According to Very Objective Journalist George Stephanopoulos and his “sources,” Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer — a man whose offices were raided by the FBI for reasons yet unknown — may be about to flip on the Trump team. Here’s the report from ABC News:
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant and former personal attorney, is likely to cooperate with federal investigators, as his lawyers are expected to leave the case, sources said. … Cohen, who is under federal investigation now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the White House, family members, staffers and counsels hard.
Here’s the problem with this report: we have no idea what Cohen knows or doesn’t know about the president. And just because Cohen has dirt on Trump doesn’t mean that dirt is criminal. The going theory suggests that Cohen channeled money from Trump to Stormy Daniels to shut her up about a 2006 one-night stand — but it’s not clear that’s criminal in any case. Even the campaign finance violation talked about wouldn’t seem to be a major problem, given the John Edwards failed prosecution on similar grounds.
So, what does Cohen have? The media are assuming he has a lot. But that could be wishful thinking. Here’s Stephanopoulos again:
Two sources who are familiar with a warrant in the case told ABC News in April that federal agents were hunting for records tied to Cohen’s personal business dealings and secret deals with alleged mistresses, media organizations and the 2016 presidential campaign.
Apparently the vast majority of documents seized from Cohen have been ruled non-privileged for purposes of prosecution.
If the FBI truly raided Cohen’s office with DOJ go-ahead — all for a simple supposed campaign finance reform violation on the basis of Trump and Stormy Daniels — all hell is going to break loose, and it should. As Alan Dershowitz has pointed out, there is a pretty high bar when it comes to raiding attorneys’ offices, and the grounds had better be solid. Raiding the offices of the attorney for the president would presumably require even more discretion. As Dershowitz stated, “To get a search warrant of a lawyer's office, you should be looking for Mafia-type drug connections, major corporate crimes. To use that nuclear weapon, and it's used very, very rarely - a search of a lawyer's office - on what seem like rather technical criminal charges sounds like a lack of proportion.”
We’ll soon find out. But beware media eagerness to declare the Trump administration dead and buried over “sources” saying that Michael Cohen has “flipped.”