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This Could Be Why Cohen Criticized Trump Directly on Family Separation Policy


Cohen leak Steve Mnuchin

There’s got to be a reason why Michael Cohen, while under criminal investigation and going through a lawyer change, is openly criticizing President Donald Trump‘s family separation policy — a policy that his since been stopped by executive order. Speculation is swirling as to why Cohen decided to take a stance on this issue, and a couple of reasons are shining through.

Could it be as CNN analyst and former FBI Special Agent Josh Campbell said, that Cohen is unusually needling Trump because he is “rehabilitating the witness”?

“This is called rehabilitating the witness. Slamming an awful policy that is about to be reversed in order to garner a little positive PR is not bravery,” he tweeted.

Rehabilitating the witness is an actual legal thing which is done “either by introducing evidence of the witness’s good character for truthfulness and honesty, or by the introduction into evidence of a prior consistent statement made by the witness. Usually, a witness’ credibility can only be rehabilitated after his or her credibility has been attacked.”

Campbell seems to be suggesting instead that Cohen is rehabilitating himself in a PR sense.

CNN legal analyst Ross Garber also said that a “cynical person might think” the message being sent here is that “Cohen is doing everything possible to get Trump’s attention and send a message that Trump help him – or else.”

Cohen resigned earlier Wednesday from the Republican National Committee (RNC). From April 2017 until now (even as he has been under criminal investigation) Cohen had been the deputy finance chair for the RNC. As he did this, Cohen linked separation of family to the Holocaust.

“As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching. While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips,” he said.

Previously, it was reported that Trump allies are just as worried about Cohen as they are about Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia probe “hit[ting] the fan pretty soon.” There have also been whispers that Cohen will cooperate with authorities.

As recently as Tuesday, anonymous Cohen friends indicated the embattled lawyer may flip on Trump (if, indeed, there is something he knows that would interest the feds) and cut a deal.

The friends said Cohen is willing to talk “in the right situation.” They also said that Cohen feels “isolated” by Trump. Trump said recently that Cohen is no longer his lawyer and that he (Trump) had not talked to Cohen in some time.

Cohen has hired former federal prosecutor Guy Petrillo to represent him after his other attorneys abruptly left.

Aaron Keller contributed to this report.

[Image via Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.