Ms. Rocah made several interesting points, one in particular. She said she personally knew Cohen's new attorney, Guy Petrillo. And said he was an excellent, talented and honorable guy, a top-notch lawyer who was extremely ethical. A lawyer who would only represent his client in the client's best interest, period. And because of that, there was NO way that he would ever allow his client to accept payment from someone (in this instance, Trump) if it meant he would have to change his tactics from representing his client in his best interests.
So, that (to her) knocked out the "Cohen did it to get money from Trump" theory. And she (and others on the panel) noted that since most of the prospective charges against Cohen were state and civil, that knocked out any benefits from getting a pardon. Further, if he accepted a pardon, he'd be compelled to testify honestly and openly, as opposed to being able to plead the Fifth without a pardon. Was he "sending a message to Trump"? It sure seems like there are a whole lot easier and far-less cryptic ways to send a message. Like, oh, calling a mutual friend and saying, "You might be interested that unless something changes my mind that I can't imagine, I'm probably about to flip." So, as for pardoning Cohen: it doesn't help him much, and is very bad for Trump.
(It was also discussed that Mueller had transferred Cohen's case to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where it could be prosecuted separately from the Russia investigation -- but if the U.S. Attorney came across any material that would be of benefit to the Special Counsel, it would be passed along. And, as another panelist added, it probably already has been.)
From quotes of his in the interview, several other points were brought up that made it seem far most-likely that the outcome of all this was that Cohen was ready to flip, rather than send a message to Trump for the reasons mentioned --
There was Cohen talking about how country and family were the two most important things to him, how they come first in his life. This from the man who up until recently had been saying that he would take a bullet for Trump. Apparently not.
Also, Cohen not only said in the interview that he didn't demonize or vilify the FBI, but that in fact he respected them. Even more, he said specifically that he didn't think the investigation was a Witch Hunt. If you're looking to send signals for a pardon from Trump, that would seem to be a really poor starting point...
Then there was Cohen saying that he didn't want to be seen as a villain, because he wasn't a villain. And as I heard someone else comment later in the day, it's important to recognize that Cohen wasn't saying that nothing was done wrong by the Trump people, and that there was no villain -- just that it wasn't him.
But the part of the interview that perhaps leaped out most to suggest Cohen was on the verge of flipping was him saying that his lawyers had broken off their relationship with Trump's lawyers and were no longer sharing information. You do that when the two parties have different agendas. Indeed, this is exactly what Mike Flynn did right before he flipped.
And then there was the reality that, as I said, no one could quite figure out why he had the odd interview in the first place. It was just such a wrong-headed thing to do and most-every level. No lawyer I saw during the day could figure out a good, sensible explanation. The only one that made sense was he wanted to do his best to polish his very-tarnished reputation, to lay the groundwork before any charges come down. And with the bulk of his documents about to be turned over to the Special Counsel, and an indictments coming, he was aware he'd also become the target of Team Trump to demonize him, and he wanted to get out front of it all. (As one panelist said, in pretty much these words, "He was trying to make himself likable, which is a challenge for one of the most unlikable men in Washington.")
By the way, never mind how much Michael Cohen wanted to portray himself as a good guy who hadn't done anything wrong, wasn't a villain, and loved his country and the FBI -- he was Trump's fixer for years, and reveled in his tough-guy bully persona he cultivated, paid off women, threatened reporters -- which we have on at least one tape -- set up shell corporations to make payoffs to companies owned by Russian oligarchs, and dealt with Russia during the presidential campaign on setting up a Trump Moscow, while Trump was lying to the America public that he had no deals in Russia. And this is what we know on the surface. It is not the foundation of A Good Guy, And now Robert Mueller has over a million documents and recordings from Michael Cohen.
Besides which, I just get the sense from all he said -- and from not getting the White House job he wanted and from reports that for years he was treated poorly by Trump -- that he is REALLY pissed off in huge ways at Trump and the whole Trump family at this point, for many reasons which have finally spilled out of the bottle and can't be put back in.
Finally, there was the non-Cohen indication, as well, which I noted above. That's the far-right ditto-head news that was trashing Cohen for much of the day. The "Let's All Demonize Michael Cohen" parade. That doesn't come from nowhere, out of thin air. That's all from the Great Head of Oz. In fact, the only place that was silent was that Great Head. Not a peep or tweet from Trump all day about Michael Cohen. Silence from Trump is profoundly rare and speaks volumes -- in this case, screaming out terror. Think Edvard Munch. (Also know officially as "The inveterate Chris Dunn's favorite painting.")
All of which leads me to suspect that Michael Cohen will indeed be flipping soon. And given that he was at the center of doing the dirty work for Trump for years -- and is believed to be aware of the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort...and The Russians -- that is very bad news for Trump.
Hey, I could be wrong. But relying on that if you're Trump is a seriously risky proposition.
And how bad a day was it for Trump? Lost in all the Michael Cohen News yesterday was a story that linked Paul Manafort even closer to Russian spying, with his ties to Konstantin Kilimnik who the AP reports was more than just a long-time fixer for Manafort but actually involved in Russian intelligence.
Trump was silent about that one, too...