In a headline that seems to get trotted out every two or three days, CNN is reporting that Michael Cohen is seriously considering cooperating with prosecutors from the Southern District of New York to lighten the pressure on himself and his family. The story was sourced to “a source familiar with the matter,” which is interesting, because the story reads like a message drafted by Cohen – a message urging President Trump to do more to help his personal attorney, who has been said to know “where the bodies are buried” at the Trump Organization.
The tone of the story makes us wonder if the “source” cited by CNN is, in fact, Cohen himself. Line by line, the story has a suspicious consistency. Cohen has “expressed anger” at “the treatment he’s received from the president” accusing Trump of “minimizing his relationship” with his former personal attorney – an obvious reference to an interview with Fox & Friends where Trump said Cohen handled “a tiny fraction” of his overall legal work, a comment that was said to have bothered Cohen.
Furthermore, in what sounds like Cohen making clear that there’s still time for Trump to pitch in, CNN added that Cohen hasn’t met with prosecutors to discuss a deal – though it’s something that he’s apparently considering.
Cohen has expressed anger with the treatment he has gotten from the President, who has minimized his relationship with Cohen, and comments from the President’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the source said. The treatment has left him feeling isolated and more open to cooperating, the source said.
Pressure on Cohen has been building since an April FBI raid on his home, office and hotel room when agents seized over a dozen electronic devices and multiple boxes of documents.
It isn’t known which particular remarks by the President or his allies have irked Cohen — or if it is the totality of them — but tensions have grown since the FBI raid.
Cohen has not met with prosecutors to discuss any potential deal. He is currently seeking new lawyers with the goal to find a legal team with experience appearing before judges in the Southern District of New York and working with the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, CNN reported earlier this week.
If Cohen does cooperate with investigators, it isn’t clear what specific information he would provide. But the President’s longtime “fixer” has worked inside the Trump Organization for a decade and was involved with, among other things, discussions to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen is also in the process of changing legal teams as his lawyers are finishing up the review of millions of documents seized by the FBI to determine which ones might be protected by attorney client privilege. At this point, Cohen probably hasn’t made the final decision about whether to cooperate. Whatever happens will likely depend on how Trump and his allies respond to this coded message. If this is accurate, it doesn’t reflect well on CNN, which basically allowed itself to be played by a source. In fact, it’s difficult to justify publishing this, aside from knowing that it would get traffic that web editors so desperately crave.