“Why Trump’s ‘hush money’ case is bigger than hush money; The judge indicates that this might be another case of election interference. Could it have affected the outcome?”

Aaron Blake for WaPo:

But that last shorthand might not be totally apt, if a Monday letter from the judge in the case is any measure. Indeed, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan seems to indicate that what we really have is a third election interference case.

“The allegations are in substance, that Donald Trump falsified business records to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election,” Merchan summarizes in laying out the process for jury selection, which is set to begin Monday.

Merchan isn’t exactly rewriting the charges against Trump. But the characterization is a reminder that there’s more at stake here than Trump’s alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels, hush money or even allegedly breaking the law by hiding the hush money paid to Daniels. (Those particulars are salacious but seemingly small-bore compared with Trump’s other three indictments.)

What we also have is an alleged plot to illegally obscure damaging information to benefit the winning candidate in a very close election. And given how close that election was, it’s hardly ridiculous to wonder what effects this alleged crime may have had on the country’s course.

But could it possibly have swung the 2016 race?

That’s unknowable. But there are a couple of things we can say.

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