This morning ABC News reported that Donald Trump’s fixer has begun the process of cutting a plea deal, and then NBC News reported that Cohen was flipping because he’d just been informed by prosecutors that he was about to be arrested. In the hours since, a number of conflicting narratives have surfaced which offer different explanations for what’s really going on – but those narratives appear to be little more than disinformation coming from Cohen and his lawyers.
In fact Michael Cohen has been pushing disinformation since yesterday. Vanity Fair reported that Cohen had been telling his friends that he expected to be arrested any day now. Cohen then denied that he had told his friends this. We know Vanity Fair didn’t just make up the story, and it’s difficult to imagine that Cohen’s friends would have run to the media with false claims about what Cohen was telling them. This morning it became more clear why Cohen was bothering to push back: he didn’t want anyone to figure out that he had begun the process of cutting a plea deal. This afternoon he’s continuing to push disinformation.
For instance, Cohen is now floating the notion that he fired his lawyers as an “SOS” to Donald Trump for help. Of course this makes no sense. If Cohen were trying to send a signal that he needed Trump’s help, he wouldn’t have done so by firing the lawyers that Trump had helped arrange for him. So this is obviously disinformation. Now another narrative is being floated that Cohen’s lawyers quit due to non-payment. Not only does this conflict with the notion that Cohen fired them as an SOS (did they quit or were they fired?), it also makes no sense. Trump always finds a way to pay the lawyers in the Trump-Russia scandal, by using his reelection funds or RNC money or some other scheme. Even if these lawyers weren’t getting paid, they’d have known the money was coming in the end.
In other words, it appears that Michael Cohen and the lawyers Trump set him up with are floating disinformation aimed at distracting us from the obvious: he’s begun the process of cutting a plea deal against Trump. Cohen doesn’t want his deal out there yet, for obvious reasons. Trump’s side doesn’t want it out there, either, because it’s such devastating news for them. Keep this in mind: when Michael Flynn parted ways with his Trump-friendly lawyers, his plea deal was formally announced just eight days later. We all know where this is headed.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report