For years, a joke among Trump Tower employees was that the boss was like Manhattan’s First Avenue, where the traffic goes only one way.
That one-sidedness has always been at the heart of President Trump’s relationship with his longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, who has said he would “take a bullet” for Mr. Trump. For years Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired, according to interviews with a half-dozen people familiar with their relationship.
.. “Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” said Roger J. Stone Jr.
.. Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers have become resigned to the strong possibility that Mr. Cohen, who has a wife and two children and faces the prospect of devastating legal fees, if not criminal charges, could end up cooperating with federal officials
.. The trove included documents dating back decades
.. since the raid Mr. Cohen has told associates he feels isolated.
.. Mr. Trump has long felt he had leverage over Mr. Cohen, but people who have worked for the president said the raid has changed all that.
.. “Ironically, Michael now holds the leverage over Trump,” said Sam Nunberg
.. Mr. Nunberg said that Mr. Cohen “should maximize” that leverage.
.. “The softer side of the president genuinely has an affection for Michael,” Mr. Nunberg said. For instance, Mr. Trump attended the bar and bat mitzvahs of Mr. Cohen’s children. “However, the president has also taken Michael for granted.” Mr. Nunberg added that “whenever anyone complains to me about Trump screwing them over, my reflexive response is that person has nothing to complain about compared to Michael.”
..Mr. Stone recalled Mr. Trump saying of Mr. Cohen, “He owns some of the finest Trump real estate in the country — paid top dollar for it, too.” In Mr. Trump’s worldview, there are few insults more devastating than saying someone overpaid.
.. whom he has admired since high school.
.. He has told interviewers that he has never heard Mr. Trump utter an inaccuracy or break a promise.
.. “He clearly doesn’t think that Michael Cohen is his Roy Cohn,” said Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, referring to Mr. Trump’s former mentor and the president’s ideal for a pit bull-like defender. “I think his abusive behavior to Michael is animated by his feeling that Michael is inadequate.”
.. Prosecutors have argued that Mr. Cohen did little actual legal work for Mr. Trump
.. When Mr. Trump ran for president in 2016, Mr. Cohen was given no official role on the campaign.
.. Particularly hurtful to Mr. Cohen was the way Mr. Trump lavished approval on Mr. Lewandowski in a way he never did for Mr. Cohen. When Mr. Cohen told Mr. Trump that he believed that Mr. Lewandowski had been behind a negative story about Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump dismissed the comments as simple jealousy, and didn’t pay attention, according to two people familiar with the incident.