You can take all of the verbal back-and-forth between Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, along with the leaked Trump-Cohen tape, and the Trump Tower meeting bombshell, for whatever you think they’re worth. They’re each a sign that things are irreparably frayed between Trump and Cohen, to the point that Cohen only has one way out of this. But if you’re looking for something official that makes clear that Cohen really is flipping, it just happened.
Earlier this month Michael Cohen told Good Morning America that, once he got settled in with his newly hired criminal defense attorney, he was planning to sever his joint legal defense with Donald Trump. This was a big deal, because it’s the official legal move you have to make before you can cut a plea deal. In fact we saw Michael Flynn and Rick Gates each make this same move just days before they cut their deals. The question was whether Cohen would actually go through with severing.
Sure enough, Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani announced on ABC News on Sunday that the joint legal defense between Trump and Cohen has indeed been severed. Of course Giuliani is a frequent liar, but there would be no reason for him to lie about something like this. In fact it wasn’t particularly wise for Rudy to give this away, because it’s bad news for Trump.
So how soon will Michael Cohen cut his plea deal? We’ll see. But as we said, other Trump underlings have cut plea deals within days of severing their joint defense agreements. With the news that Cohen is willing to testify that Donald Trump was behind the treasonous Trump Tower meeting with the Russians during the election, it’s all but inevitable that Cohen will flip. But now that he’s finally made this particular legal move, there’s no more guessing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report