Something extraordinary happened on Monday. Something significant. Something that should absolutely terrify Donald Trump to his very soul, assuming he has one. Agents of the FBI raided the offices and residence of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. According to the warrant, they were looking for information related to a payment of hush money to the porn star Stormy Daniels, who had an affair with Trump in 2006. And while that is the part of the story which will make for many salacious headlines over the coming days, it’s not really the most important aspect of the operation. What is truly astounding is what can be deduced from the events of Monday morning.
Usually, communications between a lawyer and his client are ‘privileged information’ and cannot be seized by law enforcement. The one exception is if there is evidence of illegal activity. This means that real evidence of a serious crime was presented to U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, and then to a judge, that implicates either Mr. Cohen or Mr. Trump (or both) in criminal activity dire enough to allow the FBI to ransack his offices. Such a raid would not be possible without the official permission of the judge.
Now, here’s where it gets really interesting. Geoffrey Berman is a Republican. He was a partner in a law firm with Rudy Giuliani. He gave the maximum allowable donation to the Trump campaign in 2016. He was both interviewed and appointed to his current position as the interim U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York by Donald Trump himself. Berman is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative who supports this administration. Bottom line: this is a man who would do anything in his power to protect the president if he legally could.
But he didn’t, because he couldn’t. He recused himself, knowing that his underling would sign off on the raid, even though every fiber of his being must have been frantically searching for a way to stop it. So, the takeaway from this situation can only mean one thing: the evidence provided by Robert Mueller must have been so conclusive, so airtight that it could not be overlooked. And the seriousness of the crimes must have been so heinous, so contemptible that even one of Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic devotees had to agree that this raid was not only warranted, but necessary. Trump should start drafting his letter of resignation as soon as possible.
Gordon is a writer and part-time rock star with degrees in history and literature and a devastating smile.