Paul Manafort‘s guilty verdict and Michael Cohen‘s plea deal helped reinstate Americans’ trust in their legal system, one columnist argued — and may be evidence that the country is steering towards some sort of recovery from the damage inflicted by Donald Trump.
Longtime Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote Thursday evening that on August 21, “many people shared a similar sense that our legal system had worked — that it had surmounted its first big challenge in containing a lawless and defiant president.”
Had Cohen not taken his plea deal and Manafort not been found guilty, Ignatius mused, “our national narrative would today be headed in a different direction.”
The writer noted that the Manafort trial, in particular, has provided some “unlikely gifts.”
One such gift came in the repeated interjections of U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who was “so sharp in criticizing prosecutors” that the government’s lead attorney in the case charged him with interrupting “every single” argument the prosecution made. This outcome will make it hard for Trump’s defenders to argue that the trial was biased in favor of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team,” Ignatius wrote.
“For a divided America, this outcome ought to evoke our national icon of justice — blindfolded and holding a balance in her hand to weigh the evidence fairly,” the writer observed.
In spite of this week’s turning point, Ignatius noted, America is far from out of the woods.
“Trump could lash out at his tormentors, reasoning that a constitutional crisis is his only possible salvation,” he wrote. “The partisan fever in America could spike even further, with angry people on both sides taking to the streets; and foreign adversaries could seek to exploit our troubles.”
Nevertheless, the Cohen and Manafort news makes it seem more likely “that America is heading toward a gradual recovery from the trauma of the Trump presidency,” the writer pointed out.
You can read Ignatius’ entire editorial via the Post.