Yeah, there’s a messaging problem between Trump and his legal team, I think.
Jonathan Chait, over at New York Magazine picked up on something subtle, but meaningful, regarding how those close to President Trump are speaking. When you take it all into consideration, it makes sense.
So maybe Trump’s frantic Twitter posturing makes sense, all things considered.
Chait first points out an interview with former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
Katy Tur asked the Mooch if there was any chance of Trump’s longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, flipping and giving up damaging info on the president.
Rather than say, “There’s nothing to tell,” or making any reference to a squeaky-clean Trump, Scaramucci said no – not because Trump is innocent – but because Cohen is “a very loyal person.”
Chait described the air about Trump and his team of resembling something you’d expect from mafia thugs.
That’s actually the second time we’ve heard that reference. Ousted FBI Director James Comey also described the attitude of the Trump White House of being something like the mob, with Trump-as-don requiring complete loyalty, and those around him demanding it for him.
Not all of Trump’s supporters feel so confident that Cohen will respect the omerta. In a conversation with Trump last Friday, Jay Goldberg, one of Trump’s lawyers, warned the president, “Michael will never stand up [for you]” if charged by the government, according to the Wall Street Journal. But why would Trump have anything to worry about, unless… Trump committed a crime that Cohen knows about?
In an interview with the Journal, Goldberg elucidated his concerns about Cohen’s loyalty and the devastating impact it would have if he cooperated with the government. “The mob was broken by Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano caving in out of the prospect of a jail sentence,” Goldberg explained.
The fact that Trump’s attorneys are more concerned with somebody flipping and giving up damaging information on Trump, rather than touting his innocence and virtue could be a problem.
Rep. Trey Gowdy said something along the same lines, himself, several weeks ago: If your client is innocent, act like it!
I mean, one of Trump’s lawyers compared what’s going on with Cohen and Trump to a mob boss.
Update: Politico has more reporting on Trump allies expressing concern that Cohen will flip on Trump. All of the sources implicitly assume both Cohen and Trump are guilty of serious crimes. (Because otherwise, Cohen couldn’t give prosecutors any information damaging to Trump.) And many of them also use mafia lingo. “I think for two years or four years or five years Michael Cohen would be a stand-up guy. I think he’d tell them go piss up a rope,” says a defense lawyer who represents a senior Trump aide, “But depending on dollars involved, which can be a big driver, or if they look at him and say it’s not two to four years, it’s 18 to 22, then how loyal is he?”
There’s that loyalty thing, again.
Words have meaning, and sometimes people can give away a lot, based solely on casual, thoughtless turns of phrase.
But I’m sure what they really meant to say was: Trump is super, super innocent!
He is, right?