Since the raid on his office, the news cycle has been dominated by discussions about whether Michael Cohen will flip or not. Donald Trump seems confident Michael Cohen won’t flip — or at least, that’s what he is trying to project. The NYTimes, however, paints a different story, one of a guy who has been unfailingly loyal to the President for over a decade, but who has not seen that loyalty reciprocated. After years of being treated like garbage by the President, Cohen now has leverage against his boss. Flip, or do the time, seems to be the only two options for Cohen, and whether or not he flips seems to depend upon how much time he is given. He has a family. He has children, and according to Trump’s divorce lawyer, Cohen may be loyal, but not so loyal that he’s willing to be raped in prison for the President.
What’s most interesting about this discussion about whether Cohen will flip or not is that there’s an entire conversation that’s being left out of the equation: What does Cohen have on Trump? It’s being treated as a given by almost everyone that Cohen has engaged in criminal activity along with Donald Trump, but the question is not “What did Trump do?” but “Will Cohen sell his boss out?”
Trump has alluded to it only once, when he suggested that “most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories.”
….non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
….it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
It’s interesting that Trump would say that, given his position on torture. If it’s a Muslim or a person of color, Trump is under the impression that torture will elicit solid, reliable intel. But threaten a rich white guy with prison, and suddenly, he’s going to make up stories to avoid being raped in prison? But put a reporter in jail, and Trump believes that a little prison rape will help straighten him out. Trump’s cool with using prison rape as a threat to his enemies, but not to his friends. Trump here even seems to concede that Cohen has done something wrong, otherwise, why would the government need to let him “out of trouble”?
Alan Dershowitz, meanwhile, offered up a shockingly pathetic defense of Cohen during ABC’s This Week roundtable.
DERSHOWITZ: This is so naive. Came across. Mueller is looking for low-hanging fruit. He’s looking for anything…
ROCAH: That’s what’s called investigating.
DERSHOWITZ: … he can find against anybody who is associated with the president so he can flip them…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if it weren’t there it wouldn’t be a problem.
DERSHOWITZ: Of course. But it’s there — you know, crime — broad federal criminal statutes, campaign contributions, bank records, you can find them against almost every very complex business person or political person. The question is how hard you look. And when you look hard, you have enough for a search warrant, which is fairly minimal. And then the pressure increases.
In other words, Dershowitz is saying, “Of course, Michael Cohen committed crimes, but it’s not fair that investigators are looking so hard to find criminal activity!” Is that a defense that Dershowitz would level in court? “Yes, your honor. My client did murder that woman, but the police wouldn’t have known that if they hadn’t been looking so hard for evidence!”
Not that it matters, but from where I’m standing, you wouldn’t need to look that hard to find evidence of criminal wrongdoing where it concerns Michael Cohen. He’s all but publicly admitted fraud where it concerns the Stormy Daniels NDA, and look at who he associates with? The only thing that has kept Michael Cohen out of prison, so far, is the fact that he is white and investigators haven’t bothered to look.
No one — not even the President — has suggested that Michael Cohen does not have the goods on Trump. It’s not, “Can he flip?” it’s “Will he flip?” And for Trump, it’s not a question of “Will he pardon Cohen to save his own ass,” but “Can he pardon Cohen to save his own ass?”
In the meantime, Sean Hannity has become collateral damage, which is the most beautiful irony in all of this. I said last week that there would be a dozen or more reporters investigating Hannity to find out what he’s trying to hide, and that’s already beginning to bear fruit. The Guardian reported yesterday that Hannity has a previously unknown real-estate empire of around 870 homes in seven states, which he purchased through shell companies that have spent $90 million and have taken loans from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. He did not disclose that when he had the head of that organization, Ben Carson, on his show. (Hannity also obtained many of those properties through foreclosures.) It’s yet another conflict of interest, but more than that, it illustrates once again how corrupt and hypocritical the people associated with Donald Trump are.
By this time next week, we may be talking about whether Trump will pardon Hannity, too.