- Michael Cohen said Trump is bluffing about a 2024 run in part because “he’s making more money doing that than anything he has ever done.”
- He told Insider Trump is also teasing a campaign to retain “some semblance of power, importance and relevance, none of which he has.”
- But in the end, Cohen said Trump won’t run because he can’t “stomach the notion of being a two-time loser.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Former President Donald Trump’s longtime former lawyer and fixer said Wednesday that he thinks Trump is bluffing about launching another presidential run.
“His insatiable need for attention is one reason he continues to flaunt this disingenuous 2024 run,” Michael Cohen told Insider in an interview. “The other is he’s making more money doing that than anything he has ever done before.”
Trump has repeatedly teased a potential 2024 campaign in the months since he left office in January. The former president raised more money than any other Republican in the first half of the year and had a war chest of more than $US100 ($AU138) million by the end of June, The New York Times reported over the summer, citing federal campaign filings.
But despite claiming the 2020 election was rigged and promising to help more Republicans get elected, Trump hasn’t spent any of the money on audits or GOP-led campaigns, according to Politico. Instead, he’s largely spent the money to promote his own interests, cover event and travel expenses, and pay the salaries of his aides and advisors, the report said. He’s also used some of the funds to cover legal expenses in his baseless effort to overturn the 2020 election results.
Cohen on Wednesday described Trump as “the greatest grifter in the history of American politics,” adding that he’ll ultimately come up with a “handful of reasons why he won’t run again and blame others for his decision.”
“He’ll say he’s not going to run again because of bipartisan hatred for him or because of the Democrats or because he doesn’t want to put his family through any more,” Cohen said of Trump. “He cannot stomach the notion of being a two-time loser, but he will continue to grift until the very last second.”
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The former president is “trying to retain some semblance of power, importance, and relevance, none of which he has,” said Cohen, who is currently serving out a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to an array of felonies.
He pleaded guilty in August 2018 to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and wire fraud. He also pleaded guilty that November to one felony count of lying to Congress as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.
Trump initially defended Cohen earlier in 2018, calling the FBI’s raids on his home and office “disgraceful” and a “total witch hunt.” But the president quickly changed tune when it surfaced that Cohen was cooperating with the feds, calling his former lawyer and longtime fixer a “rat,” a term commonly used by mafia bosses to describe former loyalists who flip on them.
Cohen also postponed his congressional testimony in early 2019, citing “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump” and Giuliani. His statement came after Trump repeatedly tweeted that Cohen’s father-in-law should be investigated, a statement Cohen’s lawyer and some Democratic lawmakers interpreted as witness intimidation.
Cohen argued last December that he should be released from home confinement early under the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that Trump signed into law in 2018.
But prosecutors said in March that Cohen should continue serving out the rest of his sentence in home confinement. The president’s former lawyer and fixer said he’s “frustrated” and “exhausted” but looks forward to being released on November 22.
Asked about the first thing he’ll do after completing his sentence, Cohen joked: “Go to Disneyland.”
“In all honesty, I don’t know,” he said. “In sixty days, I have to rebuild my life, which is not easy when you’re 55 years old.”
That said, Cohen has already begun laying the groundwork for a return to public life. In addition to frequently appearing on cable news to comment on the latest developments in Trumpworld, Cohen also launched a podcast, called “Mea Culpa,” which he described as being part of his effort to “right the wrongs he perpetuated on behalf of his former boss.”
The podcast’s latest episode featured Stormy Daniels, the adult film star whose alleged affair with Trump was at the center of Cohen’s first guilty plea in 2018. Once he gets out of home confinement, Cohen will take Mea Culpa on a “live national tour” to mark the end of his prison sentence, according to a press release.