The cover shows the White House Oval Office filled with water, with Trump’s head above water as he struggles to stay afloat, with the words “In Deep.”
Even in a presidency punctuated by surreal moments, it was a stunning scene. Michael Cohen, the President’s longtime personal lawyer, pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to eight felony counts, including arranging payments during the 2016 campaign to suppress two women’s accounts of alleged extramarital affairs with Donald Trump. “I participated in this conduct,” Cohen avowed, “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump himself. With that extraordinary statement, he implicated the President of the United States in a federal crime—to be violating campaign-finance laws—“principal purpose,” of which he said, was to influence an election that #Trump won by only 78,000 votes in three states. The courtroom drama brought all the President’s legal and political problems together in a single supernova. It highlighted Trump’s sordid history with #women, his willingness to blur the lines between business and #politics, and growing fallout from the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, who referred the Cohen case to federal prosecutors. The explosion came minutes after Trump’s onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud in a case prosecuted by Mueller’s deputies. Tuesday was arguably the most pivotal day in this presidency, and the consequences are only beginning to kick in. Read this week’s full cover story on TIME.com. Illustration by @obrienillustration for TIME; animation by @brobeldesign
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Time revealed the cover just days after Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts, including tax and bank fraud, and Trump's former lawyer -- Michael Cohen -- reached a plea deal after pleading guilty to tax evasion and a campaign finance violation related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
O'Brien, a Time collaborator for over 30 years, said he wanted to explore the idea of whether or not Trump "would still be at his Resolute desk or not."
"I felt that it was too comical or perhaps morbid to see him sitting there. But to have him at the top suggests he's still fighting despite the deepening issues," O'Brien said.
O’Brien, an artist based in Brooklyn, also created the Time covers for issue “Nothing to See Here,” published two months into the Trump presidency, and “Stormy,” the issue released after news broke of an alleged affair between Trump and adult actress, Stormy Daniels.
"When I painted the 'Nothing to See Here' cover art, like many, I assumed the level of chaos could not last," O'Brien said. "As the never-ending flood of breaking news washed over the White House, and the firings, the scandals and the general mayhem filled each news cycle, I felt the storm metaphor was as relevant as ever."
The latest cover has already made history as the first series of three Time covers in 95 years.