Editor's Brief

Trump’s Dangerous Game of Chicken with Michael Cohen

NEW YORK, USA - DECEMBER 12 : Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen arrives with his family for his sentencing hearing at United States Federal Court in New York, United States on December 12, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Oz... NEW YORK, USA - DECEMBER 12 : Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen arrives with his family for his sentencing hearing at United States Federal Court in New York, United States on December 12, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 18, 2019 11:22 am

I want to discuss some details in the background of that new Buzzfeed reporting about Trump, Cohen and the Trump Tower Moscow deal. It’s more a matter of deduction, inference and some speculation. But you can’t understand what’s happening between Trump and Cohen without this part of the story.

As noted in last night’s post, the most logical source of this story is federal law enforcement centered out of New York City. But Michael Cohen also appears to be talking extensively to congressional investigators. In any case, President Trump obviously knows whatever it is he himself did. He doesn’t need to hear about it from Buzzfeed or sources on Capitol Hill. For all these reasons, President Trump clearly has a lot to fear from Michael Cohen, about topics that go far beyond the details of his hush money payments and campaign finance law violations. Trump wants to punish Cohen and shut him up.

Next consider that ABC News reported yesterday that Cohen was thinking of rolling back his congressional testimony because he feared President Trump’s escalating attacks are endangering his family. I checked in on this and Cohen’s worries seem to be two-tiered. One is the standard and understandable fear that the President’s railing could trigger some unhinged person to do something violent and rash. But it’s hard to figure where Trump’s comments are more likely to do that this week than they were last week or last month. The other concern – I suspect the driving concern – is that Cohen worries that Trump is trying to endanger his family, specifically his father-in-law, either legally or through violence.

This requires closer attention.

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