Hours after Trump's former campaign chairman flipped on him, his longtime fixer Michael Cohen is in talks with Mueller to do the same.
Trump's day just went from bad to worse — in a big way.
Just hours after it was reported on Friday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had pleaded guilty and agreed to testify in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, a second bombshell dropped: Longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen is now reportedly in talks with Mueller and plans to strike a cooperation deal, too.
According to Vanity Fair's Emily Jane Fox, it’s now "common knowledge" among those in Cohen’s inner circle that he’s talking to Mueller’s team. It's not yet known what Cohen is discussing with Mueller or what he might share as part of a cooperation agreement, but as Trump's longtime attorney and fixer, he certainly has plenty to talk about.
Besides his involvement in paying hush money to Stormy Daniels and other women who reportedly had affairs with Trump, Cohen essentially sold access to the presidency to foreign governments and private companies, and for years he worked at Trump's side to make his problems — whatever those problems were — go away.
Cohen is already cooperating with federal authorities in the Southern District of New York as part of a cooperation agreement he entered into last month after pleading guilty to eight felony charges including making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful corporate contributions, and excessive campaign contributions.
When he read his plea in front a courtroom last month, Cohen said he violated campaign law at the direction of Trump, effectively implicating Trump as his co-conspirator.
The "remarkable reversal" from the man who once said he would take a bullet for Trump took place in part because "Cohen has now been squeezed financially, emotionally, and legally in a way he could not have imagined," Fox reported in Vanity Fair.
But Cohen was also motivated to cooperate because of Trump's poor treatment of him in recent days, according to Vanity Fair:
As one longtime friend of Cohen’s put it to me, “He doesn’t feel he needs to go out of his way to protect Trump anymore, particularly because Trump has gone out of his way to hurt Michael.” Earlier this week, Cohen and his attorney sat down with New York state tax-department officials, who subpoenaed him last month as part of their inquiry into the Trump Foundation.
According to people close to him, Cohen closely watched the White House’s reaction to his allocution in court last month. He listened as Trump railed against anyone who makes a plea deal, telling Fox News that cooperating with the government “almost ought to be outlawed.” And he has bristled at the feeling that he has taken the fall for a man who has refused to take any responsibility or face any consequence himself. In conversations with Mueller’s team, he is making good on what he told ABC earlier this summer: that his loyalty to Trump is no longer his lodestar.
Trump has made it clear how important loyalty is to him, but apparently he doesn't feel the same way when it means he must be loyal to others.
And now, those who have been betrayed by Trump are finally turning their backs on him — and running right into Mueller's open arms.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.