As the day has gone on, the mystery surrounding the Trump-Cohen tape story has become more clear. Several major news outlets are reporting that the tape was one of the very few pieces of evidence seized from Michael Cohen’s Office that was ultimately ruled to have been protected under attorney-client privilege by a federal judge – and that it was Donald Trump who decided to waive privilege. Now the new mystery is why he thought that would be a good idea, as it’s predictably blown up in his face.
Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani is falsely claiming that Trump waived privilege on the tape because it’s already out there (it isn’t). Rudy’s lie aside, what’s the real reason? Perhaps Trump was hoping that this would take the focus off his treason scandal. Perhaps he was merely trying to spitefully sabotage Michael Cohen’s ability to cut a plea deal. In any case, whatever the plan was, it didn’t work.
As it became clear that waiving attorney-client privilege and alerting the media to the tape had only served to make things worse for him, Trump aimed his rage at the Feds and at Cohen, tweeting “Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!”
To be clear, Donald Trump is lying on every count. The FBI conducted the raid based on a warrant signed by a judge. Michael Cohen had a legal right to secretly record his conversations with Trump under New York State law. And of course Trump isn’t anyone’s favorite President. After his treason summit with Vladimir Putin, it’s increasingly clear that Trump isn’t even the President.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report