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Will History Remember Michael Cohen?

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. Today we’ll review Michael Cohen’s testimony at Donald Trump’s hush-money trial — and look at whether it was historically significant. We’ll also get details on the first day of the corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

Credit…Mike Segar/Reuters

In a trial that has already had some never-before days, Monday was another: Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer-turned-archenemy, described a $130,000 hush-money payment to the porn actress Stormy Daniels.

“Just take care of it,” Cohen said Trump told him.

Cohen told the jury that Daniels’s story of a tryst in a Nevada hotel room posed a “catastrophic” threat to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen paid Daniels himself, and he testified that Trump had approved a plan to reimburse him after the election. That repayment is the basis of the 34 felony counts against Trump, which charge that he falsified business records by putting the reimbursement in the category of ordinary business expenses.

The jury heard from Daniels last week as prosecutors laid the groundwork for Cohen’s appearance in the first criminal trial of an American president. His testimony prompted the question of how big a moment Cohen’s appearance was.

“Is it a moment that matters is the question,” Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton, said.

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