A former federal prosecutor said it was too soon to tell whether Michael Cohen would turn against President Donald Trump in the ongoing probe of his campaign ties to Russia, but she explained the attorney would have a strong incentive to do so.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough marveled at the president basically admitting that Cohen had information that could interest prosecutors about their business together, and former assistant U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah described what might happen next.
"In my experience, first of all, people who say they're not going to flip at this stage of the game, it's too early to tell," Rocah told "Morning Joe." "They change their mind quite often, and I'm talking about people who have every incentive not to cooperate — like organized crime members, members of violent gangs — so when the pull is very strong, as it must be here for Michael Cohen and must be a very pull strong pull to Donald Trump they still cooperate quite often."
Rocah served 16 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and she left about six months before her former colleagues obtained a search warrant for Cohen's home and office.
Rocah said the case against Trump's longtime lawyer could put him in significant legal jeopardy, and that could outweigh any loyalty he has toward the president.
"It's too early to tell," Rocah said. "He hasn't seen the strength of the case against him, which my impression is it's going to be strong or they would haven't gotten that search warrant."
"The second thing that's important to know is that if he does cooperate, I think he's going to be a very valuable cooperator because people who are — those are the people you do need to cooperate are the people on the inside," she added.
Ultimately, she said there's only one reason Cohen might risk a lengthy prison term to protect his longtime boss.
"If he doesn't cooperate it's going to be probably out of loyalty because, and/or because he decides to take the case to trial, which is his right to do," Rocah said.