Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trump's Continuing Michael Cohen Problem

Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, continues to blame all of his legal problems on a "horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media."   The problem with that claim, of course as one commentator noted, is that the witch hunt keeps finding witches as evidenced by the growing list of criminal indictments and cooperating witnesses.  Outside of Paul Manafort - who some believe was Trump's conduit to Russia during the 2016 campaign - Trump's biggest problem is his long time personal attorney and"fixer," Michael Cohen.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at Trump's behavior and the absence of the behavior of someone with nothing to hide.  Obviously, when one needs a fixer in the first place to clean up sordid affairs and who knows what other unsavory or illegal actions, there is always a risk that they can "flip" and provide very damaging information.  Here are article highlights:

Trump has not been tweeting like a man with nothing to fear.
Over the weekend, he tried to project confidence that his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen — under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations — will not flip to avoid legal trouble. But in doing so, and skipping a denial of wrongdoing, [Trump] the president implied two things.
One is that Cohen would need to strike a deal with prosecutors to avoid charges or prison time. Trump's tweet did not even entertain the idea that the investigation will turn up nothing because Cohen committed no crimes.
The second is that Cohen possesses damaging information about [Trump] the president. Trump said he believes Cohen will keep his mouth shut, not that Cohen can talk all he wants because there is no dirt to dish.
[O]n Monday, Bloomberg's Justin Sink said the president's Twitter thread “prompts two questions: The first is what the president believes his personal attorney might have done to get him in trouble with the government. And, secondly, what [Trump] the president's done that he is worried Michael Cohen could flip about.” “The president's been clear that he hasn't done anything wrong,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied. . . . I don't have anything to add.”
 It is the absence of “anything to add” that is striking. The simple, playing-it-cool response would be that the president encourages Cohen to cooperate fully with an investigation that will surely end in exoneration. But the White House hasn't said anything of the kind. In fact, the White House appears to be leaving open the door to a presidential pardon for Cohen — which, of course, would be necessary only if there were a crime to pardon. Trump seems clearly worried about Cohen, and he and his White House aren't doing anything to change that perception.

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