Michael Cohen
Credit: CNN/Screen capture

In the very near future, Michael Cohen could find himself in the same position as Paul Manafort.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, could be charged before the end of the month with bank fraud in his dealings with the taxi industry and with committing other financial crimes, two people familiar with the federal probe said Monday…

The New York Times reported Sunday, based on anonymous sources, that prosecutors have been focusing on more than $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses that Cohen and his family own.

Meanwhile, Cohen’s lawyer is once again hinting that his client is willing to cooperate with both federal investigators and the special counsel.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for former longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, said he has been reaching out regularly over the past few months to John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Cohen has sent signals that he might cooperate in the investigations surrounding his former boss. The fact that his lawyer is talking frequently to Dean — who was name-checked by Trump on Sunday in the context of recent reports that White House counsel Don McGahn is cooperating with investigators — adds new hints that Cohen could be open to being a potential witness in any case against Trump.

Cohen has already provided audiotape evidence that the president paid hush money to silence a Playboy model with whom Trump had an affair. He also maintains that the president knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting. But all of that is merely chump change. There are two areas where Cohen could actually blow things up for Donald Trump. First of all, there are the deals he was involved with on behalf of the Trump organization.

Michael Cohen is the most important non-Trump in the Trump business world. He oversaw nearly all the foreign deals as the Trump Org shifted its focus to sketchy third-tier overseas oligarchs. He was not part of the Trump Org legal team in any real sense…He was a deal maker. The only non-Trump deal maker doing all those international deals. He, Ivanka, and Don, Jr., were the entire global development team at a time when the company was exploring dozens of deals all over the world. If he were to flip, it would be Ivanka and Don, Jr. who should be most worried. We know, of course, that the Trump Org did business with corrupt politicians, sanctions-violators, money launderers, etc. The only open question is how much they knew about their partners’ activity. Cohen knows how much they knew. He knows what he told them.

Secondly, when it comes to the topic of the Mueller investigation, the Steele dossier reported that when Manafort left the Trump campaign because his Russian connections became public, it was Michael Cohen who took over as the lead contact between the campaign and Moscow. That included his trip to Prague to discuss, among other things, how to handle the cash payments to hackers who worked in Europe under Kremlin direction.

I would imagine that Mueller already has a pretty developed case when it comes to a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election. But if Cohen flips, it’s the whole enchilada with respect to both that conspiracy and any crimes the president committed in his business dealings.

I’m not convinced yet that Cohen wants to flip. It seems to me that he keeps dangling things out there in the hope that his former boss will do something to get him out of this mess. But based on these most recent reports, the hammer is about to fall and Cohen is going to have to decide whether to tell all or spend a lot of time in jail.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.