Trump's Feud With Michael Cohen Will Not End Well - Rolling Stone
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Trump’s Feud With Michael Cohen Will Not End Well

Michael Cohen, who once said he’d “take a bullet” for Donald Trump, appears to be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives with his personal attorney Michael Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, U.S. September 21, 2016. Picture taken September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC1B23AB0300Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives with his personal attorney Michael Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, U.S. September 21, 2016. Picture taken September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC1B23AB0300

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Though Michael Cohen once said that he’d take a bullet for Donald Trump, the president’s former attorney and fixer might flip on his former employer following the FBI’s April raid of his apartment, office and hotel room. For months, the mere possibility of Cohen turning on Trump remained hypothetical, but it now seems likely to happen. On Thursday night, CNN reported that Cohen plans to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew that his son was planning to meet with a delegation of Russians and Russia-connected figures at Trump Tower in June 2016 to gather damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The report ruined the high the president was riding after opening a new steel plant in Illinois Thursday afternoon.

Trump, Trump Jr., their lawyers and the White House have long denied that the president had any knowledge of the meeting, which is perhaps the most concrete indication to date that Trump’s campaign may have attempted to collude with Russia prior to the 2016 election. Prior to the June 9th sit-down, Trump Jr. received an email from music publicist Rob Goldstone promising that Arad Agalarov, the father of one of his Russian clients, could offer “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” and that “would be very useful to your father.” Goldstone noted that the gesture would be “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” This all sounded just fine to Trump Jr: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” he replied.

The meeting didn’t yield any dirt on Clinton, but the intention was there. After the New York Times got wind of the sit-down in July 2017, Trump dictated an excuse about a need to discuss Russian adoptions for his son to provide to the press. Trump Jr. later admitted the meeting was indeed to gather damaging information on Clinton, which was confirmed hours later when the Times released the emails Trump Jr. exchanged with Goldstone.

There’s a wealth of circumstantial evidence suggesting Trump knew of the meeting before it happened. In May of this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee released testimony given by Trump Jr. related to the meeting. According to the testimony, after he was contacted by Goldstone, Trump Jr. received a call from Agalarov. After that call concluded, Trump Jr. placed a call to a blocked number, after which he immediately called Agalarov back. When asked to whom Trump Jr. placed this call, Trump Jr. said, “I don’t know.” In separate testimony, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said that the Trump residence uses a blocked number. When Trump Jr. was asked if his father uses a blocked number, Trump Jr. said once again that he didn’t know.

Also suspicious is that two days before the meeting took place, Trump announced he would be giving a speech “probably” on June 13th in which he would discuss “all of the things that have been taking place with the Clintons.” Though he said the speech would be “informative and very, very interesting,” it never happened. This could be because the June 9th meeting that was supposed to turn up damaging information on the Clintons did no such thing.

There’s also the element of common sense. It’s hard to believe that if Trump the younger was contacted about meeting with Russians who could provide dirt on Clinton, he wouldn’t immediately scamper up to his father’s office to giddily tell him the big news, or at least to seek his advice before meeting with a shadowy delegation of Russians. In January, Steve Bannon, who was as familiar as anyone with the dynamic between Trump and Trump Jr., said there was “zero” chance Trump Jr. did not tell his father about the meeting ahead of time. In March, Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg said the same when asked by Jake Tapper if he thought Trump knew about the meeting. “No,” Nunberg replied. “You know he knew about it. He was talking about it a week before… I don’t know why he went around trying to hide it.”

Cohen’s admission is only the latest addition to this already heaping mound of evidence that Trump knew about the meeting. As soon as the news broke, Trump’s pundit-lawyer Rudy Giuliani went into overdrive trying to discredit Cohen.

Why would a high-IQ super-genius like Trump employ a pathologically dishonest “scoundrel” to manage his most sensitive legal affairs for nearly a decade? In a breathtaking display of Break Glass In Case Of Emergency lawyer-ing, Giuliani explained that the error in judgement was simply a byproduct of the human condition, to which Trump, merely a man, is susceptible, and to which we, also fallible human beings, should probably be more sympathetic.

Giuliani continued to somehow fold logic in on itself by acknowledging Cohen’s account that other people were in the room with Trump when he was informed of Don Jr.’s big meeting, while simultaneously claiming that those other people who were in the room when it happened know that it did not actually happen.

It’s hard to know what will come of Cohen’s reportedly forthcoming testimony that Trump knew about the meeting, as, again, no one knows what kind of cards Mueller is holding. If he has somehow been able to prove that the blocked number Don Jr. called after talking with Agalarov was Trump’s, and if that call took place at the same time Cohen says he was in the room when Trump was informed, it would seem to be pretty powerful evidence that Trump knew about the meeting.

What we do know is that Cohen is flipping on his former employer, and there’s no telling what kind of corroborating information a full-fledged sit-down with Mueller could yield. As someone who is totally innocent, one would think Trump might want to just sit down with Mueller and set the record straight rather than waking up at the crack of dawn day after day to tweet about the Witch Hunt. It’s important to remember, though, that Trump is a man burdened by the human condition, prone to errors in judgement.

In This Article: Donald Trump, Michael Cohen


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