How Much Trouble Is Michael Cohen In?

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This is a helluva strange story from the Wall Street Journal:

One of President Donald Trump’s longtime legal advisers said he warned the president in a phone call Friday that Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and close friend, would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges.

Mr. Trump made the call seeking advice from Jay Goldberg, who represented Mr. Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president not to trust Mr. Cohen. On a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, Mr. Cohen “isn’t even a 1,” he said he told Mr. Trump….“Michael will never stand up [for you]” if charged by the government, Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president.

….Mr. Goldberg provided fresh details about the search warrants executed against Mr. Cohen, which he said came from a conversation in recent days with Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb. Mr. Cohen faces scrutiny over his payment to the former adult-movie star Stephanie Clifford for her silence, as well as his taxi business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Put aside the question of whether any of this is true. It doesn’t matter. The real question is why Jay Goldberg repeatedly, and in vivid terms, told a national newspaper that (a) Cohen was unreliable, (b) he had reported this to Trump, and (c) Trump apparently didn’t push back. This isn’t the kind of conversation that would normally elicit anything more than a terse “no comment,” but Goldberg provided the Journal with a two-hour interview.

This is not an accident. Nor is Goldberg just a guy who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. He’s a skilled and famous lawyer who’s, um, associated with mob figures like Matty “The Horse” Ianniello, Joe “Scarface” Agone, and Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes,” and who once described himself to a gossip columnist as a ‘‘killer’’ who could ‘‘rip skin off a body.’’

So why did Goldberg do this? And why did the White House not push back against the story? Was there some reason that all parties involved wanted to make sure that this opinion of Cohen was made very, very public?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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