From Fixer to Witness: Michael Cohen's Turn Against Trump

A dramatic shift unfolds in Cohen's view of Trump.

by Nouman Rasool
From Fixer to Witness: Michael Cohen's Turn Against Trump
© Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

In a riveting display of loyalty turned sour, Michael Cohen, once Donald Trump's top fixer, has evolved into a pivotal witness against him in a Manhattan courtroom. Cohen, who once managed Trump’s toughest crises—whether quashing negative press or handling allegations from a Miss USA contestant—has painted a starkly different picture from the past, portraying Trump not as a revered boss but as a figure to be held accountable in the eyes of the law.

The case, stemming from accusations that Trump orchestrated hush money payments during his 2016 presidential campaign, has brought these former allies face-to-face as adversaries, both avoiding any direct eye contact. Cohen, whose professional undertakings for Trump ranged from daily management to crisis control, is now the star witness, alleging that Trump was more concerned about campaign impacts than marital fidelity when he approved a covert payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

Reverence to Disillusionment

Cohen’s testimony reveals a man disillusioned by power dynamics, describing his former reverence for Trump, whose approval once made him feel "on top of the world." This sentiment starkly contrasts his current stance, having testified that Trump's queries about his marital prospects in light of the allegations underscored his disregard for his wife, Melania.

Throughout the proceedings, both men maintained a composed demeanor, although the strain of their fractured relationship was palpable. Trump, typically vocal and combative, remained mostly subdued, while Cohen delivered a calm yet potent testimony. Trump's only retort came as he left the courtroom, lamenting the trial’s interference with his campaign and insisting on the case’s political motivation, despite a gag order limiting his responses to the ongoing testimony.

The gravity of Cohen’s allegations and his insider perspective may be pivotal as the defense prepares to undermine his credibility. Trump has vehemently denied the accusations, including any se-ual encounters with the women involved, setting the stage for a contentious cross-examination.

This courtroom drama not only revisits the intricate web of Trump’s previous crises but also emphasizes the personal betrayal felt by both men. Once bound by mutual benefit and loyalty, their paths have diverged irreparably, with Cohen now using his intimate knowledge of Trump's operations against him, an act he justifies as a pursuit of truth, overshadowing their previous camaraderie.