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“You can sleep well tonight. You have friends in high places”

"You can sleep well tonight. You have friends in high places"

by digby


CNN is reporting on emails exchanged in a "back channel" between Michael Cohen and another lawyer acting as a conduit between the president's legal team in the days after the raid on Cohen's office:

An attorney who said he was speaking with President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani reassured Michael Cohen in an April 2018 email that Cohen could "sleep well tonight" because he had "friends in high places," according to a copy of an email obtained by CNN.

Two emails -- both dated April 21, 2018, and among documents provided to Congress by the President's former attorney and fixer -- do not specifically mention a pardon. Cohen, in his closed-door congressional testimony, has provided these emails in an effort to corroborate his claim that a pardon was dangled before he decided to cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to sources familiar with his testimony.

But the attorney who wrote those emails, Robert Costello, told CNN that Cohen's interpretation of events is "utter nonsense." Costello said that Cohen asked him to raise the issue of a pardon with Giuliani.

"Does dangled mean that he (Cohen) raised it and I mentioned it to Giuliani, and Giuliani said the President is not going to discuss pardons with anybody? If that's dangling it, that's dangling it for about 15 seconds," said Costello, who has a four-decade long relationship with Giuliani and was exploring potentially representing Cohen. "The first time I kind of danced around the issue because Michael brought it up with me and I told him, 'Look, this is way too premature. ... But if you want me to bring it up, I will bring it up.' And I did."

A source with knowledge of Cohen's thinking at the time disputes Costello's version of events and insists it was Costello who was pushing his relationship with Giuliani. Another source familiar with the emails said that Trump's legal team was trying to keep Cohen in the fold as a way to keep him quiet, hinting that a pardon could be in the mix at some point.

[...]
Giuliani told CNN the emails Cohen provided to Congress weren't about pardons.

"That was about Michael Cohen thinking that the President was mad at him," Giuliani told CNN. "I called (Costello) to reassure him that the President was not mad. It wasn't long after the raid and the President felt bad for him."
[...]
Sure. "You can sleep well tonight. You have friends in high places" is a perfectly normal way to say "the president isn't mad at you."
In the emails obtained by CNN, Costello tells Cohen -- whom Costello says was worried about his relationship with Trump -- that all was well with Trump and that the President was still with him.

"I just spoke to Rudy Giuliani and told him I was on your team," Costello wrote in the first of two emails. "He asked me to tell you that he knows how tough this is on you and your family and he will make (sure) to tell the President. He said thank you for opening this back channel of communication and asked me to keep in touch."

Why would a joint defense agreement require a "back channel" I wonder?
In a follow-up email, Costello told Cohen he had spoken to Giuliani and told Cohen that it was "very very positive."
"There was never a doubt and they are in our corner," Costello wrote. "Rudy said this communication channel must be maintained. He called it crucial and noted how reassured they were that they had someone like me whom Rudy has known for so many years in this role." 
"Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places," Costello ended the email.
It looks as though that back channel went directly to the president who obviously dangled a pardon in public the next morning:

The morning after Costello's first email was sent, Trump tweeted about Cohen. "Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if...it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!" the President tweeted.

Costello included a "PS" message in his follow-up email, which was sent after Trump's tweet, noting the "very positive comments about you from the White House. Rudy noted how that followed my chat with him last night."

Here's a nice rundown of the disintegration of the Cohen-Trump relationship: