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U.S President Donald Trump arrives at Noi Bai Airport before a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on Feb. 26, 2019, in Hanoi.KHAM/The Associated Press

Remember all the blistering headlines about Donald Trump losing the government shutdown fight? How he was embarrassed by the Democrats, and how he was outfoxed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

Recall how, in recent days, he’s been pilloried for invoking a national emergency to build his Mexican wall when no such emergency exists. Illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border are at their lowest in nearly 50 years.

Given all the nasty news, the punditocracy thought, Mr. Trump would surely take a fall in the polls. But they were wrong again: In fact, he appears to have benefited from the adversity. He’s edging up into the mid-40s in approval ratings, close to where he needs to be to win another election.

How many times have we seen this depressing, logic-defying movie before? Mr. Trump suffers multiple embarrassments, but his support holds – or even improves. There’s no trap door. Bad publicity doesn’t hurt him. The Access Hollywood tape that came to light just weeks before the 2016 election – in which he brags about groping and kissing women without their consent – would have knocked over any other political leader. Not the ever-resilient Mr. Trump, though. Throughout his career, he’s done the unthinkable but remained unsinkable.

But now comes the biggest test. Testimony on Capitol Hill this week by the man who knows his secrets – his long-time confidant and fixer, Michael Cohen. This to be followed by the tabling of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller. Revelations are sure to be damning whether they be on Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, hush-money payments to women or money-laundering offences.

If he survives them – and given his history, it won’t be all that shocking if he does – he’s in the clear. He’ll be free to engage in demagoguery and self-glorification all the way to the election campaign, one in which he may well have policy accomplishments to take to the voters.

Opinion: In a credibility war between a ‘fool’ and a ‘con man’, Michael Cohen wins

Read more: Five things to know about Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony on Donald Trump

Read more: Trump a ‘racist,’ ‘conman’ and ‘cheat.’ What Michael Cohen said in his testimony to Congress

Mr. Trump appears to be getting close to a trade deal with China. That could have broad and beneficial ramifications both economically and geopolitically. He’s engaged in another summit with the leader of North Korea this week. In Afghanistan, there are peace talks with the Taliban. He has his high-flying economy. Conservatives are delighted with his appointments to the courts.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are entering into a long and likely divisive campaign to select a nominee. The party is split along left and moderate lines. It is opening itself up to charges of becoming anti-capitalist.

Mr. Trump is a raging bull on the counterattack. He and his defenders will deny all charges from Mr. Cohen, saying he is a tainted, discredited source who has lied on the witness stand and who sought a sweetheart deal with prosecutors. Democrats will believe Mr. Cohen. Republicans won’t.

It could well be the same with the Mueller report. The first question is how much of it will see the light of day. Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein warned on Monday not to expect full transparency. He indicated his department will be hesitant to give out incriminating information on someone who is not facing charges, as happened in the case of Hillary Clinton over the e-mail server controversy. The fact that the Justice Department has a policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted will be a comfort to Mr. Trump.

Congress will likely issue subpoenas to get the full Mueller report and try to compel testimony from Mr. Mueller himself. A tug-of-war between the executive branch and Congress could lead to a long-running court battle.

If a highly incriminatory report does make it into the public domain, the national divide between two politically warring camps will only deepen. Mr. Trump has already done much to sell his base on the notion that he is the victim of an egregiously biased, deep-state smear campaign, and that it is the Democrats who should be investigated.

On hush-money payments, the story of Mr. Trump’s dalliances has already been aired, and it didn’t hurt him. On the question of obstruction of justice, legal experts say it will be very difficult to prove. As for impeachment proceedings, Democrats aren’t keen on pulling that lever so close to a general election, especially given the Republican majority in the Senate.

For Mr. Trump to be irreparably damaged, the Mueller report will have to contain unassailable, documented evidence of his involvement in high crimes, so much so that even Republicans are prepared to desert him.

That’s a high bar. Probably too high.

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