The FBI’s raid of Michael Cohen’s office and residence today was technically a move against Cohen on the part of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. But in reality it was Robert Mueller making a move directly against Donald Trump, as the records seized were communications between Cohen and Trump. Suffice it to say that Mueller just punched Trump in the face, so to speak. So now what?
Trump is, predictably, foaming at the mouth. In public he’s calling it a disgraceful attack on America. In private, suffice it to say that Maggie Haberman of the New York Times just tweeted this: “Trump is angrier than he has been at any point in the many fuming news cycles, according to two people close to him.” But keep in mind what Trump has done in similar situations like this, and also keep in mind that Mueller went into today’s raid with his eyes wide open.
Donald Trump fumed when Mueller’s team moved against Trump associates like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, but he ultimately came to the conclusion that trying to fire Mueller would be too risky of a proposition. Trump is obviously closer to Cohen than he is to anyone else who’s been busted up to this point, but Trump is a creature of habit, and he’s made clear all along that he doesn’t think he has the political muscle to get away with trying to fire Mueller.
Robert Mueller clearly either thinks Donald Trump won’t try to fire him, or he has a contingency plan in case Trump does try to fire him. Mueller has consistently demonstrated that he’s better at this than Trump is, and that he’s several steps ahead of him. Trump could end up doing anything, because he’s spiraling out of control. But his most likely move will be to fume for awhile, and then conclude that sacrificing Michael Cohen is simply necessary in order to survive another day.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report