Michael Cohen flips, gives up the goods on Trump’s dealings with Russia
Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has spoken to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team repeatedly over the past month, answering questions about “all aspects of Trump’s dealings with Russia,” according to a new ABC News report.
The interview sessions lasted for “hours” and covered a wide range of topics related to the Russia probe and the investigation into possible obstruction of justice.
The report said Mueller’s team was focused mostly on asking questions about Trump’s business and financial dealings with Russia, as well as any potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Investigators also asked about whether Trump or Trump’s associates discussed the possibility of issuing a pardon to Cohen, ABC reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Cohen reportedly participated in the interviews voluntarily, without a guarantee of leniency from prosecutors.
The New York Times corroborated ABC’s reporting a short time after publication on Thursday, confirming that Cohen has been interviewed multiple times by Mueller’s team.
In addition to the Mueller probe, Cohen is also cooperating with a New York state investigation looking into potential fraud by the Trump family charity and the Trump Organization.
Cohen pleaded guilty last month to eight criminal counts, and in the process of doing so, implicated Trump in campaign finance violations stemming from the hush money payments made to two women who say they had affairs with Trump.
Thursday’s ABC News report comes after weeks of speculation recently that Cohen was poised to flip on Trump to save himself from potentially spending years in prison for crimes he allegedly committed on behalf of Trump.
Last week, Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox reported that it had become “common knowledge” among Cohen’s inner circle that he was talking to Mueller in the hopes of striking a cooperation agreement. His cooperation with Mueller’s team was reportedly motivated in part by Trump’s poor treatment of him after years of being Trump’s loyal “fixer.”
The ABC news report confirms the speculation and provides important new details about these talks, indicating that Mueller’s team is interested in Trump and not just those around him. The focus of the questioning also suggests that investigators may be zeroing in on Trump’s finances, which is very bad news for the man who still refuses to even release his tax returns.
It’s not clear yet if Cohen provided Mueller’s team with any information that would put Trump in legal jeopardy, but as the keeper of Trump’s secrets and the fixer of his problems, Cohen may know more about Trump’s financial and business history than Trump himself.
And for that reason alone, the news that Cohen is talking to federal investigators — for hours, on repeated occasions — is the last thing Trump wants to hear.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Caroline Orr.