The Slatest

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: When the Sweater Starts to Unravel

Sean Hannity at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017.
Sean Hannity at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

Reporter Adam Davidson published a well-argued piece in the New Yorker this weekend about Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen. Davidson portrayed Cohen as the linchpin of all Trump sleaze—especially the white-collar real estate sleaze that isn’t strictly related to the question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia—and speculated that we will come to see the raid of Cohen’s office as the moment when public opinion turned against POTUS in a massive way even among people who’d previously admired him as a businessman. In a response to Davidson, Bloomberg’s Tim O’Brien—himself an expert on Trump’s business-related shenanigans—argued that there are in fact other figures in the Trump Organization who are more important than Cohen, and who Mueller may not have even gotten around to investigating yet.

Monday’s news that Sean Hannity was also a client of Cohen’s fits somewhere between Davidson and O’Brien’s pieces. While we don’t yet know exactly what kind of work Cohen did for Hannity, his representation of the Fox News personality—and last Friday’s news that he’d also represented a Republican National Committee official who had an affair with a Playboy model—deepens the picture of him as a roving fixer for high-level right-wing goons. (He’s also known, for example, to have a working relationship with National Enquirer publisher and Trump ally David Pecker.) Material seized from Cohen might not document every sketchy transaction the Trump Organization has ever been involved in, though he was certainly involved in some of them. But the revelation of Cohen’s unsavory connections to various cogs in the right-wing media-politics industrial complex—connections indicating a level of brazenly unethical collaboration that’s come as a surprise even to this jaded, cynical liberal elitist blogger—could provoke the sort of damaging sea change Davidson describes all the same.

Today’s meter has been raised to honor Sean Hannity.

Impeach-O-Meter: 60 percent.

Ben Mathis-Lilley is Slate’s chief news blogger. Follow the Slatest on Twitter.