The thing about Donald Trump’s scandals is that whenever an important revelation surfaces and then gets pushed out of the headlines by newer developments, that revelation always ends up coming back eventually. For instance, a little more than two months ago, a guy known as the “Taxi King” cut a plea deal against Donald Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen. This all but guaranteed that Cohen would end up spending decades in prison, but it was nearly forgotten about in the public arena – until now.
Sure enough, we’re now learning that the Feds have spent the past two months working with Evgeny “Taxi King” Freidman to work their way through the financial history of Michael Cohen’s own taxi cab business. As one would have expected them to find, Cohen was allegedly running the same kinds of scams that Freidman was, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. So what does this mean for Cohen?
The short answer is that Freidman is going to do to Cohen what Rick Gates has spent the week doing to Paul Manafort. There are few things more devastating to a defendant than when a co-conspirator cuts a plea deal and pulls back the curtain on the crimes they were committing together. It could end up being messy to prove that Cohen was knowingly violating federal election law when he paid off Stormy Daniels, and maybe Cohen thinks he can beat those charges at trial. But he has virtually no chance of beating these tax fraud charges, because his own taxi buddy just drove him off a cliff.
Based on the actions he’s already taken, Michael Cohen is more or less committed to cutting a plea deal, whether he fully realizes it or not. You have to wonder if the Feds gave this story to the Journal in order to make clear to Cohen just how profoundly screwed he is, and that it’s time to come in and cut that deal. Otherwise, Cohen is facing Paul Manafort’s future – and Manafort has no future.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report