Turns out the FBI raid of Michael Cohen is all Donald Trump’s fault


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Donald Trump is fuming, publicly and privately, over the FBI’s raid today on his attorney Michael Cohen. Trump is right to be concerned, as this means the judge who signed off on the warrant believed it would result in evidence that Trump and Cohen conspired to commit a crime, the only kind of evidence that would be admissible under these circumstances. But as the details emerge, it turns out the raid was made possible entirely thanks to Trump’s bungling.

Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller metaphorically “signed off” on the raid in the sense that he referred it to the relevant U.S. Attorney’s office, the person who literally signed off on the raid is Geoffrey Berman. He’s the Interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. If that position sounds familiar, it’s the job that Preet Bharara held until Trump fired him more than a year ago, specifically in the hope of avoiding this kind of scenario. Trump replaced Bharara with Berman, presumably expecting that Berman would protect him and his people from this kind of raid.

Instead, Berman signed off on the raid, having decided to do his job and adhere to the rule of law instead of obstructing justice on Donald Trump’s behalf. This means that Trump guessed wildly wrong when he picked Berman, and now Michael Cohen has paid the price for it. Berman isn’t the only Trump appointee who screwed him today by doing the right thing.

Last year Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in the hope that doing so would shut down the Trump-Russia investigation. Trump replaced Comey with Christopher Wray, whom he must have believed would protect him in this kind of scenario. But Wray clearly give his approval for the FBI’s raid on Michael Cohen today, or else it wouldn’t have happened. When it comes to trying to protect himself, Trump has proven himself a consistently poor judge of character; his appointees simply haven’t been willing to break the law for him.

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