Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, along with all of us, will see something surreal this week: A former president of the United States arrives at a Manhattan criminal courthouse to take a mug shot and be fingerprinted, as all the protesters gather outside. “I expect complete and utter disaster,” Cohen said.
“It’s his worst fear: having his face photographed, fingerprinted, being referred to as a criminal,” he said.
Costa asked, “Trump continues to exude confidence, but you feel fear?”
“Oh, yes. Not scared; he’s scared.”
During Trump’s 2016 campaign, Cohen paid adult film star Stormy Daniels hush money to prevent Daniels from going public about an alleged affair with Trump. Seven years later, the allegedly falsified records of those payments and Trump’s role are at the center of Trump’s indictment.
Cohen, who is there Served imprisonment For Trump-related crimes (including payments to Daniels), the key witness in the case that sparked the firestorm.
Costa asked, “If you met someone in an elevator and they said, ‘Hey, Michael, I’m not sure I’m going to take your word on all this, because the Republicans have attacked your credibility,’ what would you tell them?”
“I’m not asking you to take me for my credibility,” he replied. “Let the documents and evidence speak for themselves.”
Trump has been busy speaking up for himself as he runs for president again. “Our adversaries have done everything they can to crush our spirit and break our will,” he said at a March 25 rally in Waco, Texas. But they failed. They only strengthened us.”
Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer in the New York case, told CBS News that his client had done nothing wrong and sharply criticized Cohen’s credibility.
For CBS News legal analyst Ricky Kliman, it’s not so much the crime, but the secrecy of the crime. He said the Manhattan district attorney will likely focus on how Trump handled the payment. But he doesn’t believe it will be an open and shut case.
“The district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has a very tough road ahead,” he said. “Where Alvin Bragg has a problem is with the courts. You’re going to have a judge who is going to rule on the legality of this case. This is not going to be a simple case.”
And don’t forget, he said, this is one of several ongoing investigations into the former president, including a special counsel investigation into Trump’s conduct around Jan. 6.
“Donald Trump has some very serious legal challenges, much more serious than in New York, where you’re dealing with crimes against the United States,” Kleiman said. “This is very different from a scheme involving business records within the Trump Organization. These are serious crimes.”
This crossroads is a reckoning not only for Trump, but also for Republicans. Many of them, even those with whom he had some disagreements, rallied to his side, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who said, “I think it’s clear to the vast majority of the American people that this is nothing less than a political trial.” “
Costa asked Cohen, “Why do you think Republicans, at least many of them, are going to stick with Trump?”
“They are in religion,” Cohen replied. “And I know what it’s like to be in a cult.
“It’s time to wash your eyes and see who Donald Trump is,” he said. “It’s time to start listening to the truth. See, that’s the problem: Donald Trump doesn’t tell the truth, ever. Ever. Everything he says is either misrepresented, misinformed, misinformed, misinformed, or just a blatant lie. And that information Everything is done to benefit one person, and one person only, and that one.”
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Story by Jay Karnis and Michelle Kessel. Editor: David Bhagat.
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