The instruments of darkness tell us truths.
Michael Cohen is not a happy man. Look at the dark bags under his eyes, the turned-down mouth, the grim expression. He laments being the fall guy for Donald Trump’s “dirty deeds” and that’s over and above his own string of crimes. No, he’s not the happy guy with the cigar and plaid jacket on a Manhattan sidewalk. And gone is the pugnacious fixer with the obscenity and threat-filled phone calls.
The fellow who rubbed shoulders with the Trump brand and the Trump squire and The Kids is no more. That guy will enter the federal prison in Otisville, N.Y. on March 6 to serve out a three-year term. Otisville is one of the cushiest pens around but still, barbed wire is barbed wire.
But Michael Cohen is especially despondent. It’s those threats.
Rats. Snitches. Turncoats. They generally do not fare well in prison. The kingpin in the White House has made sure anyone sitting in front of a TV associates those words with Cohen. The fallen lawyer will soon know what it means to betray the boss. Disloyalty earns the badge of dishonor among thieves. Along with that name-calling came public threats and veiled allusions to some unknown criminality against his father-in-law.
“Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!” tweeted Trump back in January. Then he phoned in to Judge Jeanine Pirro on Fox and repeated the accusation while his TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani spouted the same rhetoric on CNN.
Cohen had heard enough. Scheduled to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, the one-time fixer backed out. Cohen let his lawyer/adviser Lanny Davis, speak for him:
“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date.”
But not all was lost. A second date was set. Cohen would appear on Feb. 8. However, it would be behind closed doors with no public live stream. And in a move that deserves more emphasis, Cohen was subpoenaed by Rep. Adam Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee, not the Oversight Committee.
Just as that time approached, Schiff, the head of House Intel, switched the date yet again, moving it to Feb. 28 where it now stands.
The on-again, off-again Congressional appearances have moved from high drama and anticipation to shrouded secrecy and questions. The newest postponement from Schiff adds to the intrigue. His reasoning is vague, saying it is in the interests of the investigation.
These may be the least explosive suppositions for the postponement:
- Is Schiff waiting for Trump to leave the country? His tete-a-tete with Kim Jong-un is scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28 in Viet Nam.
- Did Schiff want to make sure there was no government shutdown clouding news from Cohen’s testimony?
Michael Cohen is wrapped up in nearly every Trumpworld investigation like a bright red float bobbing in the center of a mass of seaweed atop a churning sea. And breakthroughs come like the clap of an ocean wave by the hour.
This morning, new revelations bring new questions.
- Is Cohen privy to the legendary vault at the National Enquirer? What other secrets does he possess, either in his memory or on tape, and do they incriminate Donald Trump in a RICO scheme?
- Can Cohen act as an eyewitness to extortion and/or blackmail efforts by the Enquirer and can he entangle the Trump name in these actions?
But even if the Jeff Bezos news were not rocking the headlines, Cohen is a centerpiece in other inquiries, and Schiff may be gathering all the threads and sorting them out before proceeding. He does not want to intrude into the Mueller probe or into other state investigations.
The following areas might be included and give Schiff pause.
- Cohen also has taped phone calls with principals of the Trump Inauguration Committee, now under scrutiny. What information can he share with Schiff?
- Might that mystery Mueller grand jury with the foreign corporation owned by a foreign state be somehow related to Cohen?
- If the BuzzFeed revelations are true, then Cohen is implicating not only Donald Trump but Donald, Jr. and Ivanka in that Moscow Tower scheme.
- The McClatchey report places Cohen’s cell phone in or near Prague in late 2016 and coordinates with the covert clean-up meeting held with Kremlin agents and Cohen. If the meeting took place and Cohen was present, then this casts more shade on Trump associates Carter Page and Paul Manafort.
- Timing is everything. If past is precedent, then we can expect major news from the Special Counsel while Trump is out of the country. Keep in mind that the final sentencing for Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort will each occur in early March. Is Cohen’s delayed testimony part of a coordinated prelude to an earth-shattering indictment?
What we do know – the fallen fixer with the doleful eyes will get his day of prime air time. Just last night, Lanny Davis in an interview on MSNBC, stated that Cohen will speak publicly some time in late February. Based on his praise of Rep. Elijah Cummins, who heads up the House Oversight Committee, it looks like Cohen’s public tell-all will originate from that committee.
The world is hoping Michael Cohen doesn’t get cold feet – in all ways imaginable. As the center of so much criminality, his dark secrets will reveal uncomfortable truths that need to be heard.