It’s been a wild 24 hours for U.S. President Donald Trump.
President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty Tuesday on eight counts of financial fraud and found to have hidden millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts to evade taxes.
While not providing the best look for the company the president keeps, the Manafort conviction didn’t show much in the way of legal troubles and implication. But the second announced conviction was much more concerning to the leader of the free world.
Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, plead guilty within the same hour to eight criminal counts and even implicated the president in a potential campaign funds violation. The president responded in trademark Trump fashion:
If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Despite all the buzz created by the two legal proceedings, it’s important to remember that there’s a long-running tradition of presidents being exempt from indictment as CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza relayed in a Wednesday piece.
And so, if Cohen admitted he broke the law and testified that he did it at the direction of the President then, well, isn't Trump in deep trouble? Probably not. And the reason is that special counsel Robert Mueller's office has apparently signaled to the President's legal team that they will abide by longstanding Justice Department regulations that stipulate that a sitting President can't be indicted.
A source from the Trump Organization stated another factor in this case is the trustworthiness of Cohen as his character has slowly been diminishing for quite some time since Trump’s election. A biased claim to be sure, but a claim nonetheless.
“Even if Cohen says Trump told him to break the law, the source says, who's going to believe Cohen now, after admitting to lying?”
Trump’s ultimate fate likely won’t be impacted or decided upon in earnest until Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the president and Russia during the 2016 presidential election is concluded.
Cillizza acknowledged the investigation in his piece and stated that even though Mueller could potentially push to indict Trump against tradition, he would likely “let the (Russia) report speak for itself.”
Assuming Mueller does that, the political track will be the only way in which Trump could be punished in any meaningful way. To date, national Democrats have been reluctant to talk too much about possible impeachment proceedings against Trump -- leaving that sort of talk to a small number of ultra-liberal members of the party.
With indictment likely off the table, however, the possibility of impeachment is still very real and that’s exactly what a variety of sportsbooks around the world are taking bets on. The odds for such have obviously shifted since the stunning news broke.
Ladbrokes has a few intriguing markets on the President’s future in the White House that may be worth a look for political bettors on the cynical side.
On the flip side, the bookmaker offers 6/4 odds of the president leaving office via impeachment or resignation before end of first term. This market gives bettors a lot of leeway and a decent line to work with if they anticipate Trump will exit the Oval Office ahead of schedule.
888sport's markets are a little more straightforward and in-depth providing a simple “yes or no” market regarding Trump's fate this term. It gives the president -200 odds of lasting the full term in office and +100 odds to the contrary.
Another market lists years Trump could be impeached with odds of +1400 for 2018, +200 for 2019, +200 for 2020 and finally -200 that the president will not impeached before 2021.
So while these recent convictions could very well be windows into the future for the president, it’s currently a tad too early to tell for sure. But those interested definitely could take advantage of the fickleness of bettor activity that has changed the odds in light of current events.