There is a new interesting twist on the tour of Michael Cohen as a redemptive sinner in various congressional committees. For those of us who have been long critics of Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, he remains an admitted perjurer and disbarred lawyer. That does not mean that everything he says is untrue. However, many of us noted that Cohen’s testimony this week contained elements that directly contradicted media reports. That is includes his insistence that he never wanted a job in the White House where reports indicate that he fought hard for such a position. Another statement was that he changed his view of Trump after the controversial meeting of Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin where Trump was seen as fawning and blindly deferential. However, as I wrote when Cohen counsel Lanny Davis made this claim, it is ridiculous to suggest that Cohen (after a career as a legal thug) had a change in heart about his work due to a diplomatic controversy in Finland. Now, reports indicate that, long after Helsinki, Cohen was still trying to get people to buy a book praising Trump for his leadership and refuting critics. However, reports indicate that the book deal was scrapped before the Helsinki meeting.
I wrote about the Helsinki claim earlier because it was so vintage Cohen. Rather than admit that he was switching alliances for his own benefit, Cohen tried to portray himself as motivated by his disgust over geopolitics and later racial insensitivity over Charlottesville. The truth would seem obvious. Cohen’s long business-related crimes were discovered and he was facing likely conviction. He immediately sought a deal for himself by offering to incriminate Trump. That does not mean that his evidence is false but his motivation seems clear.
President Trump has tweeted on the story in DailyMail.com, writing about the 2008 book proposal: “Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a ‘love letter to Trump’ manuscript for a new book that he was pushing. Written and submitted long after Charlottesville and Helsinki, his phony reasons for going rogue. Book is exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!”
Cohen did reassert that Helsinki was his critical moment in turning against the President but the proposal shows Cohen pitching his faith and fealty for Trump. In the book proposal, Cohen contested that Trump is a “liar” or “crazy” or other negative descriptions. He wanted to be paid for a book tentatively entitled “Trump Revolution: From The Tower to The White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump.”
It is in sharp contrast to his testimony that Trump “is a racist, he is a con man and he is a cheat.”
Two members of Congress has called for an investigation in perjury by Cohen before the Oversight Committee.
Regardless of the book timing, I remain skeptical of Cohen’s personal ethical epiphany coming as a result of a diplomatic event thousands of miles away.