MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday explained why Michael Cohen’s scheduled public testimony on Wednesday could give federal prosecutors the leverage necessary to negotiate Donald Trump resigning from office.
“Michael Cohen, of course, has pled guilty to nine felony charges including lying to Congress and two campaign finance felonies in which he and federal prosecutors told the federal judge overseeing Cohen’s case it wasn’t just Cohen that committed those felonies, the president himself was also implicated in them,” Maddow reminded.
“The anticipation for what Cohen will say in this open hearing tomorrow has been stoked all day today by multiple news agencies reporting that Cohen is basically bringing a dump truck with him to describe his years of dealings with President Trump and the Trump Organization,” she explained.
“We’re told Cohen is prepared to testify in matters touching on everything from the president’s personal behavior, to the way the president has filed — or not filed — his taxes, to alleged criminal behavior by the president during the time he has been president,” she continued.
“And on that last point, which I think is maybe more important than we are ready for heading into that testimony tomorrow, apparently Cohen is prepared to bring documents tomorrow to Congress that specifically relate to the campaign finance felonies for which Michael Cohen is about to go to prison,” she noted.
Maddow noted The Wall Street Journal is reporting Trump cut “hush money” checks while in office.
“If this Wall Street Journal report tonight is correct and Michael Cohen is in fact going to hand over financial documentary evidence tomorrow of the president’s involvement in that illegal campaign finance scheme — which Cohen has pled guilty to already,” she explained. “I mean, think about it, this is already a case where federal prosecutors right now are butting up against this idea that a president has nothing to fear from the criminal law.”
Maddow noted the benefits to prosecutors of using a sealed indictment.
“First, it would effectively stop the clock on any statute of limitations and crimes committed by the president,” she noted. “That would make it so the president couldn’t use his de facto immunity from prosecution while he’s serving in office to run out the clock on the statute of the limitations for any of his crimes.”
“Of course, the second major benefit to prosecutors, if they brought a potential sealed indictment against the president, is that that could set the stage for negotiations of the same kind that the Justice Department entered into with Spiro Agnew in 1973,” she noted.
Maddow noted Trump could, “trade away his resignation — just like Agnew did, in exchange for prosecutors making some or all of the charges go away.”