OPINION - The Standard View: Donald Trump's guilty verdict is that rare political phenomenon – it is unprecedented


The term ‘unprecedented’ is misused almost as frequently as ‘literally’. But the news last night that former US president Donald Trump had been found guilty on all 34 charges, including the use of falsified business records to conceal payments over an alleged affair with the porn star Stormy Daniels, is indeed unprecedented.

It makes Trump the first US president to be criminally convicted, and he now faces sentencing on July 11 — four days before the start of the Republican National Convention where he will be formally adopted as the party’s nominee for president.

It would be tempting to suggest, as a recent prime minister running for re-election once did, that “nothing has changed”. That voters expect this sort of thing from Trump and so it is priced in. Yet this would be a rush to judgment. Even in an exceptionally polarised political environment, Americans — not least those in swing states — are capable of changing their minds on the basis of new information.

As for Britain, the challenge will be for the next prime minister to work with the next US president. In liberty, democracy and respect for the rule of law — our two nations have simply too much in common for anything else. Though it will take reserves of diplomatic nous when Sir Keir Starmer or Rishi Sunak visit Washington DC for a Nato summit in mid-July.

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Keir’s competence

After an assured start to the campaign, Labour has struggled to get a hearing on its health policy because it has failed to handle a different issue: that of Diane Abbott. The Left-winger and Britain’s first black female MP had the whip withdrawn last year after suggesting that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives”.

Abbott apologised “wholly and unreservedly” for the comments, but was suspended pending an independent investigation commissioned by Labour. She has since had the whip restored yet it remains unclear whether she will be able to run again in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat. It has now become an issue of competence that threatens to descend into one of open factionalism. Labour must get its house in order.

Final is win for London

There may be no English sides in tomorrow’s Champions League final, but there is plenty of London interest.

Thousands of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund fans have descended on the capital ahead of the showpiece event, set to deliver a more than £50 million boost to the city. The best team in Europe may even be decided too.