Former Donald Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Claims He Set up Putin Backchannel for President in Upcoming Book

Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, claims that he set up a backchannel for the president to communicate with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in an upcoming book. Cohen released the forewords to the book — titled Disloyal — and in it, he makes some shocking claims. Not the least of which is that Trump made "deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union."

In the book, Cohen also alleges that he witnessed Trump involved with "golden showers in a sex club in Vegas," and that he was instructed "silence Trump’s clandestine lovers." This is a reference to Cohen arranging a payment of $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016, just before the presidential election. That payment was meant to be in exchange for Daniels keeping quiet about the alleged affair she had with Trump. Cohen previously claimed that the allegations were "completely false," but he later stated that his denial was a lie, and that he was privy to knowledge of Trump having a relationship with Daniels.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple financial crimes, including infractions related to campaign finance. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. The ex-lawyer was subsequently hit with a three-year sentence at the federal correctional institution in Otisville, New York. He was released early, in May, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but was taken back into custody in July.

Elsewhere in his book foreword, Cohen writes, "If that sounds overly dramatic, consider the powers Trump possessed and imagine how you might feel if he threatened you personally. Heading south, I wondered if my prospects for survival were also going in that direction. I was acutely aware of the magnitude of Trump’s fury aimed directly at my alleged betrayal. I was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses and I kept the speedometer at eighty, avoiding the glances of other drivers. Trump’s theory of life, business and politics revolved around threats and the prospect of destruction—financial, electoral, personal, physical—as a weapon. I knew how he worked because I had frequently been the one screaming threats on his behalf as Trump’s fixer and designated thug."

He added, "Ever since I had flipped and agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller and the Special Counsel’s Office, the death threats had come by the hundreds. On my cell phone, by email, snail mail, in tweets, on Facebook, enraged Trump supporters vowed to kill me, and I took those threats very seriously. The President called me a rat and tweeted angry accusations at me, as well as my family. All rats deserve to die, I was told. I was a lowlife Judas they were going to hunt down. I was driving because I couldn’t fly or take the train to Washington. If I had, I was sure I would be mobbed or attacked. For weeks, walking the streets of Manhattan, I was convinced that someone was going to ram me with their car. I was exactly the person Trump was talking about when he said he could shoot and kill someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it."