Michael Cohen, the former "fixer" lawyer for President Donald Trump, has reportedly been in talks with members of special counsel Robert Mueller's legal team for the past month, speaking with them for several hours on a myriad of topics of concern for the commander-in-chief.
Cohen has answered questions relating to Trump's dealings with Russia, ABC News reported on Thursday. These include his private business dealings in the past as well as alleged collusion efforts with that nation by members of Trump's campaign team in order to purportedly influence the 2016 presidential election, according to anonymous sources familiar with the investigation.
In addition to Russia, Cohen has engaged in discussions with the special counsel on matters relating to whether Trump or any of his associates have offered Cohen a pardon. Although the power of the pardon exists with very few restrictions, legal experts are divided on whether its use to hamper an investigation can or cannot be considered obstruction of justice, according to JustSecurity.org.
ABC News is also reporting that Cohen has been in talks with a separate inquiry by New York state investigators, who are looking into questionable actions by Trump's charity as well as his business operations.
The revelation today that Cohen is cooperating with investigators on these matters goes beyond what Cohen himself was charged with. Cohen's deal with the special counsel came about after he pleaded guilty on charges relating to election fraud, including failure to disclose "hush money" payouts to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, as was previously reported by Inquisitr.A source close to both Cohen and Trump explained that the decision by Cohen to "flip" on Trump will have a lasting effect on the two. Cohen's decision to speak with prosecutors was a voluntary choice by the former Trump lawyer, ABC News reported.
But the former relationship between Cohen and Trump seems to be forever severed by recent events. "Cohen's disavowal of Trump has triggered a series of events that turned once very good friends into permanent enemies," the source told ABC News.
It's unclear for how much longer the special counsel investigation will carry on, although some have suggested it could be nearing its end. Former FBI director James Comey, whose termination is also under review by Mueller's team as potentially landing Trump with additional obstruction of justice charges, recently said that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's plea deal signaled the inquiry was in the "fourth quarter," according to reporting from Business Insider.
"[T]he way you normally do investigations is you work from the bottom up, and so they're getting pretty high," Comey added.