WASHINGTON — President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen may face federal charges by the end of the month and Cohen’s attorney has been talking with John Dean, while Trump referred to the White House lawyer who brought down President Nixon as a “rat.”
Trump tweeted the insult in the context of a New York Times report that his own White House counsel, Don McGahn, spent 30 hours talking with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team over the course of three interviews. McGahn’s cooperation with Mueller was reportedly driven by his own lawyer’s fears that the White House, through declining to assert privilege, was trying to set up McGahn to take the fall for potential obstruction of justice incidents.
The interviews occurred under Trump’s last legal team, who opted for a cooperative strategy with Mueller until the president dumped them and brought on Rudy Giuliani for a more combative stance. Trump’s old legal team, John Dowd and Ty Cobb, reportedly did not ask for a debriefing of what happened during McGahn’s time with Mueller, thus the White House does not know how much McGahn has cooperated.
On Sunday, Trump Twitter-slammed the “Fake piece” by the NYT “implying that because White House Councel [sp] Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel [sp], he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT.’ But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST!”
On CNN today, Dean confirmed Cohen attorney Lanny Davis telling Politico that he reached out to Dean “because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing.” Dean said they didn’t talk about the particulars of Cohen’s case, but that he walked Davis through what happened during Watergate.
Dean tweeted that he believed “Trump had no clue about the testimony. Trump’s tweet suggesting he encouraged it — that was a pure bluff. Mueller got a major break (and witness) w/ McGahn!”
Of the “rat” insult, Dean told Axios, “I am actually honored to be on his enemies list as I was on Nixon’s when I made it there.”
Cohen has been under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the raid of his office, home and hotel room in April sparked an angry reaction from Trump. At issue is not only the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels as hush money for her alleged affair with Trump, but millions of dollars in loans connected to Cohen’s taxi medallions. Prosecutors reportedly want to charge Cohen either by the end of this month or after the midterm election.
Trump told Reuters in an interview today that he’s concerned about sitting down to answer questions from Mueller because it could be a “perjury trap.”
“Even if I am telling the truth, that makes me a liar,” Trump said, talking about potential discrepancies between his testimony and that of other individuals who have cooperated with Mueller’s probe. “That’s no good.”
Giuliani took a similar tack on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, saying, “I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he is going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, that’s silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth.”
“Truth is truth,” interjected host Chuck Todd.
“No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth,” Giuliani responded. “…Donald Trump says I didn’t talk about Flynn with Comey. Comey says you did talk about it. So tell me what the truth is?”