Grifter and thug. Loyal henchman turned traitorous rat. Lawyer and felon. Habitual liar now claiming to wield the sword of truth. The man who said he’d take a bullet for President Trump offering the smoking gun that will bring him down.
Michael Cohen, the long-time trusted Trump lawyer and Trump Organization “fixer,” finds himself the unlikely center of the American political universe today as he offers public testimonyin front of the House Oversight & Reform Committee that Trump is a liar, racist and cheat.
Being brought low — a fall from grace in the Trump orbit, multiple felony convictions, and staring down three years in prison — has brought him to the most high-profile moment of his life.
Democrats see Cohen as their great hope for answers and perhaps impeachment dirt on Trump. Laughably, some are painting a man known for his thuggish threats as a paragon of virtue. Republicansportray him as an untrustworthy and irascible media hound who has already been convicted of lying to Congress already and will surely do so again.
Prosecutors view him as a grifter and criminal who has provided some cooperation in their investigations. Judges – who inadvertently leaked that they had disbarred him when he was in the middle of closed-door testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday – have ruled him as unfit to practice law.
Trump, who demands total loyalty, considers his long-time personal attorney, confidant, and henchman as a backstabbing traitor, a rat who has broken the mob-style code of omerta and is now airing dirty laundry in public. And as Cohen heads to jail, he sees himself as a victim of Trump finally ready to tell his side of the story, a liar whose time to speak the truth has come.
Cohen, 52, was born on Long Island to a mother who was a nurse and a father who survived the Holocaust and became a surgeon. Apart from some formative years of college at American University in D.C., where he started his own luxury car business, and law school at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in Lansing, he spent most of his life navigating New York’s legal and business scenes.
His own financial dealings mainly involved taxi cabs and real estate, and by 2006 he was a central player in the Trump Organization and its real estate wheeling.
Cohen was a man of many hats while working for Trump, and his position as a vice president of the Trump Organization and Trump’s personal attorney included everything from negotiating extravagant deals to handling the media to offering Trump trusted counsel advice. He was a board member on the Eric Trump Foundation and the co-President of Trump Entertainment. A self-described avid reader of Trump’s book The Art of Deal and trusted consigliere to Trump, his loyalty seemed beyond reproach.
When Trump began running for president in 2015, Michael Cohen was a trusted adviser and operator. But the signs of self-dealing were there even as he worked to get Trump elected. He created the Women for Cohen account on Twitter, which spent much of its time discussing the “pit bull” “stud” “sex symbol” that was Michael Cohen.
Still, he was relentlessly effusive in his praise of Trump throughout the campaign and early into Trump’s presidency, as a recent brutal attack ad from the GOP made sure to remind us. But his role on the campaign was not limited to legal advice or the occasional speech.
He now alleges that, at Trump’s direction during the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, he made hush-money payments to women who might speak up about the affairs that they say they had with Trump. Most notable among these payments was the one to Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump when he was married to Melania Trump and their son Barron was a baby.
These payments would come under the magnifying glass of a special counsel investigation. But before being convicted for a campaign finance violation, he was accused of conspiring with a foreign power to steal an election.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when many critics of Trump believed that Michael Cohen might be the lynchpin in the Trump-Russia collusion theory. Mentioned repeatedly throughout the so-called Trump Dossier released by BuzzFeed in January 2017, the allegation was that Cohen was a covert interlocutor between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
The unverified dossier was compiled by ex-British intelligence operative Christopher Steele at the behest of Fusion GPS, a D.C. opposition research firm initially paid by Republicans and later by the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm. The dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants against members of the Trump campaign. Central to the dossier’s Cohen claims was that the Trump fixer had met with Russian operatives in in Prague in August 2016 to discuss efforts to hack the DNC. Cohen would respond by denying ever having visited Prague in a tweet accompanied by a bizarre picture of a closed passport.
What a shame; Cohen was supposed to provide the nails for Trump’s coffin and instead he KILLS the main basis for all the evidence (if there ever was any) against Trump. After all, if the Democrats are going to believe Cohen, then they now have to believe that dossier was false, inaccurate and contrived all along.
Actually, Cohen should be let off the hook. The coup wanted him to cooperate with them and he cooperated fully. There just wasn’t anything to tell.
@Deplorable Me: He was even coached! They still couldnt get the testimony to ensnare The President.
The President used body language to tell Cohen to lie to congress he is just a poor unfortunate soul