In a very interesting interview article by Isaac Chotiner with former Starr investigation attorney Paul Rosenzweig in Slate titled “What is Michael Cohen’s Endgame?” Rosenzweig expresses skepticism about the likelihood of Cohen cutting a plea bargain deal favorable to himself with prosecutors assuming, as seems likely, that he will eventually be charged with something or other. Like virtually all coverage to date, Chotiner’s article and Rosenzweig’s comments rest on the assumption that it is the Mueller investigation that is the primary mover behind the search warrant on Cohen. That looks like a reasonable assumption.
It is not, however, the only possibility. Cohen’s office was searched and documents and recordings were seized under a search warrant on April 9, 2018. President Trump terminated Cohen as (one of his) attorney(s) shortly thereafter, in May 2018. The mainstream media (MSM) immediately assumed this was somehow going to be very bad for Trump.
Recent events, however, hint at what might be a very different scenario:
First, Cohen’s own oddly public discussion(s) of the matter and his leaking of a partial recording (consistently referred to by the MSM as a ‘tape’ though more likely made with a digital voice recorder) of a phone conversation with Trump are, as Rosenzweig points out in the article cited above, extremely bizarre behavior for anyone with a real possibility of cutting a deal with prosecutors who are out to get Trump.
Second, Trump’s attorneys willingly and quickly waved attorney-client privilege with regard to all the recordings seized from Cohen’s office. This, even though the recordings of Trump were classified as privileged by the court and could have remained so if Trump’s attorneys wanted them to.
Third, Trump’s highly visible ‘spokes-attorney’ Rudy Giuliani has recently, in a Fox News interview, said that a) he expects all of Cohen’s recordings will eventually be made public and that b) he’d be happy to have them all made public immediately! Giuliani was obviously cheerful and very much enjoying himself in that interview, clearly expecting that release of all the tapes would reflect negatively on Cohen and pose no problem whatsoever for President Trump.
Fourth, Giuliani and others have hinted that many of Cohen’s recordings were with members of the press. Recall that the Trump administration was, early on, plagued by unfavorable leaks from ‘inside the White House’ to hostile members of the media. Such leaks began considerably to diminish in frequency and severity starting late in the spring of 2017.
Fifth, and finally, the search warrant against Cohen was issued as part of a criminal investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York , not directly by the Mueller investigation. Note, too, that it is said to have been pressure from that very office that led James Comey to decide he had to reverse Peter Strzok‘s month-long ignoring of the issue of the presence of Hillary Clinton‘s emails on Anthony Wiener‘s laptop and to publicly address the matter just a week before the 2016 election.
Add it all up and a very interesting possibility emerges: The possibility that it was not Mueller but, rather, the Trump administration that was the real driver behind the investigation of Michael Cohen.
Perhaps Trump or Trump’s people began to suspect that Michael Cohen was the source of many of the damaging leaks to the hostile media and perhaps also working against his client’s (President Trump’s) interests in other ways as well. Perhaps they suspected him of disloyalty and betrayal, maybe even collusion with the #neverTrump movement.
Admittedly this is very speculative at this point, however it is an alternative way for “Reading the Signs of the Times” that is remarkably consistent with the five points noted above. I’m just sayin’ . . ..