1. Cohen will testify without any grant of immunity (suggesting there is a cooperation deal in place that would preclude bringing new charges against him if he cooperates).2. He is willing to talk to Congress.3. He won’t accept a pardon.
This is consistent with what an adviser close to Cohen told me Tuesday night: that this is in effect Cohen’s John Dean moment, a new chapter in his life in which he gets to rewrite his legacy. Right now he’s a confessed criminal who has brought financial ruin and psychological anguish to his family. However, he has the opportunity, as Dean did, to go down as a hero who helped undo a corrupt president. For Cohen’s own psychological (and financial, I would add) well-being, the adviser to Cohen explained, it now has to be the end of Cohen as Trump’s “fixer” and the beginning of Cohen as the would-be hero of a new morality tale.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III already has Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort in the room with the Kremlin-linked lawyer promising to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton. If their appearance at the meeting signaled to Russians that the campaign would be receptive to help, they have two legal problems: seeking to procure something of value from a foreign national (a campaign finance violation) and an affirmative step that furthers the scheme to interfere in the election. Anything Cohen can tell prosecutors about Trump’s knowledge of the meeting would be useful in justifying both a conspiracy charge and an obstruction charge (i.e. Trump concocting a story about the meeting which he knew to be false).
Republicans should put away the spin, stop listening to Rudy Giuliani (who is both incompetent and a repository of numerous misleading or downright false statements) and think clearly: Are they unwilling to open an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by the president in light of Cohen’s plea and facts already known, or will they face the voters insisting that they have no obligation to investigate a president directly implicated in commission of a crime?