Buzzfeed reported yesterday that the federal investigation into President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen is still active, and the grand jury involved in the Cohen investigation is still at work.
This information was confirmed by federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday in a court filing opposing the New York Times’ request to make the search warrants against the president’s former longtime personal lawyer public.
The Cohen investigation resulted in eight guilty pleas in August and many thought that the prosecutors had concluded their work.
Federal law enforcement officials are strongly opposed to the Times’ efforts to unseal both the search warrants and all related court filings by the federal government in their investigation of the former “fixer” for Donald Trump.
In the filing, attorneys for the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York wrote:
“This request encompasses materials that, if disclosed, would reveal a substantial amount of non-public, sensitive detail about an ongoing grand jury investigation, as well as information about numerous uncharged third parties.”
The Times asked the presiding judge to unseal warrants on Cohen earlier this month, with their attorney arguing that “the public interest could not be higher.” They said that the public interest in the case is “particularly high” because:
“The materials relate to the government’s criminal investigation of a person who was for a long time the personal lawyer to and close associate of the president of the United States. Mr. Cohen undertook some of his criminal conduct in his capacity as the president’s associate, and — he alleges — at his direction.”
The government also submitted a second filing on Thursday, under seal and only to the court, “identifying specific portions of the warrant affidavits and other facts pertinent to the ongoing government investigation.”
The federal prosecutors wrote in the public filing that “there is a significant interest in maintaining the materials under seal, because disclosure could prejudice an ongoing investigation in concrete, identifiable ways.” (Emphasis added.)
Although Cohen had no formal cooperation agreement as part of his plea deal in August, he has reportedly spoken with state and federal prosecutors, including some from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, in the months since his guilty pleas.
In September we reported that “Cohen, has spent the last month in multiple interview sessions with investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Trump Russia probe, talking about Russia, possible collusion, and pardon.”
Earlier this month President Trump said that Cohen was lying when he testified in August, as part of his guilty pleas, that Trump had directed him to break the law.
The fact that the Cohen investigation is ongoing, coupled with the reports that Cohen has been meeting with Bob Mueller, is bad news for the president. Most legal experts believe that Mueller is working on additional indictments that could include both the president and his close family members.
Mueller has been quiet for a while, and apparently he is waiting until after the midterm elections before making his next moves. It appears likely that those next moves will be big ones — so big that they could possibly bring down the Trump presidency.
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.