With news that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, accepted a plea deal in which he’s admitted lying to Congress about the Trump Organization’s real estate ambitions in Russia, the media is struggling to contain its glee.
The actual report is anodyne. The court filing shows that the Trump Organization was exploring a hotel deal in Moscow for six months in 2016, but the deal fell apart (for reasons not made clear), and that some Russians wanted Trump to visit the country, but that never happened.
Many TV talking heads are nonetheless openly pining for this to be the next step in the path toward a presidential indictment.
CNN’s Gloria Borger called the Cohen plea “Shakespearean,” remarking that Trump’s former self-described “fixer” is now turning the “gun” on Trump.
“It’s Shakespearean because somebody who said he’d take a bullet for Donald Trump is now pointing a gun at him, honestly,” she said. “I think this has to unravel to a great degree because we don’t know what was in those 70 hours that he spend answering questions.”
MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch hopefully predicted this is “just the beginning” and that Cohen’s “light” sentence of six months suggests he had useful information to share with Mueller.
“Michael Cohen was a consigliore, a capo for Trump,” Deutsch said. “The important thing to look at also yesterday was the sentence. Here he is pleading guilty. And once again, he does not have a formal agreement with the special prosecutor’s office, so this was not something, to Emily’s point, that he had to do. It has nothing to do with why he did what he did. But he only got six months to serve concurrently with where he’s going to be sentenced December 12th for lying to Congress, which means he got nothing. That tells you what that was worth to Mueller. That tells you there’s probably a lot more to come. According to Michael, there will be a very lengthy letter by Mueller written to the judge in the Southern District case about his 70 hours of cooperation, about an A-plus cooperating witness without an agreement, and I think this tells you what is to come. There will be more to come from Michael Cohen. This is, I think, just the beginning.”
The hosts of The View were downright ecstatic with the news, saying the development made Thursday a “good day for Donald Trump to resign” and that the report amount to a “smoking gun”:
“Today is a good day for Donald Trump to resign,” Joe Behar said to wild applause. “I really believe that. 20 years for me, that would be my gift. Donald, do it for me.”
In another appearance, MSNBC’s Deutsch likened the Trump Organization a “criminal enterprise” and suggested prosecutors might continue going after Trump for another 20 years:
“I have been saying this two years: It is always about the money, always has been about the money, and it is always about Russian money,” Deutsch said. “You’ll start to see stories of Saudi money. Donald Trump went bankrupt in the ‘90s and couldn’t get money anywhere. Trump Tower is filled with apartment after apartment of LLCs of Russians. Donald Trump has been owned by the Russians for a long time. Donald Trump has been owned by Vladimir Putin. This is the first time we’re seeing a line, not just about collusion, it is about the money. It is about business. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I really believe even post-Trump presidency you’re going to see the Trump business empire being picked apart for the next 20 years. It is basically built as a criminal enterprise.”
MSNBC contributor Howard Fineman said Thursday’s development is a “big deal” because Cohen “knows where a lot of the bodies are buried.”