Political News

A week of devastating body blows for Donald Trump

Posted August 24, 2018 7:31 p.m. EDT

— Consider President Donald Trump's past few days.

Tuesday, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is convicted in a Virginia court of eight felony counts of financial crimes, a case that grew out of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

POW!

Mere minutes later, in New York, Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal attorney, cuts a plea agreement in which he pleads guilty to eight charges including two that deal directly with payments made to women alleging they had affairs with Trump and they were paid off to keep quiet. Cohen says Trump "directed" and "coordinated" the payoffs, which would make the President of the United States an unindicted co-conspirator in an effort to end-run campaign finance law.

BOOM!

By Thursday, Trump learns that David Pecker, a longtime friend who owns the National Enquirer's parent company, has been granted immunity by the Southern District of New York. Pecker's company paid one of Trump's accusers -- former Playboy model Karen McDougal -- $150,000 in exchange for exclusive rights to her story. The publication never ran it (or intended to run it) -- a practice known as "catch and kill" in the tabloid world. Later that day, The Associated Press reports that Pecker kept all of his "catch and kill" deals in a safe and the safe included several deals related to Trump.

KERPLUNK!

Then on Friday comes word that Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has also been granted immunity to speak freely with the SDNY prosecutors about the Cohen investigation. While Trump's lawyers insisted they were unconcerned, if Weisselberg's immunity grant were extended to allow him to talk about anything he knows about Trump's finances, that could be the biggest news of the week.

THWACK!

And, don't forget, the week begins with Trump expressing unease with the news that broke over the weekend that White House Counsel Don McGahn had spent more than 30 hours in interviews with the special counsel's office.

ZAP!

The Point: Trump is no closer to being indicted today than he was at the start of the week. (The Justice Department has said a sitting president can't be indicted.) But the combined damage done by Manafort, Cohen, Pecker and Weisselberg put Trump's political fate -- read: impeachment -- on far shakier ground.

Below, the week that was, in 28 Trump headlines.

Monday:

Trump welcomes lawsuit over revoking Brennan's security clearance

Trump keeps up attacks on Mueller probe following McGahn revelation

Reuters: Trump concerned about perjury trap in interview with special counsel

Trump goes after the Fed again: 'I should be given some help'

Melania Trump confirms her first big solo trip as first lady, to Africa

Sources: Trump unsettled by McGahn's 30 hours with the special counsel

Tuesday:

Michael Cohen pleads guilty, implicates Trump

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

Trump decries Manafort verdict, says Mueller investigation a 'disgrace'

EPA rolls back Obama-era coal pollution rules 

Wednesday:

Trump lashes out at Cohen, Mueller probe as allies formulate strategy to protect presidency

Lanny Davis: Cohen would testify to Congress about Trump without immunity

NYT: Giuliani and Trump discussed potential fallout of a Manafort pardon

New York tax investigators subpoena Michael Cohen in Trump Foundation probe

Manafort judge weighed declaring mistrial over jury issues, court transcripts show

Sarah Sanders on Michael Cohen case: Trump 'did nothing wrong'

Thursday:

Trump says legal practice of flipping 'almost ought to be illegal'

Trump says 'everybody would be very poor' if he's impeached

Trump falsely says Michael Cohen's actions 'weren't crimes'

Trump admin disputes NYT report on Education Department plan to arm teachers

Pompeo announces fourth trip to North Korea

WSJ: National Enquirer publisher David Pecker granted immunity

Sessions hits back at Trump: DOJ won't be 'improperly influenced'

NY Times: DA looking at criminal charges against Trump Organization

Criminal justice overhaul is tabled -- for now

Friday:

Trump responds to Sessions: Go investigate Dems and critics

Trump Org official granted immunity in Cohen investigation

Trump says Pompeo won't go to North Korea

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