Cohen, who came out of nowhere to occupy a prominent spot in Trump’s orbit, has his own unique links to Russia and Ukraine.In fact, he might be one of the missing links that ties the president to shady figures and shady money from the former Soviet Union (familiarly known as FSU). Cohen will meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee September 19. While Manafort and Flynn played only specific and short-lived roles with Trump, Cohen has served as confidant, spokesperson and liaison between his boss and powerful foreign agents over the past decade.The Ukrainian had come bearing a “peace agreement” intended to lift punishing economic sanctions that had been imposed on Russia after Putin’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
To begin with, the name “Michael Cohen” showed up in the controversial “dossier” put together last year by a former UK foreign intelligence officer doing private research on Russia connections for Trump opponents.
The 35-page collection of memos, published in its entirety by Buzzfeed, comprises precise but unverified documentation of continuous contact between Trump associates and Russian operatives during the presidential campaign.
So it was a quite a change when he decided to formally join the GOP — after Trump’s inauguration.
But neither that switch nor years of devoted service to the Trump Organization could win Cohen a post in the president’s administration, though he had reportedly yearned for and expected to occupy one. Possibly because by the time Trump took office, Cohen’s name had surfaced in headline-grabbing, Russia-related stories — and that is the one kind of publicity from which Trump has tried to distance himself.
Tied into this network of influence are Russian President Vladimir Putin, wealthy FSU businessmen (“oligarchs”), and allied members of organized crime. In 2007, the little-known Cohen suddenly became visible in the Trump camp.
Positioned close to the throne, he became executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump.
Cohen told a reporter that he first got hooked on Trump after reading his book, The Art of the Deal, twice, cover to cover. He is our patriarch.”Indeed, Cohen has a reputation for being a kind of Trump Mini-Me.
If so, he is the ultimate groupie.“Over the years I have been offered very lucrative employment opportunities, which I summarily dismissed,” he said. In July 2015, he vowed to “mess up” the life of a Daily Beast reporter who brought up the decades-old allegation that Trump assaulted his first wife, Ivana.
According to The New York Times, as a result of that meeting, Cohen joined other Trump associates already under scrutiny in the FBI’s counterintelligence inquiry related to Russia.
Why was Cohen even in a meeting about US foreign policy at all?
After months of speculation, he will finally be subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify under oath, as the Committee says he has broken an agreement by communication with media outlets. It lays bare, in documented detail, Cohen’s dealings, his ties to the FSU, and how he could trigger a world of trouble for the president if he ever decided to reveal what he knows about Trump’s business empire. Of all the people Trump could have tapped to function as his main man, the lawyer who is always around him, his legal rottweiler, why Michael Cohen?