Donald Trump and everybody in his inner circle are actually two characters in one, the “brand” character and the real one. Trump’s brand is billionaire super negotiator, the real person is “a clown living on credit,” in the words of one New York hedge fund manager. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, proselytizes himself as Superlawyer, and what he is in truth is enabler to the corrupt, dalliance fixer and drafter of NDAs. Unfortunately, yesterday the music stopped when the FBI came through the door. Rick Wilson, Daily Beast:
Suddenly, Michael Cohen, the bag-walking, dick-swinging swagger-monkey wannabe thug attorney and consigliere for Donald Trump’s far-flung penile enterprises is scared. If Cohen had a lump of coal in his ass the moment those search warrants arrived, he could have popped out a diamond. He realizes how deep this hole can become if he doesn’t roll over. He doesn’t have the resources to defend himself, and Trump isn’t exactly known for paying his bills in the first place. Cohen is scared, and he’s not alone.
What has to strike absolute terror into Trump at this moment is the fact that the Southern District of New York, acting on a referral from Robert Mueller, was able to obtain extraordinarily broad authority and was granted search warrants that may even penetrate attorney-client privilege.
Trump must know this may be one of the most dangerous moments in his entire life, not just his presidency. The likelihood is that Mueller and the FBI are now in possession of the Black Books of Trump, NDAs from enough of Trump’s various affairs that you can staff a 12-pole strip club with plenty of girls left for the Champagne rooms. It’s only speculation at this point, but it’s quite likely that Cohen was the keeper of many of Trump’s lending documents, contracts, business arrangements, and the Kryptonite of Trump’s fragile self-worth: the long-sought tax returns.
There may be a lot of Kryptonite in Cohen’s possession. He’s been in dicey places at interesting times, to say the least, and with persons of interest.
Of interest to investigators are Cohen’s personal and business connections in Ukraine; emails and meetings between Cohen and Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman and convicted criminal who has bragged about his ties to Vladimir Putin; an email Cohen sent to Putin’s spokesman seeking support for a Moscow project; and a report that Cohen hand-delivered a sealed “peace plan” for Russia and Ukraine that included lifting Russian sanctions to then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Initially, Cohen seemed to confirm the peace plan report, but later denied delivering any documents. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
It’s his unshakable devotion coupled with this tendency to be creative with his construction of the truth that has some Trump insiders concerned about the prospect of Cohen potentially being ensnared in Mueller’s investigation, which has already lead to the indictments of four former Trump associates, and one lawyer who lied about his communications with a former campaign official.
Cohen loves to be compared to a real life Ray Donovan, a a tough guy Hollywood fixer in a Showtime series of that name.
Cohen refused to elaborate on the specifics of his role, citing “attorney client privilege” in a text. But he seems to relish his reputation as Trump’s personal pit bull. “It means that if somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit,” Cohen famously told an ABC News reporter in 2011. “If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”
Cohen’s clearly a legend in his own mind. Now here’s a happy thought
This tonight from a former FBI colleague:
“I’ve been an FBI special agent for 20 years and have only seen a handful of searches executed on attorneys. All of those attorneys went to prison.”
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) April 10, 2018