`Donald Trump may deny it, but those who know him say that he has had a long-standing love-hate relationship with his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
“For years, Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly,” the New York Times recently reported, “with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired.”
Now with Cohen in legal jeopardy as a result of his handling of a $130,000 hush payment given to adult film star Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford shortly before the November 2016 presidential election, Cohen represents a threat to Trump.
Having handled much of Trump’s business over the years – professional, personal and political – Cohen likely knows many secrets which could be harmful to the president if he decided to “flip” and tell prosecutors and the Special Counsel what he knows.
So far, Cohen has said he will plead the Fifth Amendment in the Stormy Daniels legal case, which means he will not answer questions that might incriminate him. That alone suggests Cohen knows things that could incriminate not just him but also Trump.
However, with his legal fees mounting and the very real threat of criminal charges, Cohen has to think about his own fate and the impact it will have on his wife and children if chooses, as he once told Vanity Fair, to “take a bullet” for Trump.
That is why Trump and Cohen’s relationship is under the microscope right now. The Wall Street Journal reported a particularly telling incident about Trump’s previous humiliations of Cohen, in this case in front of the lawyer’ family and children.
New York Magazine repeats what it labels as “a sad example of one of the ways in which Trump has previously embarrassed his fixer:”
“Trump agreed to attend Cohen’s son’s bar mitzvah, but then showed up late, and Cohen humiliatingly delayed the ceremony to suit his boss’s arrival. After Mr. Trump arrived, he gave a speech, telling guests he hadn’t planned to come, but he relented after Mr. Cohen had repeatedly called him, his secretary and his children begging him to appear.”
This shows not only how badly Trump could treat Cohen in front of his entire family and closest friends on what should have been an occasion to celebrate.
Trump gave a really nice speech at Michael Cohen’s son’s bar mitzvah pic.twitter.com/w2pt3v3NH0
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) April 26, 2018
It also demonstrates Trump’s complete absence of tact, even with a loyal liege.
Recently a reporter asked Trump in a shouted question if he planned to use his presidential pardon to help Cohen, and the president’s dismissive reply was that it was a “stupid” question.
With Cohen’s life, career, family and maybe even his freedom on the line, it is doubtful he would find the question just as “stupid.”