Josh Marshall, on whether it matters that the Stormy Daniels case goes first:
Second, as a colleague helped refresh my memory earlier in the week, it’s really not a notional offense. If we had known in the final weeks of the 2016 election that a presidential candidate would arrange a hefty payment to kill a story about his sleeping with a porn star and do it by committing tax fraud and campaign finance fraud, I don’t think any of us would have said, “Oh, well, that kind of stuff happens all the time. Let’s not pretend those types of fraud are crimes.” Indeed, Trump’s lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who executed the deal on Trump’s behalf, has already done jail time for the offense. It’s pretty hard to say it’s a non-issue when a guy a rung down the ladder already did time for the exact same facts and actions. In other words, we should all refresh our memories a bit. It’s not trying to commit election fraud, or launching a coup or stealing a lot of classified government property. But it’s not nothing either.
If it were up to me, would I want to see Trump indicted in Georgia or for the false electors scheme first? Sure. But it’s not. And there’s not all that much more to say about it. When you look at all the facts, it’s more irony than travesty. This is a real crime. It’s just that the other crimes are vastly more grave. That’s not a big point in Trump’s favor.
I have been reading Josh Marshall’s stuff for nearly twenty(!) years now, and I still find his perspective extremely helpful when trying to think through the crazy state of our politics.
Frankly, I’m not getting my hopes up that anything comes of any of the various cases against the former president. It’s not because there is no there there, but rathe because I tend to think that our system (writ large) is not really up to the task of dealing with this sort of crisis. That said, I still think all of this stuff is worth pursuing, if for no other reason than that the historical record is there.
I think it’s also worth noting that if one or more of these cases does land, we should be prepared for more Jan. 6 stuff. Again, that’s not a reason not to pursue criminal indictments and prosecutions against him, but it’s not like his hardcore supporters—to say nothing of all the right-wing extremists who have latched onto him for their own purposes—are going to shuffle quietly off the stage.