Michael Cohen, the former lawyer to President Donald Trump, who pleaded guilty in August to several counts of federal fraud, re-registered as a Democrat on Thursday. This reportedly marks the next step as Cohen continues to move forward after his time as one of the president’s closest allies.
The news of Cohen’s switch from Republican to Democrat was first reported by Axios, which cited a “knowledgeable source” and noted that the former Trump lawyer visited the New York State board of elections website around noon on Thursday to make the change official. The change in affiliation was confirmed soon after by Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, who posted a link to the Axios story and stressed on Twitter that his client is taking “another step” in his journey to “[distance] himself from the values” of the Trump administration.
According to RT, Michael Cohen had spent several years “flitting between red and blue,” as he unsuccessfully ran for a New York City Council seat in 2003 while representing the GOP, but switched back to the Democratic Party and voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 elections. Cohen, who eventually became critical of the Obama administration, changed sides again in March, 2017, praising Donald Trump as the “great man” who convinced him to become a Republican once again. He was also quoted in September, 2017, as saying that he would “take a bullet” for the president.
Cohen was named deputy chair of the Republican National Committee’s national finance committee in April, 2017, close to one month after changing parties. He resigned from his post in June of this year, amid allegations that he had paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in order for them to remain silent about purported affairs they had with Trump around 2006 and 2007.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 11, 2018
In its report, Axios emphasized that Michael Cohen had been distancing himself from Donald Trump over the past few months, first by telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in July that he “[puts] family and country first,” then by suggesting during his guilty plea in August that Trump himself ordered the hush money payments to Daniels and McDougal. The publication, however, added that Cohen’s party switch is likely to receive criticism from Trump’s allies, who believe that the president’s former lawyer is “being opportunistic” now that he is estranged from the president and is possibly prison-bound.
According to NBC News, Cohen registered as a Democrat just one day before the state of New York’s registration deadline for the November midterm elections. He is scheduled for sentencing on December 12.