For months, the political world has hung on the question of whether Donald Trump’s former aide Michael Cohen would cut a deal with federal prosecutors to spill the beans on the president.
There is no evidence that such a deal has happened, and it’s not clear that prosecutors in the southern district of New York, which is handling Cohen’s case, want one, in part because it’s also not clear what beans exactly Cohen might possess to spill.
But the revelation this week that Cohen made highly sensitive audio recordings of Trump that he is ready to share with the world has created upset in the president’s inner circle, according to former insiders – and the call has clearly gone out to treat Cohen as a traitor to the Trump cause.
For the White House, it seems, the question of whether Cohen will cooperate with prosecutors is not if, but when.
Fox News, the president’s approved station, sprinkled its broadcasting schedule on Wednesday with Cohen-bashing, convening a panel to paint Cohen as an unethical lawyer, an opportunist, a unregistered lobbyist and an inconstant friend.
Matt Drudge, the circus barker of the far right, was more succinct on Thursday, branding Cohen “the Rat”.
Michael Caputo, a former senior adviser on the Trump campaign, said he did not know whether Cohen was seeking a deal to cooperate with prosecutors. “I can’t speculate. But one thing is for certain is this doesn’t look good, and people in the Trump ranks are talking about it.
“Because Michael was always considered to be the ultimate loyalist, and this really throws a monkey wrench in that whole theory.”
A second former Trump campaign adviser, Sam Nunberg, said that Cohen’s decision to hire the Washington power lawyer Lanny Davis made it clear he was looking for a deal.
“Any political person would know: the minute he signed Lanny Davis, it was over,” said Nunberg. “He wants to make a deal or do what he feels is going to be best for him. He’s no longer willing to take a bullet for Donald…