Nothing is more important to President Trump than loyalty — to him. Some employees who abandoned him were never welcomed back. Politicians who did not defend him are still suspect in Trump’s eyes. And after six months as president, Trump is still known to publicly jab at people who did not support his presidential bid.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions learned that loyalty to Trump is a one way street. Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress and one of the intellectual godfathers of the nationalist movement that propelled his candidacy. Sessions lent his support, and even his closest aides, to boosting Trump’s core campaign promises on immigration and terrorism. At a time when Trump had no allies in the Senate, Sessions voiced support for Trump’s “movement.”
But the attorney general’s decision in March to recuse himself from the investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign seems to have made that history irrelevant.
“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” “Loyalty” is now the subject of Comey’s book.
Now, Michael Cohen has learned the hard way that for Donald Trump, loyalty is a one way street. Trump opened fire on Cohen on Fox & Friends this week and then shoved him out of a high window in Trump Tower, where this scandal keeps returning.
“He’s a great guy,” the president said as he proceeded to disassociate himself from the man who has slaved away as his fixer since 2007, cleaning up business and personal messes left behind. Cohen worked with Russian-American convicted felon and businessman Felix Sater to try to swing a Trump Tower Moscow deal, who is named as one of his power brokers in the Steele Dossier, who has made ugly threats to Trump’s adversaries, and who is now the subject of an FBI investigation into wire fraud, money laundering and campaign-finance violations. Just a few weeks ago, Trump dodged reporters’ questions about the $130,000 Cohen paid to adult film actor Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election, by saying, “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney.” Now, as Trump explained to the Fox & Friends hosts, he viewed Cohen primarily as a businessman, and the president Trump averred, “I have nothing to do with his business.” But…but…but…wasn’t Cohen Trump’s personal attorney? “He has a percentage of my overall legal work—a tiny, tiny little fraction,” the president responded to the stunned Fox & Friends hosts.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is investigating Cohen, instantly leaped on Trump’s comment, setting fire to Cohen’s bullet-riddled and crushed body. The U.S. Attorney filed a letterwith the judge in the Cohen case noting that if the famed fixer only did a “tiny, tiny, little fraction” of legal work for Trump, then not much of the Trump-related evidence seized by the FBI from Cohen could be privileged under lawyer/client confidentiality. Trump’s TV blabbing was beyond stupid because it will help open to investigators’ eyes to not just Cohen’s potentially scuzzy business dealings, both here and in Ukraine, but the president’s scuzziest deals from the past decade. The more the feds learn about Cohen, the more likely they’ll be able to get Cohen to flip on the president.
Poor, poor, pitiful Cohen—gun-shot, shattered and smoking—also pleaded the Fifth Amendment this week in the Stormy Daniels lawsuit, which she filed to liberate herself from the non-disclosure agreement she signed over her 2006 one-night stand with Trump. It doesn’t look good, for Cohen, but it’s his right and will save him from saying anything the U.S. Attorney could use against him in a potential criminal case.
Everybody is a tough guy until they’re not. How certain is it that Cohen will be indicted? Late Friday, U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero granted a 90-day delay in the Stormy Daniels civil case, saying it was “likely” that criminal charges would be filed against Cohen and the overlap of the two cases would “implicate” his Fifth Amendment rights.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is investigating Cohen, instantly leaped on Trump’s comment, setting fire to Cohen’s bullet-riddled and crushed body. The U.S. Attorney filed a letterwith the judge in the Cohen case noting that if the famed fixer only did a “tiny, tiny, little fraction” of legal work for Trump, then not much of the Trump-related evidence seized by the FBI from Cohen could be privileged under lawyer/client confidentiality. Trump’s TV blabbing was just plain stupid.
It’s interesting that Judge Wood, who has the final say in determing what is privledged, is a woman. Judge Wood has appointed another woman,Barbara Jones, a former federal judge and partner at the law firm Bracewell, to determine just how many of the president’s lawyer’s documents can be handed over to investigators — and how many get to be shielded by attorney-client privilege. The stakes are high, both for Cohen and for President Trump. It’s fitting that this determination will be made by a woman.