In what legal experts say could be a damaging revelation for Donald Trump, the lawyer advising Michael Cohen warned that they have corroborating evidence for “everything” that Cohen told investigators.
Cohen was sentenced to prison for three years for a slew of federal charges, including campaign finance violations for hush money payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump. Cohen’s sentencing documents appeared to implicate Donald Trump in the felonies as well, though Trump has repeatedly denied that he had anything to do with Cohen’s payments. In a Sunday appearance on the CBS program Face the Nation, Cohen’s lawyer claimed otherwise.
Lanny Davis, who is advising Cohen, said in his appearance that Cohen has “corroborating evidence for everything” that he told investigators.
As Davis added, Trump’s behavior seems to indicate that he knows he is in trouble. Trump took to Twitter to call Cohen a “rat” and complained that neither the DNC nor “Crooked [Hillary Clinton]” faced the same scrutiny that Trump is being put under.
“This is the top law enforcement office in our system of government calling somebody who decides to tell the government the truth a ‘rat,'” Davis said in the appearance.
“That’s the language of a mobster not of the president.”
Others agree that Trump is facing very damaging revelations from Cohen’s sentencing and his subsequent interviews. Cohen has attacked the claim that Trump knew nothing about the payments, saying Trump was actually involved at every step and even sat in on the meeting with the National Enquirer parent company about plans to pay off one of the women.
As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post wrote, the revelation that Cohen has corroborating evidence is a significant blow to Trump and to the president’s claim that Cohen is simply lying about Trump’s involvement in the hush money payments. He noted that Cohen is directly contradicting what appears to be Trump’s chief legal argument — that he never actually directed Cohen to make the hush money payments, but rather the lawyer came up the scheme himself. Cohen has said that Trump both directed the payment and was fully aware that it was a violation of campaign finance laws, which require that such payments made in order to help a campaign be disclosed.
Legal experts have said that Donald Trump could potentially face felony charges for directing Cohen to make the payments, but would be unlikely to face any legal actions while he is still in office. The Department of Justice is believed to have a stance against indicting a sitting president, meaning Trump would only face the potential charges when he leaves office.