Michael Cohen has less than two weeks remaining as a free man before he’s charged and indicted on financial fraud charges involving tens of millions of dollars. We’ve long known this was coming eventually – and so did he – but now there’s a specific and rather short timeframe involved. The SDNY isn’t just telling Cohen that he’ll get popped by the end of the month; they’re telling the whole world that Cohen has reached his end. This changes things rather sharply and abruptly.
First of all, now that the news is out there publicly, Michael Cohen is going to see over the next few days that Donald Trump never had any intention of pardoning him. Once Cohen sees that no magical lifeline is coming, he’ll have to decide whether to immediately cut a plea deal, or get arrested and try to fight it at trail.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Cohen is very likely about to see Paul Manafort convicted on multiple felonies this week, a reminder that going to trial on financial crimes is a long shot even if you can afford high priced attorneys. So unless Cohen is out of his head, which is possible considering the pressure and stakes involved, he’ll cut a deal. The truly interesting part here is what Cohen might do in the very brief time that he has left before he has to cut that deal.
Once Michael Cohen cuts his deal, he’ll have to go silent and play by the rules for the next couple of years, until Donald Trump’s criminal trials have concluded. Thus far, based on interviews and the incriminating recording he released, we’ve seen that Cohen may be more interested in harming Trump than in helping himself. So will Cohen spend these final pre-deal days releasing more tapes and seeking revenge on Trump? Or will the news of his imminent arrest be enough to immediately scare Cohen straight? It’s time to watch him very closely.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report