On Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley said President Donald Trump must be careful in the wake of the FBI raid on the residence and office of his personal attorney Michael Cohen. Turley said that the president must anticipate that Cohen will be used as “bait” against him in dealings with special counsel Robert Mueller. “The president has to be very careful,” Turley said on Tuesday.
“The greatest danger that he faces is not Michael Cohen as a defendant but Michael Cohen as bait. The president was actually in a fairly safe place 48 hours ago,” said Turley. “He was following his attorney’s advice. He was prepping for a negotiated and limited interview with Mueller. And then suddenly this happens. And in many ways this could be as cunning as it is hostile on the part of Rod Rosenstein.”
“It has a real threat for the president,” Turley went on to say. “It expands the investigation, involves the southern district that can prosecute it. But if the president reacts aggressively, he could end up triggering a far more serious problem for himself and his presidency.”
Trump made himself vulnerable by not cutting ties with Cohen and by not ending the Stormy Daniels litigation. Daniels has claimed that she was paid hush money by Cohen to keep quiet about an alleged extramarital affair she said she had with Trump. “I think quite frankly the president laid himself open for this,” Turley said. “For months some of us have been saying he needed to sever his contacts with Michael Cohen. Who charitably is not the most respected attorney in terms of his conduct. And he also needed to get out of the Stormy Daniels litigation. Neither of those things have happened. And the costs are mounting.”
“Now that doesn’t mean that the president is wrong for being aggrieved about his attorney being searched,” he added. “That is always going to be something that is a fairly extreme step, but the president needs to focus on the threat.” Turley said, “The threat here is if he reacts badly — if he reacts aggressively and fires Mueller I think he’s going to magnify the dangers for himself and his presidency.”