In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, former Obama administration official Neal Katyal predicted that Michael Cohen’s guilty plea could be “the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency,” ThinkProgress reports.
“The facts aren’t all in, but I think we very well could look back on this day, November 29th, 2018, as the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency,” he said.
On Thursday, as reported by the New York Times, Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress. Michael Cohen’s cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller culminated in the lawyer’s decision to reveal details about Donald Trump’s involvement in his organization’s effort to build a skyscraper in Moscow, Russia. Cohen also said that the project had continued until June, 2016, when Trump was running for president of the United States. In response to Cohen’s guilty plea, Trump accused his former lawyer and fixer of being a “weak” person and “making up” the story in order to cut a deal with Robert Mueller, according to BBC.
But in Neal Katyal’s opinion, Cohen’s guilty plea is a game-changer for Trump, and for Congress Democrats. The Democrats, according to Katyal, can now impeach Trump. Even if they do not intend to impeach the president, Cohen’s admission of guilt makes the threat very real. The prospect of impeaching Donald Trump needs to be taken “very, very seriously now,” Barack Obama’s former acting solicitor general concluded.
According to Katyal, the fact that the president appears to have been negotiating with the official Kremlin in 2016, and not a privately-owned Russian corporation free of state influence, makes matters worse for Trump and his allies. Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, the former Obama administration official added, also reveals that the Russians have had so-called kompromat (damaging information) on Trump. This, according to Katyal, enabled the Russians to control and blackmail the president.
“The Russians have known that Trump lied to the American people for two years, and imagine all the subtle things they could have done to get their bidding done over the last two years.”
Furthermore, according to Katyal, since Michael Cohen’s guilty plea reveals that Donald Trump had business dealings with the Russians in 2016, Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference is becoming a matter of national security.
Much like Katyal, CNN‘s Elie Honig opined in an op-ed published today that Michael Cohen’s guilty plea could be “very bad news” for Donald Trump. According to Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, the fact that Robert Mueller believes that Michael Cohen is telling the truth means that his testimony can be corroborated by external evidence. This, in turn, means more trouble for Donald Trump.