It’s an interesting offer, considering that Michael Cohen’s upcoming three-year prison stint resulted from lying to Congress in the first place. After talking with Congress post-conviction, Cohen told enough fibs for Republicans to make a referral to the Department of Justice for more perjury charges against him. But who knows? Maybe the third time’s the charm:
Lawyers for Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, told congressional lawmakers in a letter on Thursday that Mr. Cohen can best help their oversight inquiries if he remains out of prison to sift through millions of his documents — and they asked the help of Democrats in persuading prosecutors to help him do so.
The lawyers told Democratic members of congressional committees who have either subpoenaed his testimony or have asked him to appear voluntarily over the course of the past year that Mr. Cohen has been essential to their investigations, and they reminded them of the help they have sought from him even after his public hearing in February.
If he was “essential to their investigations,” that might explain why House Democrats aren’t getting anywhere. They have yet to get anything actionable from Cohen on two previous visits to Capitol Hill. Cohen spoke to three different House committees on his most recent Club Fed Valediction Tour, and wound up blowing his credibility again by lying about seeking a job at the White House, among other issues.
At that time, Cohen promised to deliver the goods on Trump, and yet here he is promising to deliver this time around instead. Why should he get an encore now? Did Cohen hold out? According to Cohen’s attorneys, he only recently got a chance to look at material seized by the FBI. That has jogged his memory, they claim, even though the material in question was Cohen’s in the first place:
The lawyers — Lanny J. Davis, Michael D. Monico and Carly Chocron — wrote that Mr. Cohen was recently given access again to his files, which had been seized by federal investigators during a search in April 2018. The files include voice mail messages and recordings, as well as 14 million other documents, they said.
I’ll bet. That’s pretty convenient for Cohen even if it’s inconvenient for Congress. What happens if Cohen gets his delay? He’ll testify, and then before the next sentence start date, Cohen’s attorneys will claim he has even more to explain to Congress. With any luck, even Robert Mueller’s youngest investigator will be pulling a pension before Cohen risks setting foot in federal prison.
Will House Democrats bite on this ploy? After the collapse of the Russia-collusion narrative, they’re desperate for dirt on Donald Trump, but it’s risky. Cohen wasn’t just some poor working stiff caught up in dirty dealings — he was Trump’s legal attack dog for a long, long time. He’s been caught repeatedly lying to Congress to boot. Rescuing Cohen from federal prison and making him the tentpole of their campaign against Trump risks rubbing Cohen’s stench onto their investigations as well as to on themselves, both personally and as a caucus.
If they’re smart, House Democrats will invite Cohen to cooperate from his prison cell and wish him well for his three-year stay at the Graybar Hotel. They haven’t been smart enough to distance themselves from Cohen so far, though, and they’re not getting any less desperate either.