Here’s Why The Cohen Raid Will Keep The Trumps Up At Night

The FBI raid on the offices of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen – one of the president’s closest and longest-serving confidants – has rattled investors, political analysts and even the president himself as many have determined – correctly, it seems – that these raids represent nothing short of a major turning point in the long-running Mueller probe.

Since investigators must convince a judge that there’s a high possibility they will discover evidence of criminality before receiving approval for a search warrant, the criminal stakes for Cohen – who has been accused by a watchdog group of lying under oath and of violating campaign finance laws in connection with his $130,000 Stormy Daniels payoff – have never been higher.



And in a 13-part twitter thread published this morning, Adam Davidson (the New Yorker staff writer and host of popular podcast Planet Money) explained exactly why the raid on Cohen’s office is such a watershed moment in the probe.

The upshot, is that, other than Don Jr. or Ivanka turning states’ witness against their father, Cohen is the former Trump Organization dealmaker who is most likely to provide investigators with evidence of criminality.

As Davidson explains, Cohen’s role within the Trump administration was never that of a typical attorney – the firm had other attorneys who handled the legal grunt work.

Cohen’s role could best be described as “roving dealmaker” – perhaps the only resident dealmaker in the Trump Organization who wasn’t a member of the Trump family.

Because of this, Cohen had a front-row seat when the Trump Organization turned to shady third-tier oligarchs – a group that includes corrupt politicians, sanctions violators and money launderers – for financing after the president rescued his business from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s.

If Cohen were to flip, he could provide damning testimony against Don Jr. and Ivanka.

Trump did business with these shady oligarchs more or less openly. The only question – and this is the whole reason why Mueller bothered to subpoena the Trump Organization – is how much did the Trump’s know about their partners’ violations of sanctions and international law?

As anybody who remembers the email Cohen allegedly sent to a Kremlin spokesman regarding Trump Tower Moscow might have already guessed, Cohen is clearest link between the Trumps and Russia.

Many were stunned when Trump made Cohen his sole personal attorney post election. But the appointment makes sense: The goal was to get sensitive document’s about Cohen’s role out of the Trump Organization and into a private office. Cohen, of course, ran his practice with a single client: Trump.



Now, we can be sure that whatever documents they had tried to hide from Mueller are now in the hands of the FBI.

Therefore, Davidson concludes, the raid on Cohen’s office is the outcome that Trump has been most worried about since the beginning of the probe – hence his unusually forceful condemnation of the raid when he was supposed to be discussing options for a military response in Syria.

What’s worse for Trump, as Davidson points out, Cohen has some reason to feel abandoned – or at least neglected – by his longtime boss. Trump didn’t bring Cohen to the White House with him – instead leaving him to run his practice in New York.

And while Cohen has been a stalwart defender of the president in the press, Davidson says acts of loyalty in Trump world are typically for show.

Of course, the president can always pardon Cohen – and such a pardon is extremely likely, Davidson believes.

Despite the nature of Cohen’s relationship with Trump and his role in the Trump Organization, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz warned Monday during an appearance on Fox News that the FBI raid was an assault on the privileged lawyer-client relationship. Dershowitz said the raid was an attempt to turn Cohen against Trump.

“This may be an attempt to squeeze Cohen,” he said. “He’s the lawyer, he’s the guy who knows all the facts about Donald Trump, and to get him to turn against his client.”

“This is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations,” he added.

But most importantly, Cohen said the raid was so dangerous because it gives the FBI the option of deciding which information seized from Cohen should be pursued.

The likelihood that Trump fires Mueller has never been higher, Davidson says. However, Mueller probably anticipated this – that’s why he sought approval from the DOJ to transfer whatever incriminating evidence he had found to prosecutors in New York, who are presumably beyond Trump’s grasp.

But regardless of what happens – if Cohen is swiftly indicted or if this is just the beginning of months of legal wrangling – one thing is for certain: The Cohen raid was a watershed moment.

After more than a year of plodding along, expect developments in the Mueller probe to start occurring at a much faster pace.

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About the Author: Tyler Durden