- Michael Cohen, Trump’s former longtime lawyer, predicted the former president will be indicted soon.
- Cohen also believes Trump will be subpoenaed to face congressional hearings.
- He appeared exasperated with the Justice Department, saying it was “tiptoeing” around Trump.
Michael Cohen, once former President Donald Trump’s lawyer, said he believes Trump will be indicted by the Department of Justice “relatively soon” over his handling of the classified documents found at the Mar-a-Lago resort.
“I think that there is going to be an indictment, and relatively soon,” Cohen said Thursday while speaking on MSNBC’s “The Reidout” hosted by Joy Reid. “I believe there will also be congressional hearings with Donald in the hot seat, you know, either he’ll come in willingly, which you know I don’t think he will, or via subpoena.”
“The real questions they have to be asking right now is, you know, ‘Where are the documents that were in these empty top-secret files that were found at Mar-a-Lago?'” Cohen continued. “I mean, that’s really the big question, and who did Donald give them to or show them to?”
Cohen, who worked as Trump’s personal lawyer from 2006 to 2018, has become one of the former president’s most vocal critics after leaving Trump’s service. In 2018, he was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a range of felonies, including tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations. Cohen was disbarred by the New York Supreme Court in February 2019.
During his MSNBC appearance on Thursday, Cohen appeared to express his frustration at the DOJ, saying that it had been “tiptoeing” around Trump as though he were a “supreme leader or a monarch.”
“I’ve been saying it from day number one, Joy. Donald is a clear and present danger to the national security and safety of this country. And if this doesn’t prove it, I’m not sure anything will,” Cohen told Reid.
Responding to a comment by Reid that Trump appeared to be “un-bloody-touchable,” Cohen said he disagreed with the description.
“I don’t agree with you in the fact that he’s not going to be held accountable for this,” Cohen said. “This is too big at this point in time.”
A spokesperson for Trump’s post-presidential office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home under a search warrant on August 8 and recovered 11 sets of classified documents. Per The Washington Post, some of these documents included nuclear secrets. On September 2, the FBI revealed that its agents had also found 48 empty boxes marked “CLASSIFIED.”
Since the raid, Trump has said that he declassified the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago via “standing order,” although there has been no evidence to show that such an order was given while he was in the White House. In addition, 18 aides from the Trump administration also told CNN they had never heard of such an order.
Notably, the classification level of the Mar-a-Lago documents is not a factor in the DOJ’s probe into whether Trump broke any of three federal laws — including the Espionage Act — with his handling of sensitive files.
On Monday, District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents seized by the FBI, which could delay the DOJ’s investigation. The department is appealing Cannon’s ruling.
In the meantime, several former top-ranking officials and high-profile observers have speculated that Trump may have intended to sell or barter the classified documents for his gain.
Former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi said any top-secret information about a country’s nuclear weapons would have fetched the “highest price tag” for Trump. Meanwhile, Peter Srzok, another former FBI official, said “any competent foreign intelligence service” — such as those from Cuba, Iran, Russia, or China — would have tried to gain access to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
A week after the Mar-a-Lago raid, Fox News host Eric Shawn also asked on a live show if Trump may have tried selling the documents to “the Russians or to the Saudis.”
Cohen has also suggested that Trump may have tried to keep the documents as “bargaining chips” that he could use if he were ever at risk of being imprisoned, Insider’s Cheryl Teh reported.