The bottom line: There do exist outer legal boundaries to the mischief that can be done by even the most corrupt president.

The bad news is that there is a lot of mischief that can be done within the legal boundaries by a determined president, especially with the compliance of the attorney general and enough political allies in the state capitals.

The worst news is that, faced with presidential lawlessness, few of the participants at Georgetown found effective responses. The courts offered only slow, weak, and unreliable remedies. Street protests were difficult to mobilize and often proved counterproductive. Republican elected officials cowered even in the face of the most outrageous Trump acts. Democratic elected officials lacked the tools and clout to make much difference. Many of the games turned on who made the first bold move. Time after time, that first mover was Trump.

And even in the scenarios in which Biden’s team eventually won—that is, secured possession of the White House at noon on Inauguration Day, 2021—Team Trump by then had thoroughly poisoned the political system.