Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s lawyer and self-proclaimed “fixer,” likes to boast about his loyalty. “I’m the guy who would take a bullet for the president,” he told Vanity Fair last year. “
That was the accepted view of Cohen by legal observers right up until the FBI search of Cohen’s office and residences last week, and the disclosure that he was under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. Since then, a number of analysts have been wondering aloud whether Cohen’s loyalty will pass the acid test of a federal indictment. That includes Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for actress Stormy Daniels, who
What’s remarkable about this analysis is the largely unquestioned assumption that Cohen will be indicted, and that he has incriminating information on Trump to trade for leniency. On the former point, we don’t know, of course, but on Friday his own lawyer, in the course of fighting off a lawsuit by Daniels
As for Trump,
“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble,” Trump wrote, adding pointedly: “…even if it means lying or making up stories.”
But Cohen is too loyal to do that, isn’t he?
I do not presume to know another man’s heart. But I side with the skeptics who, when Cohen says he’d take a bullet for Trump, suspect he has in mind at worst a flesh wound. From the evidence, Trump and Cohen did not have a particularly long or close friendship; they met when Cohen bought an apartment in a Trump building, and their relationship seems to have been mostly about business. And as the Times reported Friday,
that he cut off contact with Cohn when the latter was dying of AIDS. Former FBI director James Comey — who learned about the limits of loyalty as a U.S. attorney, when he used informants to take down the leaders of the Gambino crime family — described Trump demanding his “loyalty” in a conversation “like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony.” Comey offered “honesty” instead. As the title of his new book signifies, he held himself to “a higher loyalty,” to the country and the Constitution. (Trump has denied the conversation.)” data-reactid=”43″>