Bernstein: Cohen Similar To John Dean, He Wanted Immunity And To Do A "Patriotic Act"


President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen claims Trump knew Russians were offering dirt on Clinton and approved going ahead with the 2016 meeting, sources say. Carl Bernstein reacted on Chris Cuomo's CNN primetime show.

CARL BERNSTEIN: I think what we got to look at are two things here, that we do know that Donald Trump Sr. has lied throughout that investigation, that many, many things he has said turn out to be untrue. What we also know is that Mr. Cohen, up until this point, does not have a great record of credibility either.

He is now claiming that he is ready to provide everything he knows. The government already has his devices. They have his iPhone. They have his computer disks, and he says that he is willing to tell to the special prosecutor everything that he knows in exchange for some kind of leniency or immunity from prosecution.

It is a high-stakes poker game that is going on here involving Cohen, involving the press, involving the president of the United States. We'll see where it goes. But it is very, very important that for the first time, Michael Cohen, who has been proximate to the president of the United States for many years and knows many of his secrets, is saying, I want to spill those secrets, especially this one, in exchange for my perhaps being treated leniently.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know, Jim, just for context on what is happening here strategically, this is a big change for Cohen by disposition of his legal team. They had been saying, flip on what? There are no charges. You know, what would we have to offer up? We haven't done anything wrong.

A move like this suggests an insurance policy, doesn't it?

SCIUTTO: It does. I mean it certainly suggests as well an enormous amount of legal pressure that Michael Cohen is under, and that is something that the president's lawyers and advocates are going to draw attention to.

But one consistent thing you hear from Mr. Cohen's lawyers and representatives and others who know him is that he went through a change, that now he wants to set the record straight, that now he is choosing country over Donald Trump. And that is what they're offering as an explanation for his change in tack.

CUOMO: Carl?

BERNSTEIN: There's an obvious parallel that suggested itself that may or may not be relevant, and that's in Watergate to John Dean, who did a similar thing. He was part of a conspiracy. We don't know that Cohen and the president engaged in a conspiracy, but that's what some people are alleging.

And then, Dean decided at a certain point he, one, wanted immunity, and, two, he would tell in his view a patriotic act, what he knew. If Michael Cohen is doing something of the same thing, it could be very, very consequential. We now are going to find out as this goes along what facts he knows, what facts he doesn't, and the special prosecutor will deal with the question of his truthfulness, validity, and whether or not he wants to make a deal with Cohen.

He might not want to make a deal with Cohen because he might have more evidence from elsewhere and doesn't need what Cohen has.

CUOMO: That is a possibility. We are being told that this is Cohen's team wanting to go to Mueller, not Mueller coming to them. That way it has worked up at this point.

BERNSTEIN: I think that’s right.

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