3 Reasons This Week’s Michael Cohen Story Might Not End Up Being That Important; And 3 Reasons It Might Turn Out To Be Huge
Even Though It’s Arguably The 2nd Most Fascinating Story Of The Week After Iran, This Part Of The Trump Saga Could Very Well Amount To Very Little. But Also, Maybe Not…
At the very least, it’s continuing to cause major embarrassment for some major CEOs who paid good chunks of money to Cohen in exchange for…what exactly? (Proving the White House isn’t the only organization with vetting issues). And Cohen seems to be in it deep.
But in terms of its impact on the President himself, it may not turn out to be that big a deal. Here are a few possible reasons why:
1. This particular scandal is still more than a safe distance from Trump himself. Just because his long-time personal lawyer seemed to be running a little scam on corporations, where he may have gotten them to pay for influence he didn’t have, doesn’t implicate the President in anything. At least not yet.
2. Lots of people (and companies) pay people just because they know people. So while fascinating, there may be nothing about this that’s illegal. (Although it does raise a question in our minds: if these big corporations have millions lying around to throw around on a Trump crony they must’ve known was sketchy at best (otherwise Trump would’ve brought him along to the White House), why did they need those huge tax cuts so badly?)
3. There’s no longer any real storyline about where the money taken in by Cohen went. When reports of the corporate payments first came out, there seemed to be an effort to represent the money raised by Cohen from AT&T, pharmaceutical company Novartis, etc., as the foundation of a slush fund to pay off women with whom Trump was entangled. That was because Cohen collected and processed the cash he received from corporations through the same shell company that was used for his pay-offs to porn stars, playmates, etc. But the numbers now seem to have far eclipsed that. Pointing to an equally likely scenario: Cohen was just lazy. He figured he already had this shell company, he might as well “double-duty” it for this stuff too.
Now for the flip side:
1. This proves Michael Avenatti’s information is good. This entire story originated with financial records Stormy Daniels’ attorney obtained from a secret source and released. They were then expanded on by the Wall Street Journal, which has been way ahead on this from the get-go. Up until now, it’s been unclear whether Avenatti’s promised documents and evidence were just a lot of Trump-like bluster. Now the President has to take Avenatti’s threats more seriously.
2. Special Counsel Robert Mueller already had all this info. And probably a lot more. And he had it long before the raid on Cohen’s offices last month. How do we know this? Because the corporations that have now been embarrassingly outed for paying Cohen millions for essentially nothing have all disclosed they’ve already been approached by, and been in to see Mueller, and a while ago.
3. The growing list of entanglements, and ballooning of dollar amounts could make this a lot worse for Cohen, as the investigation against him proceeds. And as it increases pressure on Cohen, it could increase pressure on Cohen to flip.
One big question that remains (at least in our mind): what’s Avenatti/Stormy Daniels’ end game here? What are they trying to get? Pure publicity? More money? Revenge? Notoriety for bringing down a sitting President (or at least knocking him down a few notches)? Avenatti has done a brilliant job of keeping the story in every news cycle by tirelessly appearing on just about every news and entertainment show imaginable. Many people end up “losing” to Trump not because they’re wrong, but because they can’t match his stamina. Trump seems to have met his match.
BTW, there’s a campaign afoot to question how Avenatti’s getting paid right now, and by whom, and who he’s paying, if anyone, for information. This question may be valid; it may also be completely silly. (It very likely will lead some down the path toward another “deep state” conspiracy, if they don’t already think that’s what is happening.)
But there’s possibly a very simple explanation: it doesn’t matter if Avenatti devotes the next year or two to this case and doesn’t see a dime. The more effective he is, the more free publicity he gets, and that’s priceless and will last him forever.
One final note: Mainstream Media needs to stop referring to Cohen as having gone to the “worst law school in the United States”. Our point is not to defend the reputation of Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School. Just that that’s why there’s a bar exam. He passed.