Democrats and mainstream media have honed in on the President’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, as being the key to the “smoking gun” of campaign finance violations. Their knight in shining armor has accused the President of participating directly in hush money paid to two women with whom the President had affairs in the past.
Porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal were paid through deals worked out by Cohen to purchase and quash their stories from making it into the press. It worked until after the election when both went public. Now, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is trying to prove the President violated campaign finance laws by paying the women off to benefit his presidential campaign.
While Cohen may be revered by some as the person who can take down the President, there are three reasons why Cohen is now the President’s best defense. The first two are obvious. First, he’s a known liar. He has admitted as much and Mueller’s team have acknowledged it. Second, his relationship with the President has become adversarial, casting serious doubts on the validity of his flip-flopping testimony.
The third reason is the one that few seem to be recognizing. While Cohen has been known as the President’s former lawyer, his actual role was essentially that of “fixer.” He had the power and responsibility to both protect and insulate Trump for years. Well before there was a presidential campaign, Cohen was the guy who would take care of problems on behalf of Trump.
Had he been hired for the campaign itself, this would be a moot point. But he has years of history taking care of business on behalf of Trump. It is, at the very least, feasible Cohen would have handled the situations with Daniels and McDougal without first getting direction from the President. This would be even more likely if it can be shown Cohen or someone else in Trump’s orbit had paid off women in the past.
By showing past payoffs to women, the President can go with the story that he didn’t want to damage his marriage or business dealings. This play might hurt his reputation, but it would likely quash attempts to indict him.
This is all assuming there were past payoffs. If there weren’t, then it would be difficult for his defense to claim the two payoffs in question were not politically motivated.
Whether Cohen or anyone else had operated on Trump’s behalf in the past to pay hush money to someone is currently unknown but very likely. That’s what Cohen did for Trump. He was the fixer.
If someone needed to be paid off, Cohen would work out the details. If someone needed to be threatened, Cohen would make the call. Listening to recorded conversations of him making such threats reveals that he’s a scumbag. But he was Trump’s scumbag, and part of being a rich man’s scumbag is doing the dirty work without getting the boss involved.
Unless there are better recordings than the ones Cohen has already produced that show then-candidate Trump ordering the hush money, it’s very unlikely the Mueller investigation will yield an indictment. It’s the President’s word against his scumbag fixer’s. Indicting anyone solely on the self-serving word of Michael Cohen would be ludicrous.