TODAY / YouTube What To Expect From President Donald...
TODAY / YouTube

Nothing screams innocence like retreating behind claims that no one has rock solid proof of guilt. Following last week’s triple-play of court filings centered around Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Trump attorney Michael Cohen, and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, everyone seemed to understand that Trump’s goose is deeply, and thoroughly … let’s say “cooked.”

Only Trump continued to make claims that the documents last week were somehow Good for John McCain Donald Trump. But somewhere over the weekend, a modicum of truth was apparently forced through the thick orange makeup and thicker skull. Because on Monday morning, Trump had retreated to the tiniest, whiniest corner of “you can’t prove it.”

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No Smocking Gun, dammit. No Smocking Gun, no crime! Someone apparently breached the sanctity of Trump’s Executive Time to bring in an emergency dictionary, because the Smocking Gun tweet has been pulled down in favor of a whine that features the correct spelling. The correct spelling for the symbol meaning absolute proof of guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.

But it’s too late now. The meme is out. From now on, this is the term that’s going to define everything that comes from the Russia investigation: The quest for the Smocking Gun. And if that tweet isn’t ridiculous enough, Trump’s follow-up attempt to shrug off the stack of evidence settling in around his shoulders is even more laughable.

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Except no. The federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have have already charged Cohen with a pair of felonies, and already made it clear that “Individual-1” is complicit in those felonies. Trump doesn’t get a do-over. The crime here is all about intent, and it’s clear the intent was to pay off two women to shut them up during the campaign.

Finally, the biggest thing that Trump doesn’t get is just how pitiful the Smocking Gun statement from Fox really is—even when it’s spelled correctly. Trump’s biggest defenders have fallen back on the position not that Trump didn’t conspire with Russia, but that that what’s been released to the public isn’t evidence enough to convict him of that conspiracy. On the excuse-thinness measurement scale, that one is microscopic.

Because while making that statement, even Fox realizes that everything Flynn had to say about conspiracy at the Trump campaign, was redacted. Everything Cohen had to say about conspiracy at the Trump campaign, was redacted. Everything Manafort had to say—including the lies he was caught in—about conspiracy at the Trump campaign, was actually filed in a separate document still under seal.

Trump is hiding behind the lack of evidence, when he hasn’t even seen the evidence. But just the shape that all that evidence makes out there, the giant hole around which last week’s documents only define the edges, has its implications. Guns. Lots and lots of guns. And all of them are Smocking.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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