Oh, Michael Cohen. Lying didn’t work, and coming clean about lying didn’t pan out either. So what’s left but to sue Donald Trump, the very person you were lying about?
Having trouble keeping up? Join the club. It’s not easy to stay up-to-date with the ongoing saga otherwise known as Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney.
The latest chapter of the saga entails a lawsuit Cohen filed against the Trump Organization. The lawsuit came within days of a report alleging that the man did lie to Congress last week. At issue is his claim that he never asked Trump for a presidential pardon.
Perhaps the statement was meant to secure a modicum of honor for the admitted liar. However, like all the other dumb things he admitted to doing while working for Trump – and afterward – he’s doing himself far more harm than good.
Over the span of just a few years, Cohen went from being Trump’s ‘fixer’ to one of many former associates left on the outside looking in as Trump took his seat in the Oval Office. Along the way, Cohen became a key figure in the special counsel probe into the Trump campaign.
He quickly made moves to line his own financial coffers after not being asked to join the White House team. Those moves landed him in legal hot water.
One of the ways he profited was by hiding money he earned from handbag sales (yes, handbag sales) from the IRS. According to his plea deal, he declined to report the following income:
“Approximately $30,000 in profit made, in 2015, for brokering the sale of a Birkin Bag, a highly coveted French handbag that retails for between $11,900 to $300,000, depending on the type of leather or animal skin used.”
As he tried to get off on the myriad legal charges he faced, Cohen lied to prosecutors and then lied to members of Congress. He admitted during the hearing that he lied to associates and friends. It seemed lying had become his “thing.”
At the end of February, however, he claimed to have had an epiphany moment and was ready to come clean. He’d been called before members of the Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee. He was the star witness for the public hearing where Trump haters were eager to hear him expose Trump as a “racist, con, and liar.”
Before he got going, Cohen told the body of lawmakers:
“I have lied, but I’m not a liar.”
That line has remained a key to his further unraveling. In fact, it’s been amplified, as it appears Cohen was indeed playing fast and loose with the truth during that very hearing.
No sooner than a few days after Cohen’s public testimony did allegations begin surfacing that he had lied yet again.
As criticism mounted, and contradictions in his latest testimony were exposed, the convicted perjurer ran to the courts with that lawsuit in hand. On Thursday, he filed a civil complaint in New York, accusing the Trump Organization of breaking a promise to cover his legal bills.
Specifically, Cohen says that the Trump Organization didn’t reimburse him for nearly $2 million in fees that he racked up when testifying in congressional hearings, as well as in connection with his involvement in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Cohen was an attorney for the organization’s Joint Defense Group.
Cohen’s current attorney, Lanny Davis, said during the hearings in February that he was not being paid for his work. He may now want to be paid given that he’s been putting out – and even starting – all kinds of fires related to his client’s shifting stories.
In one of a slew of critical moments during last month’s hearing, Cohen said he:
“never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”
Interestingly, it wasn’t Cohen’s critics who laid out the untruthfulness of the pardon matter. It was Cohen’s own attorney, Davis himself! (You can’t make this up!)
Davis confirmed to several news outlets this week that pardon talks had come up in 2018. That’s when the FBI raided Cohen’s New York office.
It must have scared Cohen pretty good because afterward, he directed his lawyer at that time, Stephen Ryan, to talk to Trump’s attorneys about a possible pardon if he was indicted, according to Davis.
Here’s a tweet summarizing Davis’ statement:
Conventional wisdom says, “if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
Michael Cohen must not be familiar with this proverb because he’s been doing nothing but digging for at least a decade. Already, he’s pleaded guilty to several counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations.
All this came to a head after the Manhattan US attorney’s office launched an investigation into payments Cohen made to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.
Judge William Pauley said that Cohen had participated in:
“a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct. Each crime involved deception, and each crime appears to have been motivated by personal greed and ambition.”
The judge noted that Cohen’s conscience had rotted to the point of nonexistence.
“But somewhere along the way, Mr. Cohen appeared to lose his moral compass,” Pauley said. “As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better.”
He also pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress. He was charged with “knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation.” That was the result of his part in the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
With all this, you’d think Cohen would be tired. You’d think he’d want no more than to spend his last few days as a free man at home with his family and friends. You’d think he’d not want any more media spotlight. You’d think he would have learned to just stop lying.
Cohen’s only fooling himself if he thinks he’s somehow a victim. If he wasn’t paid for all the tomfoolery he claims he did out of being enamored with Trump, that’s his own dumb fault.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.