WASHINGTON, DC — Michael Cohen's new book Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics dropped this week and details some of the shocking ways that the former president used the government to try and silence people like Cohen.
Speaking to MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Wednesday, Cohen described the shocking and bizarre tactics the Southern District of New York forced him to plead guilty to crimes he never committed. According to Cohen, they threatened to arrest his wife. A dedicated family man, Cohen was terrified and agreed to whatever they said, wanting nothing more than to protect his wife and children.
Now that his sentence is over, he's fighting back, and telling all about Donald Trump and the way in which the Department of Corrections and the Justice Department were all weaponized to bring him down.
Cohen explained that the indictment was so absurd it even makes him the bagman for the payments to Karen McDougal, who was actually paid off by David Pecker at the National Enquirer. It was widely reported and well-known, but somehow Pecker escaped any accountability and Cohen became the one who "paid her off."
"Donald should have been there, Don Jr. should have been there, Eric, Ivanka, they should have been there," Cohen said about going to prison.
He went on to say that he thinks part of it was also a test of loyalty to see the degree to which he would take the fall for Trump. At the same time that the president was threatening to destroy his wife and family, Trump was also claiming that they would help him and take care of him.
"It was also partially a test, a test of my loyalty to him, my undivided loyalty that I would take the rap for him," Cohen told Wallace. "Don't worry, we'll be there, you know, you have people as Bob Costello had written, friends in high places. They are going to take care of you. That's the M.O. that he claims. That's the same thing that he said to a bunch of these insurrectionists. Don't worry. I'm going to pay your legal fees. He doesn't pay for anything and he doesn't care what happens to them. This is all about showing that he is exonerated from the entire Russia scandal, that they would be exonerated from Stormy Daniels and then Karen McDougal."
"I got charged and I pled guilty and I was fined by the court despite the fact that they all knew — prosecutors, the judge, everyone, I never paid Karen McDougal," Cohen continued.
Cohen claims the only involvement he had with McDougal was looking at the paperwork that Pecker was giving her for the agreement. The comment implies that somewhere, there exists a document for the employment of Karen McDougal at the National Enquirer.
Raw Story reached out to Cohen after the interview and he noted that one of the things that he didn't tell Wallace is that Trump took the Stormy Daniels payment as a tax write-off. According to the ex-Trump lawyer, Trump declared it as a "retainer" for "legal fees."
Trump has said in the past that he's under audit by the IRS. All presidents, while in office, have their taxes audited by the IRS as well. The current IRS Commissioner, Charles P. Rettig is an appointee of Donald Trump's. But at the time, David Kautter was serving as the acting commissioner to the IRS that Trump's taxes would have been scrutinized over the hush-money payments to Daniels.
"So, how does SDNY in your view conduct itself in a way that lacks integrity and attachment to the truth and then fail to ever investigate Trump's businesses?" Wallace asked.
"Why go after the king when you can go after the joker?" Cohen quipped.
At the time that Cohen was targeted, Matthew Whitaker was serving as the acting Attorney General before Bill Barr took over. So, Whitaker was overseeing the federal prosecutors and the Department of Corrections.
When Cohen was prosecuted in late 2018, the SDNY was headed up by Geoffrey Berman, who recently published the book Holding the Line which largely glosses over all of the accusations that Cohen has made.
You can see the clip of Cohen speaking to Wallace below. Raw Story will have full coverage of Cohen's new book, Revenge.
Cohen's Wallace interview www.youtube.com