The Mafia has Omertà, a code that says members will remain stoically silent and go to jail, resting on the tradition that their loyalty to the mob will be rewarded. But those in the organization of Donald Trump know that his loyalty is a one-way street. Today’s senior foreign advisor is tomorrow’s coffee boy. No matter how deeply someone was involved in helping Trump, and no matter how long, he’s prepared to say “I barely knew him.” Donald Trump simply does not pay his bills. Which makes the idea that Trump’s long-time “fixer” could be more than prepared to fix him, seem extremely reasonable.
Two sources close to the president said people in Trump’s inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen — long seen as one of Trump’s most loyal personal allies — might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump.
Exactly what Cohen might be charged with isn’t clear. Bank fraud and election violations seem a given, but may not result in the kind of looming threat that would have Cohen dangling over a pit of potential decades behind bars. But … those are not the only potential charges. The FBI team notably took other interesting items from Cohen’s files, including documents going back to his ownership of New York City taxi medallions and his connections with a former Soviet oligarch that predate his involvement with Trump.
And some members of Trump’s shrinking circle of un-indicted friends think that whatever Cohen is facing, he’s not going to go out on a limb for Trump. As Politico has reported:
Jay Goldberg, a longtime Trump lawyer, told The Wall Street Journal that he spoke with Trump on Friday about Cohen and warned the president against trusting Cohen if he is facing criminal charges. Goldberg said he warned the president that Cohen “isn’t even a 1” on a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 was remaining fully loyal to the president, the newspaper reported.
While Goldberg is attacking Cohen, it’s worth noting that Cohen is not attacking the FBI. Rather than ranting about the raid, as Trump has done, Cohen has been singularly nice about the raid.
In an interview with CNN last week, Cohen called the raid “unsettling to say the least.” But he also said in the same interview that the federal agents were “extremely professional, courteous and respectful” – a dramatic departure from his usual combative style.
While Cohen’s public appearances may seem calculated to show he has nothing to hide, they may also be the reaction of someone who has already decided that he’s going to give the FBI team what he has.