I did not see this plot twist coming. Kudos to the writers of our current virtual reality for bringing two key narrative threads together, the child-separation drama and the “Will Michael Cohen flip on Trump?” drama.

On the latter question, we appear to have our answer.

In case you didn’t know, Cohen is a deputy finance chair of the RNC. Or rather, was:

In his resignation letter to Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, Cohen cited the ongoing special counsel investigation as one reason for his departure. ABC News has reviewed the email…

Cohen also criticized the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, the first time he’s distanced himself from the president.

“As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching,” Cohen wrote. “While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”

Why, oh why, would Cohen deliver that rhetorical knee to Trump’s groin when he didn’t need to? He could have limited his reasons for resigning to the DOJ investigation. Taking a shot at POTUS on, of all things, immigration feels gratuitous.

But is it? Headline from today’s Wall Street Journal: “Michael Cohen Wants Trump to Pay His Legal Fees.”

Cohen just parted ways with his previous legal team and hired a new lawyer, Guy Petrillo. Petrillo is a former head of the criminal division at the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, the same outfit that’s currently investigating Cohen. Alan Dershowitz described Petrillo to Business Insider as “the kind of lawyer you would hire if you wanted to keep open the option of cooperation.” But Petrillo doesn’t come cheap, another source told BI. If the case goes to trial, Cohen might be on the hook for $2 million or more. And he’s already undoubtedly feeling some pain in legal bills thanks to the enormous expense of document review conducted by his previous team, notwithstanding the Trump family’s help.

He needs more financial aid from his billionaire former boss to pay Petrillo and he’s not being subtle about asking for it. Today’s resignation letter is just the latest shot across Trump’s bow. Earlier today CNN published this hair-raising leak:

Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has signaled to friends that he is “willing to give” investigators information on the President if that’s what they are looking for, and is planning on hiring a new lawyer to handle a possible indictment from federal prosecutors.

“He knows a lot of things about the President and he’s not averse to talking in the right situation,” one of Cohen’s New York friends who is in touch with him told CNN. “If they want information on Trump, he’s willing to give it.”…

“He feels let down by [Trump] and isolated by him,” another friend of Cohen’s told CNN.

Last week Gabriel Sherman described the rumblings about Cohen flipping on Trump as “smoke signals” designed to let POTUS know that Cohen needs financial help. Between the CNN story and Cohen’s RNC departure, the smoke signals are now more like semaphores. What more does this guy need to do to make it clear that he wants Trump to buy his silence? We’re like a day away from him sending Trump a ransom note with letters cut out from magazines spelling “Mueller.”

It’s a nice poetic irony from the writers, though, to have Cohen’s relationship with Trump boil down in the end to a matter of hush money. Exit question: Will POTUS pay the ransom or will he brave the wrath of Cohen?