So now it’s confirmed, as a matter of legal record, that President Donald Trump organized a scheme to violate federal election laws. He directed his longtime personal attorney to pay at least one woman for silence. That attorney got the money by lying to a bank to get a home-equity line of credit.
It’s a matter of legal record, too, that Trump’s campaign chair was a huge-scale crook. Despite his desperate financial straits, he volunteered to work for Trump for free—and Trump accepted.
These two cases complete the beginnings of the story. They are not the story in full. The Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases are like the first rocky outcroppings a ship passes as it makes landfall. They are examples of the kind of people willing to work for Trump—and the way that those people carried on their business. They indicate why one of Trump’s sons would write “I love it” when offered stolen information about the Hillary Clinton campaign by a purported representative of the Russian government, how so much doubtful money flowed into the Trump Organization after 2006, and why Trump dares not publish his tax returns.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office replied to a query from The Washington Post about the Cohen case: “We are aware of Mr. Cohen’s guilty plea to these serious charges. We will need more information than is currently available at this point.” Of course, a major priority of Ryan’s speakership has been to protect himself and his party against unearthing “more information” about Trump’s campaign, Trump’s businesses, and Trump’s finances. But despite his incuriosity, more information will almost certainly head his way, unless …