There have been rumors for months about Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer and "fixer," and the possibility of criminal charges. As of this afternoon, those rumors are poised to become fact.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News.Cohen is expected to plead guilty to charges related to bank fraud, tax fraud and a campaign finance violation, stemming from a federal investigation in New York. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The details of the story are still coming into focus, but in terms of how these developments relate to the president, we need to know whether Cohen's plea deal includes a cooperation agreement. In other words, as part of the negotiations with prosecutors, will Trump's former attorney agree to be a witness against his former boss?
According to the New York Times, the answer is no. The newspaper, reporting a detail that has not yet been confirmed by MSNBC or NBC News, said this afternoon the deal that does not include cooperation with authorities.
This suggests Cohen has not "flipped" on Trump, at least at this stage in the process. That said, the process is far from over.
In the meantime, there is some political embarrassment for the president having his personal attorney plead guilty to several charges. Indeed, the list of people in Trump's orbit who've been charged with crimes keeps growing:
* Trump's personal lawyer (Michael Cohen)* Trump's campaign chairman (Paul Manafort)* Trump's deputy campaign chairman (Rick Gates)* Trump's White House national security adviser (Michael Flynn)* Trump's campaign foreign policy adviser (George Papadopoulos)
This list may yet grow. In fact, it's probably worth taking a moment to acknowledge that the president himself is the subject of an ongoing investigation.
Trump said at a White House event yesterday that Democrats "don't mind crime." Alas, the irony was lost on him.
I have a hunch you'll be hearing more about these developments on tonight's Rachel Maddow Show.