Yesterday, after we saw that Michael Cohen was publicly praising and thanking the FBI agents who had just finished raiding his office and residence, Palmer Report pointed out that this felt like Cohen was considering flipping on Donald Trump. If Cohen were seeking a pardon, he’d have been echoing Trump’s angry rants about attorney-client privilege. Instead Cohen was trying to make nice with the Feds. It was a bit subtle, of course. But now it’s become more clear that Cohen is indeed looking at flipping. In fact he’s apparently been chewing on it since before the raid.
Late last night the Associated Press reported that Cohen has spent the past few weeks privately telling his associates that he’s now afraid of “being a fall guy” in Trump’s scandals. Obviously, Cohen is correct to worry that he’s in severe legal trouble. But what stands out here is the choice of words.
The “fall guy” is someone who takes the fall for others. Cohen is worried that he’s going to take the fall for Trump’s crimes. This means that Cohen either doesn’t trust Trump to pardon him, or doesn’t think Trump can legally pull off a pardon of an alleged co-conspirator. If Robert Mueller hits Cohen with the kinds of criminal charges he’s brought against the likes of Paul Manafort, and if a jury sees it Mueller’s way, Cohen could spend the rest of his life in prison for having been Trump’s fixer.
As has been the case with Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and other Donald Trump loyalists who have found themselves facing the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in prison, Michael Cohen now seems to be looking at his options rather soberly. The only way for him to make sure he doesn’t go to prison for decades is to cut a plea deal against Donald Trump. He won’t want to do that, but it’s now clear that he’s already looking at the possibility.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report