It is hard to imagine what it must be like to work in the Trump administration or for him in any other capacity. Facing scandals and utter chaos in every direction, the Trump team has been in a perpetual state of crisis for as long as it has existed. In recent times however, the crises have multiplied and become significantly more threatening to everyone involved in the mad king’s fiefdom. According to Politico, Trump allies are now freaking out about the possibility that the president’s pugnacious lawyer Michael Cohen may well be about to flip and turn on Trump to save his skin:
President Donald Trump and his outside advisers are increasingly worried that his longtime personal attorney might be susceptible to cooperating with federal prosecutors.
Two sources close to the president said people in Trump’s inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen — long seen as one of Trump’s most loyal personal allies — might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump.
“That’s what they’ll threaten him with: life imprisonment,” said Alan Dershowitz, the liberal lawyer and frequent Trump defender who met with the president and his staff over two days at the White House last week. “They’re going to threaten him with a long prison term and try to turn him into a canary that sings.”
CBS also reported that Cohen is under extreme pressure and could well turn on the president:
CBS News’ Jeff Pegues confirms according to sources close to Cohen that the raids have indeed squeezed him, creating great pressure. Those close to Cohen are concerned he could turn against the president and cooperate with investigators.
According to the Politico piece, what has Trump allies spooked is Cohen’s apparent personality change since his offices were raided by the FBI over his involvement in the $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels:
In an interview with CNN last week, Cohen called the raid “unsettling to say the least.” But he also said in the same interview that the federal agents were “extremely professional, courteous and respectful” — a dramatic departure from his usual combative style.
Those comments raised eyebrows among some in Trump’s inner circle, who noted that one of the president’s most ferocious attack dogs seemed unusually taciturn.
“When anybody is faced with spending a long time in jail, they start to re-evaluate their priorities, and cooperation can’t be ruled out,” said one Trump ally who knows Cohen.
Talk of Cohen flipping is now public knowledge, with several prominent Trump supporters openly discussing the chances of him turning on his client.
“If you said to me and I had to flip a coin, is he going to turn on President Trump or turn on other people? I would say adamantly no,” former communications director Anthony Scaramucci said on MSNBC on Wednesday.
Of course this implies the charges against Cohen have real merit — a notion that seems to be now generally accepted. Cohen may well be charged for bank and wire fraud, and is coming under increasing scrutiny in the Mueller probe. They are serious charges, and given Cohen’s recent behavior it appears he is beginning to understand just how much trouble he is in. The FBI do not raid your offices on a whim, and when it happens it sends a very, very clear message to whomever they are targeting: we will turn your life upside down and use everything in our means to bring you down. As tough as Cohen thinks he is, he is no match for the FBI or the prosecutor’s office in the Southern District of New York.
Should Cohen turn on Trump, it will send seismic waves through the White House and undermine what is left Trump’s tattered administration. Trump clearly understands the stakes here, and in a clear effort to send a message to Cohen, pardoned Vice President Dick Cheney’s senior aide “Scooter” Libby on perjury charges last week. The timing could not have been more obvious (despite denials by the White House), and Cohen will read it as a message for him to stay strong and fall on his sword in the hopes of a pardon (and likely a lot of money). This may go some way in convincing Cohen, but the prospect of a prison sentence — no matter how long does funny things to people. He has a family and an extraordinarily privileged life, and the threat of losing that at his age may well be too much. It also isn’t clear that Trump is going to be in a position to hand out a presidential pardon given the recent developments in the Russia probe, so Cohen may well want to cut his losses and roll over to save his own skin. Trump is loyal only to himself, and deep down Cohen understands this, making the likelihood of him flipping a very good bet.