“There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,” insists his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. “It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.”
This is an unpersuasive defense for Trump, for two reasons. First, if Cohen was engaged in lies and dishonesty for “a significant period of time,” why did Trump hire him as his personal attorney, and employ him in a wide array of political and business dealings? Second, it isn’t true, anyway. Cohen specifically admitted to carrying out campaign-finance violations at Trump’s direction, for Trump’s benefit. It is absolutely an allegation of wrongdoing.
But there may be a loophole upon which Giuliani can rest his case. Cohen’s plea agreement does not actually name Donald Trump as the co-conspirator. Instead, it simply states that Cohen went to work as an attorney for “Individual 1,” who “became President of the United States.”
That Individual 1 could be anybody.