If there’s a moral to the story of the saga of the two Michaels it’s this: if you’re going to cooperate, do it quickly and do it unreservedly. While Michael Cohen has until March 6 to report to Otisville prison in upstate New York to begin a three year sentence, Michael Flynn may ultimately do no time at all. Unlike Flynn, Cohen’s mistake was spending too long thinking that he could expect leniency for being loyal to Donald Trump. The bitter truth is there is no quid pro quo for Trump. No one merits allegiance in the world of Trump but Trump himself.
Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and bank fraud, as well as campaign finance violations for his role in making hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Donald Trump. But he initially put up a legal fight. Prosecutors say, unlike Flynn, he never ultimately fully cooperated even after he flipped.
Trump has acknowledged the hush money payments, despite lying about the affairs, and officially and stupidly implicated himself in the crime this week when he called the payments a private transaction unrelated to his campaign. Now that a conviction has been made, the allegation has entered the realm of an official legal truth, and Trump is unequivocally implicated in this crime.
Cohen is the first member of Trump’s personal inner circle to be jailed over the Special Counsel’s inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Cohen, acknowledged as Trump’s attorney and “fixer,” told Judge William Pauley on Wednesday that Trump had caused him to “follow a path of darkness rather than light.” He told the court his “weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump” and that he “felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”
Dpnald Trump, ever the coward, ignored reporters as they asked for his reaction later at the White House. In other words, when a friend goes to prison for loyalty to Trump, the last place he can look for help or loyalty rewarded is the “dirty deed” doer himself. Let this be a warning to all who would stand by Trump. Do so and you go to prison. Tell the truth and cooperate fully and you will be dealt with fairly and with leniency. In case you haven’t noticed by now, it’s not you they ultimately want to get.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.