Based on reports from this week, it appears that Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, may have some potentially compromising information on his former boss and what he knew ahead of the 2016 election. Responding to bombshell news from Thursday, July 26, Trump on Friday rejected reports regarding his alleged knowledge of a contact members of his campaign had with Russians back in June 2016. But Trump's tweets about Cohen and the Trump Tower meeting took a surprisingly petty turn.
In a series of tweets sent on Friday, July 27, Trump, apparently referring to Cohen without naming him, wrote Friday,
I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!
Trump was referring to news from CNN on July 26 that, according to sources, Cohen claims Trump had advance knowledge of a meeting his son took with Russians to get compromising information on his opponent Hillary Clinton. Not only did Trump allegedly know about the meeting, sources apparently claimed to CNN, but he also allegedly approved it.
The Trump tweet was one of several in a Friday morning rant in which the president again denied his own possible collusion with Russia, accused the Democratic party of collusion, and degraded the FBI investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Last year, it was revealed by news reports that Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, took a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and a cohort of other foreign business people with ties to Russia ahead of the election. Trump Jr. said he agreed to take the Trump Tower meeting, orchestrated by Russian-connected individuals, on the pretext of getting "dirt" on Clinton.
Cohen's reported claim that then-candidate Trump was indeed allegedly aware of the meeting casts doubt on the family's long-held position on the matter. Since news of the 2016 meeting became public in July 2016, the Trumps, the president's legal team, and the White House have repeatedly denied that the elder Trump knew about the arranged interaction.
The meeting — including who was present and who knew about it and when — has become an apparent key point in the investigation being led by Mueller into the Russian interference in the election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. If what Cohen says is true, and Trump himself had direct knowledge of the meeting, it's possible it could have legal implications. So it's not particularly surprising that Trump would want to defend himself against a claim like this.
But while Trump's Friday morning denial may not have come as a shock, it appeared to raise some eyebrows that the president would throw his former right-hand man Cohen under the bus.
Cohen, who's been connected with the family for years, has long expressed fierce loyalty to the president, saying in a Vanity Fair interview he'd "take a bullet" for him and being described as "the sixth Trump child." But he recently changed his tune, saying that his "family and country have my first loyalty." That shift signaled a potential willingness to cooperate with federal investigators. Now, CNN's report on Cohen also seemed to point to him flipping, according to a key figure in the Watergate scandal who weighed in on the situation.
It's clear that Trump and Cohen, once a tight duo, are now at odds, and the president's Friday morning tweet doesn't seem to have calmed the brewing battle between them. Whether the president's word or Cohen's will be the one that investigators, prosecutors, and the public side with remains a massive unknown.