Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen suddenly has problems that go far beyond whatever role he played in the Stormy Daniels payoff and coverup. Even as that storyline has continued to loudly play out in the media this week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has quietly but aggressively come at Cohen from a different angle this week. In fact at this point it’s fair to say that Mueller has cornered Cohen.
Mueller has been issuing subpoenas this week against Donald Trump’s business associates, demanding evidence and testimony and cooperation. Mueller has been so aggressive, he even sent his team to the home of one of Trump’s business associates. In each instance, according to McClatchy, Mueller has been focusing on these people’s interactions with Michael Cohen. This strongly suggests that Mueller is targeting Trump’s business deals that were negotiated or carried out by Cohen. Why is this so important?
Last month former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg revealed on cable news that Mueller had subpoenaed him to turn over all of his communications with ten specific people in the Trump-Russia scandal, and Michael Cohen was one of the ten. This does not tell us whether Mueller views Cohen as a suspect or merely as a witness. But it is clear that Mueller views Cohen as crucial to getting to the bottom of Trump’s potentially illegal business transactions. Now Mueller is moving on Trump’s business associates in order to pin Cohen down.
If Michael Cohen has not committed crimes in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal, Robert Mueller can legally compel him to testify against Donald Trump; the Fifth Amendment only applies to self incrimination. And if Mueller is targeting Cohen for criminal charges, then he can use that as leverage to pressure Cohen into cutting a plea deal against Trump. One way or the other, Cohen is going to have to help Mueller take Trump down.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report