An emotional Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years after pleading guilty to nine federal charges stemming from his failure to report millions of dollars in income making secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
One of the charges Cohen pleaded guilty to included a separate charge, stemming from Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump’s potential collusion with Russia, that he lied to Congress about his dealings with a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. […]
Pauley sentenced Cohen to 36 months for the eight charges from the Southern District and an additional two months for the Mueller charge, which will run concurrently. The judge added a $50,000 fine and said Cohen must turn himself on March 6.
It’s worth emphasizing that when looking at the list of felonies Cohen has been convicted of, two of them were committed in coordination with the sitting president of the United States – according to Cohen and prosecutors.
Indeed, the Mueller charge referenced in the NBC News report was Cohen lying to Congress about Trump’s efforts to negotiate a Trump Tower Moscow deal during the 2016 presidential campaign. Though Cohen cooperated with the special counsel’s office, he nevertheless received a two-month prison sentence for his dishonesty.
I wonder if others in the president’s orbit took note of this.
If recent history is any guide, we’ll soon see the White House insist that Cohen was a peripheral figure in Trump’s life, and his 36-month prison sentence shouldn’t’ reflect poorly on Cohen’s former employer.
In fact, a few months ago, Trump appeared on Fox News and said Cohen “worked more or less” as a “part-time” employee for him. The president added, in reference to Cohen, “Not somebody that was with me that much…. I would see him sometimes.”
Let’s set the record straight. As we discussed in April, when the White House first offered hints of this strategy, any effort to put some distance between Trump and Cohen may be hilarious, but it’s also doomed. Axios accurately described Cohen as Trump’s “make-it-go-away guy,” adding, “Cohen … is the only person on earth intertwined in Trump’s professional, political, personal, legal and family life.”
We are, after all, talking about the former vice president of the Trump Organization.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake made a compelling case earlier this year that any plan that involves putting distance between Trump and his fixer is going to fail.
Trump certainly has a lot of lawyers – especially given his special counsel investigation problem – but Cohen was the only one negotiating hush-money payments with porn stars, appearing on TV as a surrogate, and to whom Trump regularly referred as “my attorney.” Cohen is the guy who has expressed unflinching and complete loyalty to Trump.
Cohen isn’t just another lawyer. In fact, “lawyer” doesn’t begin to describe his closeness to Trump.
When the Republican National Committee last year made Cohen a national deputy finance chair, it wasn’t because the RNC was impressed with his legal practice.