That’s A Nice Witness You Have There: It’d Be A Shame If Something Bad Happened To Him.

Tonight, the NYT noted that in his interview with Jeanine Pirro of Fox News Trump stated:

“[Michael Cohen’s] in trouble on some loans and fraud and taxicabs and stuff that I know nothing about,” Mr. Trump said. “And in order to get his sentence reduced, he says, I have an idea, I’ll tell — I’ll give you some information on the president.”

Mr. Trump then implied that Mr. Cohen ought to be sharing information instead on his father-in-law, whose name he said he did not know.

“But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at,” he said, adding, “That’s the money in the family.” Pressed by Ms. Pirro for more details, Mr. Trump said, “I don’t know, but you’ll find out, and you’ll look into it because nobody knows what’s going on over there.”

18 U.S.C. § 1505 provides, in pertinent part, that:

Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede . . . the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—

Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

27 thoughts on “That’s A Nice Witness You Have There: It’d Be A Shame If Something Bad Happened To Him.”

    1. Hmm. A man who has nominal control of the republican party’s propaganda machine and direct authority over the nation’s law enforcement apparatus is suggesting that a prospective congressional witness is lying about him but has a father-in-law who should be investigated for criminal activity. (When part of the reason that Cohen got the sentence he did is that he refused to say anything about family members.)

      The implied threat is that either the department of justice or the rightwing noise machine or both will be used to make Cohen’s family and inlaws’ lives miserable. And, mind you, that’s the public, entirely open version.

      1. Good answer. Trump’s statement might not constitute proof of a threat beyond a reasonable doubt, but should suffice as another piece of evidence of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    2. In response to Jarndyce, it is a threat to expose someone’s criminal activity. As I am often called upon to advise my clients, if you say “Do this or else I’ll press criminal charges,” you are engaged in extortion.

  1. Trump’s playing an interesting game of chicken. From what I’ve read, Trump knows Cohen’s father-in-law pretty well since the guy is apparently one of the major steerers for Eastern European and Russian grey and black money. So if he flips, the only thing that would be keeping Trump out of federal prison would be the Justice Department position that presidents are, essentially, the physical embodiment of the state and therefore cannot be prosecuted by the state.

    In fact, this dynamic is one of the reasons why I have real doubts about SDNY’s motives. If the purpose of the investigation was to advance the prosecution of money laundering by the Trump Organization, they would be working to flip the father-in-law, which doesn’t seem to be happening (although it might be happening in secret). But the focus on Cohen while immunizing higher ups and giving sweetheart deals to the National Enquirer has caused me to become very skeptical about what’s going on with the SDNY.

    1. I wonder if “flip” fits in the same sentence with “one of the major steerers for Eastern European and Russian grey and black money?”

      If that’s really the man, I’m guessing the chance of flipping him is about the same as the chance I’ll win the PowerBall jackpot. He could stand up to 99 years in the Big House before he’d stand up to his own chain of command if he flipped. And there are eyes and ears everywhere. I doubt he’d have much confidence in Witness Protection these days.

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