an issue that will not simply go away.
Outside the US, the picture is no better. Britain’s Guardian newspaper is running an op-ed that should make grim reading for Trump.
“After Michael Cohen’s day in court, the president is in very real legal jeopardy. It’s now conceivable he could be forced to resign,” Richard Wollfe’s op-ed says.
Preet Bharara, the former US attorney fired by President Trump, was clear last night.
“POTUS cannot scapegoat his imaginary ’16 angry [D]emocrats’ for the prosecution and conviction of his very close friend and personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who very publicly accused Trump of a federal crime,” he said on Twitter.