Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, is willing to talk with Special Counsel Robert Mueller about not only Trump’s direction to Cohen to commit campaign finance violations, but also about an alleged coverup of Russian collusion.
Cohen’s Lawyer’s Statements
Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, had this to say in an interview with MSNBC:
“Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows.
“Not just about the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election, which the Trump Tower meeting was all about, but also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on.”
Cohen says he was present when Trump was informed by his son, Donald Trump Jr, about “dirt” being offered by Russians on then-candidate Hillary Clinton. President Trump has claimed that he “didn’t know anything about the meeting.”
The meeting was attended by Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. Of the four Russians in the room, one was a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin and one was a lobbyist.
The hacking that Davis refers to is likely the stolen documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that the persona “Guccifer 2.0” released to the media and WikiLeaks. Guccifer 2.0 has been identified as an operation by Russian military intelligence.
Campaign Finance Violations
Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations related to payments he made to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels as hush agreements. Cohen says that the payments were may “at the direction of a candidate” – Trump.
Because the payments were made with the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 election, they are considered illegal campaign contributions. Cohen said that he knew what he did was illegal.
This makes Donald Trump a potential “unindicted co-conspiractor” as it is commonly believed that a sitting President cannot be indicted. The US Attorney Handbook recommends against naming unindicted co-conspirators although there is no law forbidding it. Nixon, for instance, was named an unindicted co-conspirator during the Watergate investigation.
MSNBC reported that Davis said Cohen also has information “about improprieties in the Trump charitable foundation that would be of interest to the New York Attorney General, who is investigating the foundation.” No specifics were given.
Cohen Will Not Accept a Trump Pardon
According to Davis, Cohen has hit “a reset button” and wants “to tell the truth from now on.” He said that Cohen is only interested in doing what is best for his family and is not hoping for, nor would accept, a presidential pardon.
“He considers a pardon from someone who acted so corruptly as president to be something he would never accept,” said Davis.