The anti-Trumpers have been doing cart-wheels over the Woodward portrayal of the president as an unhinged tyrant who’s clearly unfit to rule. Still, the only sure path to bringing him down — as it has been all along — is the Mueller report and whether it will persuade the House to begin impeachment proceedings. But a convincing case for impeachment, in truth, seems to be faltering. Consider:
The guilty plea of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen (tax evasion and campaign finance violations) was flagged by the media as the probable end for the president, with Mr. Cohen ostensibly primed to spill so much scandalous stuff that even Republicans might feel obliged to vote for impeachment. But that threat has faded.
Mr. Cohen’s most damaging charge is that Mr. Trump directed him to pay hush money to two women with whom he had affairs. But a score of prominent campaign finance experts — Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz and George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley spring to mind — insist, even if true, no felony was committed as Mr. Trump’s enemies have claimed. Even President Obama’s former White House counsel, Bob Bauer, sides with the president’s legal team here. So does Bradley Smith, the ex-chief of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which enforces the campaign finance law.
Mr. Cohen, moreover, has turned into a very shaky truth-teller. He has told at least three damaging tales about Mr. Trump, which Lanny Davis, his personal lawyer, felt impelled to walk back or retract because of their tenuous ties to reality.
The New York Times had the bloggers atwitter suggesting that retiring White House Counsel Donald McGahn had given the Mueller team fodder for an “obstruction of justice” charge. Buried deep in the piece, however, was this: Mr. McGahn told “investigators that he never saw Trump get beyond his legal authorities ” And would this president have just heaped lavish praise on Mr. McGahn for his public service if he thought Mr. McGahn had placed him in legal jeopardy? Not a chance.