Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Michael Cohen: prosecutors could ‘indict Trump tomorrow’ if they wanted

Michael Cohen: prosecutors could ‘indict Trump tomorrow’ if they wanted

Prosecutors in New York could “indict Donald Trump tomorrow if they really wanted and be successful”, the ex-president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen said on Sunday, discussing investigations of Trump’s business affairs.

Asked if he was “confident you did help Donald Trump commit crimes”, Cohen told NBC’s Meet the Press: “I can assure you that Donald Trump is guilty of his own crimes. Was I involved in much of the inflation and deflation of his assets? The answer to that is yes.”

Cohen also repeated his contention that Trump will not run for the White House in 2024, because his huge fundraising success while hinting at such a run is too profitable a “grift” to give up.

The Manhattan investigation of the Trump Organization, including whether Trump cheated on property valuations for tax purposes, is one of a number of sources of legal jeopardy for the former president.

Trump denies all wrongdoing. Because the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, leaves office at the end of the year, some think indictments may be imminent.

Cohen, who has cooperated, said: “I really try not to talk about it because it’s their investigation, nor do I want to tip off Trump or the Trump Organization’s people about what is actually happening.

“So I would rather just not answer that specific question, other than to say that you can bet your bottom dollar that Allen Weisselberg is not … the key to this. They are going after Donald. They’re going after Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, a whole slew of individuals, family as well.”

Cohen also said he was “not their only witness, and most importantly, what I gave to them are thousands and thousands of documents”.

“I’m not asking anybody to believe me,” he said. “No different than when I testified before the House oversight committee. Every statement that I make, I’ve backed up with documentary evidence. I truly believe that they can indict Donald Trump tomorrow if they really wanted, and be successful.”

Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was indicted on tax charges, a move most thought meant to induce him to turn on Trump. Cohen did so, after being convicted on charges including lying to Congress and facilitating a payoff to the porn star Stormy Daniels. He recently completed a three-year sentence, much of it served at home thanks to Covid.

“They didn’t really do to Allen Weisselberg what they did to me,” Cohen said. “The threat against me was that they were going to file an 85-page indictment that was going to include my wife. They were going to say she was a co-conspirator to the hush money payment, which is absolutely nonsensical.

“And, look, I’m married now 27 years. I’m with the same woman for 29 years. There was no chance in the world that I was going to put her at risk with these animals. The way they came down on me is nothing like what they’re doing to Weisselberg.

“They should be squeezing right now [Allen’s son] Barry Weisselberg, who works for the Trump Organization, and they should be squeezing [another son] Jack Weisselberg, who is [with] one of only two organizations that made loans to the Trump Organization that we still know.

“You know, when you talked about whether or not Donald Trump inflated or deflated his assets, every single word that I had said about that is 100% accurate.”

Cohen suffered a setback earlier this month, when a judge in New York ruled the Trump Organization was not liable for legal fees he said it owed. He told NBC he wanted to ensure that others “become responsible for their dirty deeds. I should not be responsible for Donald Trump’s dirty deeds.

“Donald Trump is the one who was involved with the campaign finance violation [the payment to Daniels], as was Allen Weisselberg, as was Don Trump Jr, Ivanka, Eric, you know, and several other individuals. They need to be held accountable.

“And I, like everybody else, am waiting for both Cyrus Vance Jr’s district attorney case [and New York attorney general] Tish James’s civil case, to move forward, and start moving forward a little quicker.”

Cohen was asked if he believed the Trump Organization was “a criminal enterprise”.

“Let’s just say that they committed crimes,” he said.

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