Last month Palmer Report spelled out why it was clear that Michael Cohen was fairly broke during the election. People with substantial assets aren’t so hard up for cash that they have to take out a home equity line just to pay someone $130,000. A week later, Bloomberg spelled out that Cohen is still broke, with the value of his assets in freefall. Yet now we’re learning that Cohen has received millions in bribe money. So where is it?
Various reports over the past twenty-four hours have revealed that since Donald Trump took office, Michael Cohen has received $500,000 dollars from a Russian oligarch, $600,000 from AT&T (up from the original report of $200,000), and $1.2 million from Novartis. These are just the payoffs that have been exposed thus far, and we’re already into the million of dollars; logically speaking, these were probably far from the only payoffs of their type. So how can a guy receive millions of dollars in a relatively short period of time, yet still be broke?
There are at least a couple possible explanations. One would be that Michael Cohen’s taxi company, which is losing value by the day thanks to rising competition from the likes of Uber and Lyft, has become such a sinkhole that it’s swallowed up all the cash that Cohen has had coming in from the various bribes. Another would be that these payments weren’t really to Cohen, they were really to Trump, and Cohen was only taking his cut before passing the rest along to Trump.
The bottom line is that we don’t know for sure. But if Michael Avenatti has Michael Cohen’s banking records, rest assured that Robert Mueller and the SDNY have them as well. So we’ll get our answers soon enough about where these millions of dollars went after Michael Cohen received them. For now it’s yet another head scratching aspect of what’s shaping up to be the most corrupt and complex criminal scandal in history.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report