This is the day we’ve all been waiting for


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It’s remarkable how you can spend so long waiting in anticipation for something to happen, and then once it gets underway, it just flies by. It feels like Donald Trump’s criminal trial is just getting started, and yet the prosecution’s final major witness is already the majority of the way through his testimony. There’s a reason to believe that today is going to be the big day of the trial. Let me explain why.

It’s already clear that Trump’s defense presentation is going to be a dud. If anything his attorneys will merely call rogue “experts” who are willing to take the stand and insist that Trump secretly won the election by twelve billion votes, in an effort to keep Trump sated. There are even media reports that Trump’s attorneys may not call any witnesses. Either way, the defense presentation isn’t going to have any impact on the verdict. Nor are closing arguments going to have any impact.

This kind of case doesn’t come down to defense witnesses or impassioned closing arguments. It comes down to a large group of prosecution witnesses each spelling out the defendant’s guilt and corroborating each others’ testimony, along with a ton of documents to further corroborate it all. There’s no undoing this after the fact. The defense’s only faint hope of winning this trial is to crack one of these witnesses in a way that somehow causes all of the witnesses’ testimony to unravel. Given that Michael Cohen is the final witness, this is the defense’s last chance.

Thus far Trump has spent Cohen’s testimony in a dementia stupor, paying no attention to the proceedings and dozing off while looking at photos of his rally crowds. It’s not even clear that Trump remembers or understands who Cohen is. Accordingly Trump’s attorneys spent Cohen’s direct testimony sitting there doing nothing. And on cross examination, Trump’s attorneys seemed to be tepidly trying to guess what kind of questions Trump would want asked if he were among the living.

Today will be Cohen’s second and final day of cross examination. We don’t yet know if Trump has awoken from his stupor and instructed his defense attorneys to make a big showing of it today, or if Trump is still passed out somewhere. But either way, today will go poorly for Trump’s team. Either they’ll do something big and desperate that backfires, or they’ll just quietly run out the clock with Cohen while Trump nods off.

Either way, by the end of today, it should be abundantly clear to everyone involved that Trump is hosed. Once Cohen’s cross examination is over, and Trump’s team still hasn’t managed to put a single dent in the prosecution’s case, that’ll be the ballgame. By the end of today, Trump’s already-slim odds of acquittal will drop to as low as they can possibly drop.

Yes, the prosecution still reportedly has one more unnamed witness coming up after Cohen. And yes, the defense will do whatever it’s going to do with its own witnesses. Plenty of ratings-hungry media voices will surely then tell us that the case will come down solely to the closing arguments, so you’ll spend those days glued to your screen. But in reality, Trump’s faint hope of acquittal will die by the end of today. Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for: the day that Trump finally gets locked into a near-certain path to felony conviction.

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