Former Donald Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen shook up the White House and most of America with his revelations in an ABC News interview over the weekend that he was no longer loyal to the president and that he was likely to cooperate with federal investigators in order to protect his family.
In response, and proving that he was terrified, Donald Trump went silent for 17 hours on Twitter. In fact, since then he has posted many crazy, unhinged things on Twitter but none of them have been about his former attorney and “fixer” who once said he would “take a bullet” for the president.
Yesterday New York Magazine had an excellent article detailing the five reasons that Donald Trump should be — and probably is — panicking at the prospect of Michael Cohen turning state’s witness and cooperating with Robert Mueller, the FBI and New York state prosecutors.
Here are the five reasons, with brief explanations of why each one is really bad news for the president:
1. Cohen apparently made illegal payments on Trump’s behalf.
Not only did Cohen pay off Stormy Daniels (and possibly other women that Donald Trump had sex with) but he also is being investigated for bank fraud and wire fraud. As Trump’s “fixer” Cohen was at the center of and a participant in many of Trump’s crimes and indiscretions.
2. Cohen kept a lot of evidence.
This is really, really, really bad news. Cohen apparently recorded all of his conversations, and the FBI has all of them. He also kept every piece of paper, and the FBI has over a million documents they obtained by raiding Cohen. On top of that, Trump and Cohen thought they could talk freely because the conversations would be protected by the attorney-client privilege. But that is not the case because they were not discussing legal matters. Oh Oh.
3. Cohen can’t be pardoned.
People seem to forget that the state of New York has many nice prisons, such as Attica. They have many criminal statutes, which have been violated by Cohen and Trump. They have an aggressive Attorney General and criminal justice department. The State of New York does not need any federal charges to put Cohen (and perhaps Trump) in jail for the rest of his life. And as we all know, a president has no authority to pardon a criminal convicted of state crimes. Bye, Bye Michael.
4. Cohen dealt with Russia during the campaign.
The evidence that the FBI obtained from raiding Cohen may be enough by itself to prove collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Cohen’s testimony on top of that will be icing on the cake. This means no more tweets from Trump about a “witch hunt.” Once Cohen’s evidence is made public there will be absolute proof of not only collusion (which is not a crime) but also many crimes, such as conspiracy against the United States, and possibly treason.
5. Cohen may have collected bribes after Trump’s election.
As the article says, “After Trump won, Cohen suddenly began cashing in on his access to the president-elect. It is possible Trump had nothing to do with this. However, that would be a very un-Trump-like decision. Far more likely, Cohen kicked up some or all of the proceeds.” If prosecutors “follow the money” and it leads to Trump, who will be shown to have accepted bribes and kickbacks, it will be hard for even the hardest of hard-core Congressional Republicans to argue that this president should not be impeached.
In the ABC interview, Michael Cohen said that he is no longer loyal to Donald Trump, and he also said that he is not willing to take the fall for his former boss who has shown no loyalty whatsoever to him. Cohen knows Trump better than anybody, and he knows that Trump will throw him under the bus with no hesitation in order to save his own skin.
Michael Cohen is at fault for the crimes he committed, and he knows he can’t blame anyone else, including Donald Trump, for what he did. But he also is smart enough to know that there is only one way out for him: to fully cooperate with federal and state prosecutors to receive leniency in charges and in sentencing.
Michael Cohen also knows about and can testify to many, if not most, of Donald Trump’s crimes. Trump is sitting in the White House, desperately trying to change the subject and pretend Michael Cohen doesn’t exist, while at the same time feeling terrified. Trump knows that his many crimes will soon be revealed to the public, and that his time as president is soon coming to an end.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.