This time they’ve surely got him. Pack your bags, Mr. President. The game is up. Because this week we learned that . . . that . . . well, there’s this tape, see, recorded by Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in September of 2016, during which the then-presidential candidate discussed setting up a company for the purpose of paying off alleged former paramour Karen McDougal to make her go away.
Did Trump and Cohen actually pay her off? No, but . . . but . . . c’mon, it would have been a campaign-finance violation! If it had happened. Or it was sort of a campaign-finance violation once removed, because the company that owns the National Enquirer paid for the rights to the McDougal story but then never ran anything on it, and maybe Trump knew about this!
Trump-is-doomed stories are one of the media’s favorite fairy tales. Remember when you saw “Peter Pan” when you were 4 and you actually thought that clapping for Tinkerbell would bring her back to life? Pundits think that if they cheer loudly enough for Trump to get eighty-sixed, it’ll happen. His (first?) term in office is more than a third over, and the Very Serious Commentators have been ushering him out the door the entire time. Or at least they’ve been trying to. It turns out that Trump doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the usher-pundits.
“Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency,” ran a headline in The New Yorker. That was back on April 14. Writer Adam Davidson gravely averred, “This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth.”