Now that Michael Cohen has begun the complex process of cutting a plea deal with federal prosecutors – and yes, that’s what’s happening here, even as cable news continues to slow walk the story – the big question is what Cohen can give up about Donald Trump. To get his deal, he’ll have to tell the Feds everything he knows about Trump’s dirt and scandals. Perhaps even more importantly, Cohen will have to turn over his evidence against Trump – including his tapes.
Two weeks ago, Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti managed to get Michael Cohen’s attorney to admit in court that Cohen taped his conversations with Donald Trump. Avenatti then announced that Cohen was keeping those tapes under “lock and key” which made it sound like the tapes were not found by the FBI when it raided Cohen’s home and office. To get his plea deal, Cohen will have to surrender those tapes to federal prosectors in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Those tapes will then become available to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as well. So what’s on these tapes?
The question here is why Michael Cohen would have secretly recorded his conversations with Donald Trump. Considering the nature of the work that Cohen did for Trump, it’s not difficult to parse that Cohen wanted an insurance policy. If he retained evidence that Trump instructed him to carry out various illegal coverup activities, then Cohen could always use those tapes as a bargaining chip if he ever got busted.
Now Michael Cohen has been busted, and he’s looking to bargain. So here come the Trump-Cohen tapes, which almost certainly incriminate Donald Trump. We may not get to immediately hear them – but what’s more important is that Robert Mueller will be able to immediately get his hands on them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report