Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, has just been sentenced to three years in prison.
And Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now setting his sights on Trump himself.
But Trump is holding Mueller’s investigation off with just three words.
Cohen’s plea bargain to Federal prosecutors has led to him cooperating with Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election.
His cooperation has renewed hopes among Mueller’s supporters that the President will be caught red-handed in some form of illegal action, be it collusion with the Russians in 2016 or some sort of illegal activity related to his presidential campaign.
But these hopes have run into a brick wall.
Trump derailed this theory — popular among the left and the Deep State — that he knowingly broke the law, with just three words.
“Advice of counsel.”
The President tweeted last week, “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel.”
Trump’s defense is both simple and brilliant.
Not only is the advice of counsel defense a legitimate defense in a court of law, but it lays the blame for any wrongdoing squarely with Cohen, a man who Mueller already has.
Courts have held that the defense applies when a person has gone to a lawyer to ask about whether something is legal and then relied in good faith on the professional’s advice that no laws were being broken.
There is currently no proof that Trump has not followed this path.
There is also still no proof connecting President Trump to any collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election.
And as his lawyer at the time, Cohen would have been responsible for making sure Trump followed the letter of the law.
Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for the violations and other crimes, including bank fraud and tax evasion, and he now claims Trump was aware of his actions.
But none of Cohen’s recordings or documents suggest that he and Trump discussed or coordinated in any way to violate the law.
Muller may very well have boxed himself into a corner.
In an interview with Fox News, President Trump said, “I never directed him to do anything wrong. Whatever he did he did on his own. A lawyer who represents a client is supposed to do the right thing.”
President Trump is right. Cohen was hired to help make sure Trump stayed within the bounds of the law.
Even if Mueller thinks he has evidence to bring against President Trump, the advice of counsel defense will make it very hard to prove he intentionally broke any federal or state laws.
What’s more, Cohen’s cooperation with Mueller’s investigation is just as likely about saving his own skin as it is about taking down Trump for any alleged illegal activity.
And any case Mueller tries to build against Trump that relies on Cohen’s cooperation is likely to be shaky.
Cohen has lied to Federal investigators before.
And he now has every reason to lie again.
In short, the advice of counsel defense will be sure to make the Mueller investigation more difficult to bring charges against President Trump.
What’s more, it remains unclear whether or not the Justice Department can even charge a sitting president according to its own rules.
Do you think Robert Mueller will bring charges against President Trump?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.