#Though badly hurt by President’s public anger, Cohen has not yet decided to cooperate with Mueller
U.S. President Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen has largely stayed out of the spotlight in the months since federal agents raided his office and hotel room and seized scores of records about his work for Mr. Trump.
But last week, he took a sharply more aggressive (क्रोधी) and public turn, seeming (काल्पनिक) to wage open warfare(लड़ाई) with the White House while weighing whether to cooperate with investigators.
The moves suggested that Mr. Cohen is looking for a way out of looming(धुंधला दिखाई देना) trouble. But his behaviour doesn’t quite line up with a clear strategy, legal experts say.
‘Willing to tell Mueller’
Three days after Mr. Cohen’s new lawyer, Lanny Davis, released a tape of Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump talking about paying for Playboy model Karen McDougal’s silence, the relationship splintered(अलग होना) further on Friday. That was after a CNN report that Mr. Cohen was willing(इच्छुक) to tell special counsel(परामर्श) Robert Mueller that Mr. Trump knew in advance of a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Mr. Trump’s eldest son sought(अभिलिखित) damaging information from a Russian lawyer about Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump on Friday vehemently (ज़ोरदार ढंग से) repeated his denial(इनकार) that he knew about the meeting, which is at the centre of Mr. Mueller’s probe, tweeting “NO,” he “did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.”
CNN cited anonymous (गुमनाम) sources saying Mr. Cohen was willing (इच्छुक) to share his information with Mr. Mueller, who is investigating(जाँच-पड़ताल) possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Mr. Cohen does not have any evidence such as audiotapes verifying his claims, CNN’s sources said.
Mr. Cohen’s camp has denied being the source of the CNN report.
The spectre (छाया)of the potentially damaging information, which would run counter to months of denials and point toward a willingness (स्वेच्छा) to collude with a foreign power by Mr. Trump himself, again raised the possibility of what Mr. Cohen could deliver to prosecutors(अभियोगपक्ष का वकील) if he decides to cooperate.
Cutting a deal?
Mr. Cohen has not yet decided to work with the federal prosecutors, according to two people familiar with his thinking.
The Justice Department has been investigating Mr. Cohen for months, raiding his home, office and hotel room in April in search of documents related to a $1,30,000 payment he facilitated to Stormy Daniels(सच्चा न्यायकर्ता). If Mr. Cohen, who specialised in making deals and making Mr. Trump’s problems go away, were to cut a deal, he would do so with an eye toward eliminating or cutting his potential (सशक्त ) punishment.
Those close to Mr. Cohen describe the lawyer as bewildered (घबराया हुआ) at the fast-moving events around him as he tries to look out for his family and make decisions about their future. Mr. Cohen has also been badly hurt by Mr. Trump’s public anger and is determined to hit back, according to two people familiar with this thinking.
There has been some speculation (अनुमान) that Mr. Cohen may be angling for a pardon(क्षमादान) from Mr. Trump, who has begun wielding and discussing the presidential power frequently of late. But a person close to Mr. Cohen downplayed the possibility.
Should Mr. Cohen choose to cooperate with investigators, including Mr. Mueller, it’s not clear what information he has that they could not gather for themselves or have not already learned on their own.
The Mueller team has been at work for 14 months. Defendants looking for lenient (नरम) deals through their cooperation usually have better luck if they come through the government’s door earlier in an investigation. Additionally, Mr. Cohen has made no public mention of Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting. If he mentioned the crucial (महत्वपूर्ण) detail to House investigators it was not included in their massive(heavy) report.