The real reason Michael Cohen is still sitting on secrets about Donald Trump

On his way to prison yesterday, Michael Cohen told reporters that he knows even more secrets about Donald Trump’s crimes. This was widely interpreted as some kind of tease, as if Cohen were saying that he’s going to keep it entirely to himself for the next three years. But that can’t possibly be what Cohen meant, because such a move would make no sense on any level.

Michael Cohen has spent the past few months showing us just how eager he is to expose Donald Trump’s crimes in the name of trying to lighten his own prison sentence. If he has more dirt on Trump that we don’t yet know about, it’s not because he likes to keep secrets. It’s because he can’t publicly reveal it yet – and the only explanation for that is ongoing criminal cases that aren’t yet public in nature.

By all accounts, Cohen spent a huge number of hours giving cooperative testimony to Robert Mueller, for the Feds at the SDNY, and for the State of New York. The redacted Mueller report has since been released, but we have almost no knowledge of the fourteen ongoing criminal cases he spun off to other prosecutors. Whatever Trump-related criminal cases the SDNY is pursuing, we’ve very little of it. Whatever New York State is working on, we’ve seen none of it beyond the Manafort charges, which had nothing to do with Cohen. Whatever Cohen gave these various prosecutors, it’s still under wraps.

It’s not difficult to parse that when Michael Cohen says he has additional Trump-related criminal dirt that he can’t talk about yet, it’s because it’s connected to these ongoing criminal cases. To publicly spill the beans now would be to risk those cases. Cohen also expressed confidence that he might get out of prison a lot sooner than his sentence calls for – but he’s legally required to serve at least 85% of it. The only way Cohen would get out early is if his cooperation ends up leading to convictions, and prosecutors then ask the judge to shorten his sentence. We’ll see what happens, but Cohen seems to be counting on it.

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