Donald Trump Might Not Finish His First Term As Russia Investigation Closes In, CNN Legal Analysts Predicts

The Russia investigation continues to move closer to Trump with a new conviction for his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the White House lawn.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Russia investigation continues to move closer to Trump with a new conviction for his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Donald Trump might not make it through his first term in office, a CNN legal analyst suggested on a day in which the Russia investigation appeared to be zeroed in on Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

On Thursday, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress last year about Donald Trump’s pursuit of a major project in Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. As CNN reported, Cohen said he spoke extensively to Trump about the Moscow project, despite Trump saying repeatedly that he had no ongoing deals in Russia. Cohen had previously said that discussions of the project ended in January, 2016, just before the Iowa caucuses, but now admitted that he and Trump were in regular contact.

The conviction was the latest for Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and shows that Trump himself appears to be in the crosshairs. The president had just submitted written answers to Mueller’s team about his contact with Russia, and legal analysts say that if Trump repeated his past claim that he had no ongoing projects with Russia, it would constitute perjury.

With the investigation seeming to close in, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin believes Trump’s days in the White House are now numbered.

“Today is the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office,” Toobin said. “This thing is enormous.”

Toobin noted the seeming unlikelihood of Trump’s claim that he was never in contact with Michael Cohen while the lawyer was negotiating the Moscow deal for the Trump Organization.

Toobin is not the only person to predict that Donald Trump may wither under the pressure of the every-tightening grasp of the Russia investigation and ultimately decide to quit. Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer for Trump’s best-selling book, The Art of the Deal, has repeatedly said that he believes it is Trump’s nature to quit rather than deal with the pressure of the investigation.

Schwartz said Trump would likely try to make himself appear to be a victim of the investigation — as he has already repeatedly called it a politically motivated witch hunt — and try to spin it as a “victory” for himself.

“I surely believe that at some point over the next period of time, he’s going to have to figure out a way to resign,” Schwartz said, via CNN. “The reason he’s going to do that, as opposed to go through what could be an impeachment process or a continuing humiliation, is that he wants to figure out a way, as he has done all his career, to turn a loss into a victory. So he will declare victory when he leaves.”

Donald Trump responded to Cohen’s guilty plea on Thursday, reversing his previous stance and saying that the project plans in Moscow had long been public knowledge.