From the foreword to Disloyal, the new book by Txxxx’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen:
. . . Let me say it the way Dxxxx Txxxx would: He wouldn’t mind if I was dead. That was how Txxxx talked. Like a mob boss, using language carefully calibrated to convey his desires and demands, while at the same time employing deliberate indirection to insulate himself and avoid actually ordering a hit on his former personal attorney, confidant, consigliere, and, at least in my heart, adopted son.
Driving south from New York City to Washington, DC on I-95 on the cold, gray winter morning of February 24th, 2019, en route to testify against President Txxxx before both Houses of Congress, I knew he wanted me gone before I could tell the nation what I know about him. . . .
Heading south, I wondered if my prospects for survival were also going in that direction. I was acutely aware of the magnitude of Txxxx’s fury aimed directly at my alleged betrayal. . . . Txxxx’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 Txxxx’s fixer and designated thug. . . .
For more than a decade, I was Txxxx’s first call every morning and his last call every night. I was in and out of Txxxx’s office on the 26th floor of the Txxxx Tower as many as fifty times a day, tending to his every demand. Our cell phones had the same address books, our contacts so entwined, overlapping and intimate that part of my job was to deal with the endless queries and requests, however large or small, from Txxxx’s countless rich and famous acquaintances. I called any and all of the people he spoke to, most often on his behalf as his attorney and emissary, and everyone knew that when I spoke to them, it was as good as if they were talking directly to Txxxx.
Apart from his wife and children, I knew Txxxx better than anyone else did. In some ways, I knew him better than even his family did because I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.
There are reasons why there has never been an intimate portrait of Dxxxx Txxxx, the man. In part, it’s because he has a million acquaintances, pals and hangers on, but no real friends. He has no one he trusts to keep his secrets. For ten years, he certainly had me, and I was always there for him, and look what happened to me. I urge you to really consider that fact: Txxxx has no true friends. He has lived his entire life avoiding and evading taking responsibility for his actions. He crushed or cheated all who stood in his way, but I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them. . . .
As you read my story, you will no doubt ask yourself if you like me, or if you would act as I did, and the answer will frequently be no to both of those questions. But permit me to make a point: If you only read stories written by people you like, you will never be able to understand Dxxxx Txxxx or the current state of the American soul. More than that, it’s only by actually understanding my decisions and actions that you can get inside Txxxx’s mind and understand his worldview. As anyone in law enforcement will tell you, it’s only gangsters who can reveal the secrets of organized crime. If you want to know how the mob really works, you’ve got to talk to the bad guys. I was one of Txxxx’s bad guys. In his world, I was one hundred percent a made man. . . .
In the pitiful sight of Republicans throwing aside their dignity and duty in an effort to grovel at Txxxx’s feet, I saw myself and understood their motives. My insatiable desire to please Txxxx to gain power for myself, the fatal flaw that led to my ruination, was a Faustian bargain: I would do anything to accumulate, wield, maintain, exert, exploit power. In this way, Dxxxx Txxxx and I were the most alike; in this naked lust for power, the President and I were soul mates. I was so vulnerable to his magnetic force because he offered an intoxicating cocktail of power, strength, celebrity, and a complete disregard for the rules and realities that govern our lives. To Txxxx, life was a game and all that mattered was winning. In these dangerous days, I see the Republican Party and Txxxx’s followers threatening the constitution—which is in far greater peril than is commonly understood—and following one of the worst impulses of humankind: the desire for power at all costs. . . .
Now, sitting alone in an upstate New York prison, wearing my green government-issued uniform, I’ve begun writing this story longhand on a yellow legal pad. I often wrote before dawn so not to be disturbed in my thoughts when my fellow inmates awoke. I had to report to the sewage treatment plant where some of us worked for a wage of $8 a month. As the months passed by and I thought about the man I knew so well, I became even more convinced that Txxxx will never leave office peacefully. The types of scandals that have surfaced in recent months will only continue to emerge with greater and greater levels of treachery and deceit. If Txxxx wins another four years, these scandals will prove to only be the tip of the iceberg. I’m certain that Txxxx knows he will face prison time if he leaves office, the inevitable cold Karma to the notorious chants of “Lock Her Up!” But that is the Txxxx I know in a nutshell. He projects his own sins and crimes onto others, partly to distract and confuse but mostly because he thinks everyone is as corrupt and shameless and ruthless as he is; a poisonous mindset I know all too well. . . .
Watching Txxxx on the evening news in the prison rec room, I almost feel sorry for him. I know him so well and I know his facial tics and tells; I see the cornered look in his eyes as he flails and rants and raves, searching for a protector and advocate, someone willing to fight dirty and destroy his enemies. I see the men who have replaced me and continue to forfeit their reputations by doing the President’s bidding, no matter how dishonest or sleazy or unlawful. Rudy Guiliani, William Barr, Jared Kushner and Mike Pompeo are Txxxx’s new wannabe fixers, sycophants willing to distort the truth and break the law in the service of the Boss. All this will be to no avail. Txxxx doesn’t want to hear this, and he will certainly deny it, but he’s lost without his original bulldog lawyer Roy Cohn, or his other former pitbull and personal attorney, Michael Cohen . . .
Otisville Federal Prison, Otisville, New York, March 11, 2020
Like I said recently in a post about Casino, the true crime book about Las Vegas, mobsters are used to lying and exaggeration. But I think Cohen is telling the truth about the mob boss millions of Americans (and an antiquated election process) put in the White House.