If I were you, I wouldn’t waste all of my time glued to MSNBC, or CNN, waiting for the flash news that Michael Cohen has agreed to cooperate with the FBI investigators. Yes, I know, Cohen is under incredible pressure to flip since the FBI raid. But I don’t think that the pressure is anywhere near its apex yet.
Simply because, if the FBI and the DOJ are playing by the rules, which in a high profile case like this I can only assume they are, they don’t have any good idea of what they have yet. Almost immediately after the raid on Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office, his attorneys went to court to block government access to the materials, claiming they contained “privileged communications.” That’s what the hearings in front of Judge Wood are all about, determining what the FBI ad DOJ will eventually see, and how it will be determined what they may and may not see.
So right now, it’s easy for Michael Cohen to stroll the streets of Manhattan, sitting around huffing on Cuban fatboys with Russian cronies like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Right now, the FBI and the DOJ can make muttered threats to Cohen and his lawyers about what they’re going to do with that information once they get it, but that’s like me telling you over the phone that I’m gonna kick your ass the next time I see you. Cohen isn’t going to feel any great pressure to cave until he gets a better idea of exactly what the government has, and how damaging that can be to him. And that will be weeks, if not months off yet, so I don’t see any immediate, earth shattering announcements any time soon.
Personally, I’m hoping that Cohen hang tough. Simply because I’m getting sick of seeing all of these pissant miscreants strolling off into the sunset with sweetheart “deals” from Mueller. I’d like to see someone other than only Manafort having to pay the piper. But here’s where it might not matter all that much whether or not his faithful lackey sticks a shiv in Trump’s back or not.
The government kind of tipped their mitts in their initial filing to the court, and I think they did that because they were confident that they could prove their assertion. That assertion was that Michael Cohen is not a lawyer in the traditional meaning of the word, he was a “fixer.” As such, much of his communications were not traditional “legal advice and counsel,” which would be covered under attorney-client privilege. Both his written and oral communications were more on the mechanics of the fix, which would not be covered, since he wasn’t giving advice or counsel. If the government can convince the judge that this is the case, they are going to get to see and use much of what they have collected.
And Cohen’s clients themselves are not making his life any easier. I think Sean Hannity just boned himself sideways in his desperate attempt to distance himself from Cohen. Hannity insists that Cohen never “represented” him. If the judge sides with Hannity, that means that there could not have been an attorney-client privilege. And if that’s the case, then nothing that Cohen and Hannity spoke about is privileged information. So, if in fact Hannity ever spoke to Cohen asking for advice on a legal matter other than real estate or parking tickets, his business will soon be on the street.
Likewise, his marquee client, Donald Trump, just proved that his ego is matched only by his bottomless well of stupidity. Trump insists that he had no idea of what Cohen was doing in regards to Stormy Daniels, even though Cohen seems like the last one to go rogue, and start spending $130,000 of his own money on a whim. If the judge decides that Cohen acted on his own, then not only are all of the files and communications between Cohen and Michael Avenatti an open book, he faces the likelihood of disbarment by the NY state bar. And any communication between Cohen and Karen McDougle’s original lawyer to “fix” the agreement with the National Enquirer is an open book, which may be why they bailed on trying to enforce their agreement anymore.
And one more thing that could cripple Trump, whether Cohen keeps his yap shut or not. It has already been reported that Cohen worked with ex con Felix Sater trying to advance Trump’s business not only in former Soviet republics like the Ukraine, but in Russia as well. It is hard to see how purely “business dealings” is going to fall under attorney-cient privilege. If criminal activity took place, even if the statute of limitations has elapsed, it could still bury Trump, but not in a court of law.
No, where it could bury Trump would be in an impeachment hearing. If Trump was trying to cut corners, or God forbid, try to bribe a government official, that would be clear evidence of his susceptibility to blackmail from a foreign government. This could seriously call into question his ability to faithfully carry out his duties under his oath of office. After all, what congress critter, or Senator, of either party, would like to be saddled with a President that could pull this country out of NATO, or nuke Germany just because Vladimir Putin said so?
So no, I don’t see any indication that Michael Cohen is going to bring Christmas early for the federal prosecutors or Bob Mueller. But, be of good cheer. If the government can make their case strongly enough to Judge Wood, it may well not matter if Cohen spills the beans or not. And if the Democrats get the House back in November, their eventual articles of impeachment could rival the Topeka Kansas white pages. Don’t touch that fial.