I have previously noted that the ultimate strategy for Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer of President Donald Trump, could be a presidential pardon. With a search warrant covering everything from Stormy Daniels to Ukrainian transactions to Russian deals to taxi medallions, the situation looks pretty bleak for Cohen (who was also allegedly today to be in arrears on his taxes for his medallion business). As I noted in my recent column, two men are in a position to get Cohen out of the quagmire of his own creation: Trump and Mueller. If there was any question of whether Cohen is more likely to pursue a pardon than a deal, it was in his comment yesterday to a radio show host: “I’d rather jump out of a building than turn on Donald Trump.”
Of course, prosecutors may view that description as apt if Cohen is criminally charged. Absent a pardon, Cohen would be unlikely to garner much sympathy from the court in any sentencing given his controversial actions in his career.
The statement clearly reflects what has appealed most to Trump in Cohen: loyalty. However, the choice of proven loyalty over proven ability is a dangerous one as shown by the utter disaster that Cohen created in the Stormy Daniels controversy.
The problem for Cohen could come with the passage of time. If prosecutors find different criminal acts by Cohen, it will become more difficult to portray him as the victim of a “witch hunt” . After all, if Mueller’s team did find probable cause of criminal acts, they are supposed to act on that evidence, In this case, the matter was left to career prosecutors in the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.