Surely, someone right this moment is compiling the ongoing drama of all-that-is-Trump into a future documentary with an unknown conclusion. It will have the rising tension of a comic book, a cast of literates, degenerates, traitors, patriots, and a stream of crises and resolutions. Its protagonist will have the overarching hubris of a good drama but none of the merits of a fallen hero. Bit players will be legion. And the villains – some will be memorable and others forgettable. The drawn-out chronology of this pending documentary would best fit into a series of chapbooks, perhaps with a Cliff Notes download for the impatient.
Ten days in April 2018 will appear in this docudrama. They will not mark a crescendo of events or the denouement of the saga. April 9 through 19, 2018 will act as bookmarks. Within that frame, the FBI struck at the personal attorney of Donald Trump with a search warrant, seizing materials from the home, office and hotel room of Michael Cohen. Ten days later, Trump added Rudy Giuliani to his legal team. His arrival signified a shift. Cohen was deposed as Donald Trump’s fixer and Giuliani appointed in his stead.
One loyal lawyer swapped for another.
Giuliani is more erudite than the foul-mouthed, barking Cohen. He has that Mayor of America standing. But what he lacks is significant in the mind of Trump. There is his dumpy-as-potatoes, wrinkled and doddery appearance. There is no exquisite suit or perfect necktie. His entertainment value is nil. Perhaps because of these shallow faults, he is Trump’s second choice. Perhaps this acknowledged fact motivates Giuliani to a frenetic media schedule and accounts for his unhinged legal claims.
These particulars make for juicy character development. But back to reality.
In those ten days, headlines stormed across the networks and newsprint. These included everything from the grim news in Syria to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Trump welcomed Prime Minister Abe of Japan, threatened NAFTA and TPP, cajoled and then pounced on China over trade, blamed Democrats for poor relations with Russia, threatened Russia, railed against Gov. Jerry Brown, noted the passing of Barbara Bush and trashed James Comey – often.
In those ten days, the noose tightened around Cohen and the threat drew closer to Trump.
Below is a capsule of what was churning on the Beltway just as Cohen was searched and Giuliani took over as Trump’s new fixer.
April 9: The FBI execute a search warrant on the premises of Michael Cohen, searching three locations and seizing thousands of materials including electronic devices, thumb drives, phones, documents and shredded papers.
Michael Cohen files a motion to have the defamation claim made by Stormy Daniels dismissed.
April 10: News breaks that Stormy Daniels is cooperating with federal prosecutors in connection with the Cohen investigation.
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
and a few minutes later:
Attorney–client privilege is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
April 11: The FBI search warrant was specifically seeking information on the Access Hollywood tape as well as wire fraud and bank fraud.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announces he will effectively retire at the end of his current term.
April 12: Trump tweets that he has full confidence in his attorney Ty Cobb, who represents him in the Mueller investigation. Two weeks later, the White House announces that Cobb will resign at the end of May.
April 13: News breaks that Michael Cohen arranged a $1.6 million hush contract between Elliott Broidy, a national deputy chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and a former Playboy model. Broidy resigns the same day.
Trump hires a New York lawyer, Joanna Herndon, to represent him in the Michael Cohen case.
Trump lawyers retreat from negotiations to meet with Mueller reversing their previous openness.
Trump pardons Scooter Libby, convicted in 2007 for obstruction of justice and perjury.
Trump orders military strikes on Damascus following chemical attacks by Assad on his citizens. The U.S. is joined in the assault by the UK and France.
A Chinese delegation meets with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to advance relations between the two countries and work toward stability on the Korean peninsula.
April 14: Records from the Justice Department reveal that Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months in matters related to his personal businesses.
April 15: Trump tweets:
Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past. I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
April 16: Cohen makes his first court appearance before Judge Kimba Wood. Trump is represented by a pair of lawyers. Michael Avenatti, representing Stormy Daniels (also present), is in the courtroom.
The most significant news is that the motion by the Cohen and Trump lawyers to get a look at the seized material before the prosecutors is denied.
The most sensational news is revealed by Cohen attorney Stephen Ryan who identifies FOX News anchor Sean Hannity as the anonymous third client of Cohen. Hannity denies the relationship.
April 17: Stormy Daniels unveils an artist sketch of the man who threatened her in a Vegas parking garage. Trump tweets that the sketch is “about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
April 19: Cohen drops lawsuits against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS. Both cases relate to the numerous instances of Michael Cohen appearing in the Christopher Steele intel dossier.
Rudy Giuliani comes on board as Trump’s attorney. There is no fanfare, not even a tweet welcoming him. Almost immediately, he begins a nonstop media campaign. Two weeks later, Emmett Flood arrives. Flood, says White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will “represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt.”