The Institutions Strike Back

If your mother always wanted you to be a lawyer, she’s in luck. Because for the duration of the Trump presidency, we’ve all basically been auditing law school via the media. In the past twenty-four hours alone we’ve learned about federal juries, bank fraud, tax regulations, pardon norms, cooperation agreements, plea deals, and campaign finance rules; all in the shadow of a hearty debate over the fresh legal theory that states “truth is not truth.” If nothing else, I think we can say with some certainty that this will be the last time an American presidential candidate will pay off an adult film star without filling out the proper paperwork first. A few thoughts on the matter from me: The Institutions Strike Back. 15 Quick Takes on Trump’s Very Bad Day in Court. (My mom didn’t care if I became a lawyer. She just hoped I’d never become a co-conspirator.)

+ Adam Davidson on the swamp’s craziest day yet. “The day had a feeling, on one level, of history, of recognizing that one is living through moments that will become central parts of the Trump Presidency. At the same time, the day felt small and shabby, as we learned more details about the crude crimes of those who surround the President.”

+ “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen.” Trump ripped Cohen and lauded Manafort. His tone supports the notion that Manafort might be destined for a pardon. But pardoning a convicted felon who could potentially testify against you would be crossing a red line (if we had any red lines left). Sidenote: If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, too bad, they’re all either working on this scandal or have quit the bar to launch a podcast.

+ “He considers a pardon from somebody who has acted so corruptly as president to be something he would never accept.” Lawyer Lanny Davis said Michael Cohen would not accept a pardon and added, “Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows.”

+ “In the ensuing months, Cohen went from a man who once told me he would take a bullet for Trump to one aiming directly at his former boss, making no secret of the fact that he felt he was being hung out to dry by the president and those around him, that he was strapped for cash, that he was willing to do whatever it took to protect his family.” No reporter has had more access to Michael Cohen than Emily Jane Fox. Here she is on Cohen’s day in court.

+ No reporter has followed the Manafort travails closer than Franklin Foer. Here, he attempts to answer the question: “Why did Manafort place himself in a position almost guaranteed to maximize his pain and suffering?”

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