In the day and a half since the deadly fire at Trump Tower in New York City, readers have been asking me if I thought it was some kind of Trump-Russia arson to destroy evidence. Nothing surprises me these days, but I didn’t see it as being likely. In the hours since the FBI subsequently raided the New York City office and residence of Donald Trump’s Attorney Michael Cohen, readers have been asking me if perhaps this has changed my mind. So let’s talk about what is and isn’t going on here.
Part of the popular belief that there’s a connection between the fire and the raid is the false notion being spread on social media that today’s raid took place Trump Tower. However that is not the case, as neither Cohen’s Office nor residence is in Trump Tower. So once you take away that misnomer, the connections get thinner.
There are a couple of criminals living in Trump Tower near the 50th floor. But in all seriousness, there are so many convicted and alleged criminals living in Trump Tower, you could probably find one living near any fire that took place anywhere in the building. So unless evidence emerges tying these particular nearby criminals to the Trump-Russia scandal, and right now there isn’t any, this isn’t a strong argument.
Here is the strongest argument. One notable aspect of the FBI raid is that for a judge to have signed off on a search warrant in lieu of a subpoena, the judge had to have believed there was good reason to suspect that Cohen might try to destroy the evidence. In that sense a fire at Trump Tower, just one day before a judge decided Trump’s attorney might try to destroy evidence, does raise eyebrows.
That said, I still don’t see it, and I’ll tell you why. Donald Trump’s operatives have consistently proven themselves to be almost comically incompetent. But I have a hard time imagining that even they would be dumb enough to try to burn evidence in a fire at Trump Tower, which they had to have known would make the news, when it would have been much easier to take the evidence somewhere else less suspicious and destroy it. Also, Donald Trump’s residence and office are nowhere near the 50th floor. But that’s just my take, and more evidence may yet emerge.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report