On Friday, ABC News ran an interview with President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who was just sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay almost $2 million in fines and payments for crimes allegedly implicating Trump. In the interview, Cohen told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he hopes to be remembered in history for unifying America against the president.
“It’s sad because the country has never been more divisive, and one of the hopes that I have out of the punishment that I’ve received as well as the cooperation that I have given, I will be remembered in history as helping to bring this country back together,” Cohen said.
When asked what he would say to Trump if the president were in front of him, the former lawyer said, “Bring the country together, instead of dividing the country.”
Cohen also insisted that the president has been lying when it comes to associations with Russia, and he suggested that his former boss is afraid of his testimony.
The president’s former lawyer acted extremely contrite, saying, “Somehow or another, this task has now fallen onto my shoulders. … I will spend the rest of my life in order to fix the mistake that I made.”
Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that Trump can argue did not involve campaign finance. The former lawyer has alleged that Trump, then the Republican candidate for president, directed him to make payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in order to help the campaign.
The payments are indisputable, but Trump may claim he did not direct them or that he intended the payments to hide his affairs from his wife, rather than to boost his campaign. The president has suggested Cohen’s pleas are a ploy in order to embarrass him. It certainly seems as though the former lawyer may have orchestrated this plea deal in order to target his former employer.
In this interview, he cast himself as a kind of hero, taking the fall in order to “bring the country back together” against Trump. While the president is a polarizing figure, millions of Americans supported him, suggesting that Cohen’s move is divisive, even if his contrition is genuine. Only if Trump is truly taken down by the law — as of yet an unlikely eventuality — could Cohen hope to become the unifying hero he aspires to be.
It is far more likely history will remember Cohen as a slimy lawyer who became a political partisan against his former boss, even at a high personal cost.
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