Thursday, April 26, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said things at 7:30 A.M. that federal prosecutors were using against his "fixer" by 9:30.

Trump called into his favorite TV show, Fox & Friends, this morning. Over the course of a 31-minute interview that left his allies alarmed and the show's hosts visibly struggling to cut him off, he made sure to emphasize that Michael Cohen did only a "tiny, tiny fraction" of Trump's legal work. In particular, he said that Cohen "represents me like with this crazy stormy Daniels deal, he represented me."

(Earlier this month, Trump flatly denied knowing anything about the hush money Cohen paid on his behalf to the porn actress Trump apparently had an affair with early in his third marriage.)

Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors seized files from his home and office. Cohen had been attempting to argue that, since he is a lawyer, he should be able to decide which of his files are excluded from the investigation. Trump's declaration that Cohen is not really his lawyer helped DOJ lawyers argue in a motion filed just hours later that he should not be allowed to do so.
Later in the day, the judge in the case effectively ruled against Cohen, meaning that prosecutors will be able to review the seized files almost immediately. In effect, Trump himself may have fatally compromised Cohen's ability to shield Trump from investigation.

Trump seemed to be trying to distance himself politically from Cohen, whose legal troubles have caused him even more anxiety than the Mueller probe, according to his aides. But Trump may have bought himself some trouble in the process. Cohen has already invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the Stormy Daniels case, and both his friends and Trump's have speculated that he might be willing to testify against Trump

What's the problem here?

  • People who tell the truth don't change their story.
  • As a rule it's not a bad thing if a person suspected of crimes undermines his own defense, but it's very bad if the person in that situation is the President of the United States.