Exactly what Michael Cohen told Robert Mueller has been among the most unnerving unknowns for those closest to the president ever since Trump’s longtime fixer began cooperating with the Russia probe in the summer. “If anyone can blow up Trump, it’s him,” a former West Wing official told me in June. The detonation began on Thursday, when Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, accompanied by a detailed plea agreement, a new set of facts that begin to fill in a picture. To the Trump camp, it looked ominous. “The Cohen news is very bad,” a former White House staffer said.

The fear in Trumpworld is that Mueller may have laid a perjury trap for the president, the former staffer said. Mueller waited until after Trump submitted written answers under oath to the special counsel’s office—some of which reportedly included responses to questions about Trump Tower Moscow—before revealing the evidence prosecutors had gathered to secure Cohen’s plea. “Trump was totally caught off guard by the Cohen plea,” the source said