Two Trump insiders – Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen - look like they are headed for prison. Patrick Maney is a professor and presidential historian at Boston College. Maney spoke with WGBH All Things Considered anchor Barbara Howard about Manafort and Cohen’s court cases and what they could mean for the Trump presidency. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: Late yesterday afternoon in the span of just a few minutes, all within an hour, there was news of a guilty plea from Michael Cohen, the president's former lawyer. And Paul Manafort, the former chair of the Trump campaign, was found guilty on eight counts by a jury. In taking the plea deal, Cohen claims that he paid off a woman at the direction of President Trump himself in order to influence the 2016 election. That directly implicates President Trump of a crime. So what do you make of that?

Patrick Maney: Well it is serious, it’s probably the most serious thing that has happened to President Trump. And yet still the evidence will have to come forward before we know exactly how much to make of it. And because it was a campaign violation before he became president, I think it's still too early to say that this is going to be grounds for impeachment or a possible indictment.

Howard: Some political pundits are asking whether August 21, 2018 could prove to be a turning point in the Trump presidency. You're saying it's premature to go there?

Maney: It's premature to go there, and after Helsinki, which would seem to me clearly a turning point, I'm reluctant to say anything is a turning point in this presidency.

Howard: And of course everyone is bringing up Watergate. You think that's not a comparison to be made at least yet, is that what you're saying?

Maney: Not yet. I think we do have to remember that by the end of Watergate, there were 40 persons - including all of President Nixon's top advisers - who were either indicted or convicted. And they were convicted on things ranging from illegal wiretaps to hush money to illegal break-ins, obstruction of justice. I just don't think we're anywhere close to that yet. I mean, maybe we could be if there is stronger evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and then his administration with Russia, but we're going to have to wait for the full Mueller report, I think, before we can go that far.

Howard: Are you seeing any parallels here to some of the drama during the Clinton presidency, as the Lewinsky scandal unfolded?

Maney: I do think there are more parallels to the Clinton years than there are to Watergate so far, in that even though the big concern has been about collusion of a foreign government in our democratic system, now all the attention is on paying hush money to women who have alleged affairs with Trump. Not to say that that's minor, but in comparison with collusion, it's not as severe.

Howard: So on a scale of one to 10, how endangered is Trump's presidency do you think?

Maney: I don't even think it's a four or five yet. A lot more is going to have to come out. The big difference between Watergate and the Clinton administration is Congress. You have a Congress that is almost in unprecedented terms protective of a president. During the Clinton years, you had a Congress that was rushing to investigate everything and rushing toward impeachment. And this is a Congress, with Republicans in control, that is very reluctant to move. I think it would take a huge amount more. Even substantial evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia would be unlikely to result in impeachment. I’m maybe alone among my historian friends and colleagues in really thinking that there's a little bit of an overreaction to what happened yesterday, and I think even in earlier times in the Trump administration. To my mind, nothing that has happened so far is as serious as what happened during Watergate. Nixon ordering a cover-up, then things that didn't happen: telling his staff that he wanted the Brookings Institution fire-bombed, and the National Archives broken into. We’re just a long way away from that so far.

Howard: Thank you very much for joining us, Professor Maney.

Maney: Thank you.

Howard: That's Professor Patrick Maney, presidential historian at Boston College, putting yesterday's events into historical context. Shortly before 5:00 p.m. yesterday, word came down that two Trump insiders face jail time. Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen found guilty and pleading guilty, respectively, of various crimes. This is WGBH’s All Things Considered.