The recording of a discussion Donald Trump had with this attorney, Michael Cohen, which was released to CNN yesterday, does indeed suggest the president may have been a party to fraud. But the tapes Trump fears most are yet to be released, and they could wind up implicating him in a conspiracy beyond the one he may have committed with Vladimir Putin.
One thing that hasn’t been discussed much when it comes to Cohen are his extensive ties to Russian organized crime. As Salon first reported in April:
“Before he joined up with Trump in the mid-2000s Cohen was involved in a series of scams, including insurance and IRS fraud, for which he always avoided indictment while others were jailed or fined.
“Many of his associates in these businesses came from the former Soviet Union and had connections to Russian organized crime. Cohen married a Ukrainian immigrant whose father had pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to defraud the IRS in a taxi medallion fraud case. Cohen himself has made millions in the New York taxi business, which is reportedly one of the areas the FBI cited in its search warrant.”
If Cohen ever discussed “business” that involved the Russian mafia — which is known as the most brutal in the world — with Trump and taped it, he made his client part of a much larger, more dangerous conspiracy that would implicate them both in crimes ranging from money laundering and human trafficking to drugs and murder.
And if there’s a tape of that conversation about the Russian mob between Cohen and Trump, then the president will no longer be able to say the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt.” He will have been a party to organized criminal activities.
Why would Trump have gotten into bed with the Russian mafia in the first place? Money. American banks refused to loan him a dime, so Trump may have agreed to launder dirty money for Russian organized crime. But in doing so, he also opened himself up to being blackmailed. Cohen likely knows where all of the money came from, and that’s a big problem for the Donald now that his former fixer has turned against him.
Sources close to Cohen say the more damaging tapes he made of his meetings with Trump are yet to surface, but that they will, and soon.
Imagine the fear that must be coursing through Trump’s fevered brain right now. He can sense that the end is near, but he’s powerless to do anything about it. He’s probably running through all the incriminating things he and Cohen talked about over the years.
Meanwhile, somewhere in a nondescript building in downtown Washington, D.C., Robert Mueller is listening to the Cohen tapes and taking notes as he considers all the crimes he can charge Donald Trump with.