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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
No criminal defense attorney would let Michael Cohen give the interview he gave today—so either he gave the interview in contravention of a lawyer's advice, gave the interview without any legal advice at all, or is working some scheme in conjunction with a lawyer to get a pardon.
2/ I suspect Cohen wouldn't defy a lawyer's advice unless he'd been given some hope that taking a renegade course of action like this could lead to a pardon. (And I don't believe just because he "hasn't started yet" his new lawyer wouldn't weigh in on this interview and stop it.)
3/ I agree with those saying that if Cohen were serious about cooperating with prosecutors, he'd wait until his new attorney was up to speed and then contact prosecutors through him. This interview suggests that Cohen intends—for now—some strategy that relies on public relations.
4/ One possibility is Cohen knows he won't be able to talk to the press once he begins cooperating, so he wants to use this period before he's a government witness to set a "hero narrative" he hopes will resuscitate his reputation and frame his rolling on Trump before it happens.
5/ To be clear, I think he'll flip whether that's what he really wants or whether he'd like a pardon. I also think he's the sort of loose cannon who *would* ignore a lawyer's advice, and I do expect his new lawyer has found a way to weigh in even before his representation starts.
6/ The reason this is more likely to be an attempt to frame his actions and "preserve" (ahem) his reputation than appeal to Trump is we all know by now the way to appeal to Trump is to fawn over him the way a peon would an African dictator. Cohen's interview with ABC wasn't that.
7/ What's throwing some people is that Cohen denied coordinating with Russia, even though we already know he had numerous secret Russia contacts during the election and after. You have to keep in mind most defendants will deny any culpability up until the *very moment* they flip.
8/ This is *especially* true when you're between lawyers—even a moron and bad lawyer like Cohen knows that when you're not receiving legal counsel, the safest course of action is to flatly deny any suggestion of criminal activity until you can plot a course forward with a lawyer.
9/ While Trump can't pardon Cohen for state crimes, the suspicion is Cohen has done much worse then anything state prosecutors have now, and that those offenses have to do with federal election laws and other federal charges, including bribery. That's what he'd want a pardon for.
10/ That said, I remain firm on this point: though Trump would love to pardon all his co-conspirators right now, including offering prospective pardons (as Ford did to Nixon), it's an *inalterable fact* that that would cause the collapse of his presidency. And he *knows* it. /end
PS/ The Supreme Court (likely with Trump's new Justice) will soon be hearing a case that could complicate all of this. For more information on how this pending matter before SCOTUS could affect Trump's pardon powers in a way that helps him, see this tweet:
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