Michael Cohen’s Testimony Today Was Explosive, But Probably Not Explosive Enough

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 I assume you’ve all been getting your Michael Cohen fixes elsewhere. I myself only watched his testimony off and on, and taken as a whole it confirmed for me that it’s going to be hard to nail Donald Trump on anything. As explosive as Cohen’s testimony was, it’s clear that Trump treated even trusted associates with the caution and animal cunning of a mob boss who’s aware that even the most private conversation might be bugged. He never told anyone to lie to Congress. (He may have told them to lie to the public, but that’s not illegal.) He never got his own hands dirty. He never said anything that could be directly incriminating. For example:

Cohen alleges that in July of 2016, Trump held a phone call with longtime adviser Roger Stone, in which Stone informed him that a WikiLeaks dump of Hillary Clinton emails was coming, to which Trump said something like: “Wouldn’t that be great.”

Was Trump aware of this before it happened? Did he play any role in getting WikiLeaks to dump the emails? Maybe, but who knows?

I could end up being wrong about this—I hope I’m wrong about this—but I continue to suspect that Mueller will end up with lots of indictments of Trump associates but nothing clear enough to get to Trump himself.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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