U.S.

Who Is Roy Cohn? President Asks for His Former Mentor and Fixer to Handle Russia Probe

01_05_Trump_01
"Where's my Roy Cohn?" Trump wondered after Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Cohn, who died in 1986, was known as Trump's fixer and close friend. GETTY

In a moment of desperation, President Donald Trump called on his top fixer to come to his aid as Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the move to recuse himself from the Russia investigation—the only catch, his right-hand man was dead.

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” the president demanded in March, calling on his former personal lawyer who once served as Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s chief counsel into the 1950s-era communist investigations, according to The New York Times.

Cohn has been dead since 1986, but that didn’t stop the president from invoking his name. Trump called on Cohn after a top White House lawyer could not keep Sessions from removing himself from the investigation into whether Russian officials worked with members of his campaign to interfere in the 2016 election. Trump expected Sessions to stand by and protect him, just as he perceived attorney generals had done with previous presidents. The president thought wrong, and was reportedly visibly angry in front of White House staff, according to the Times.

Cohn could do little from the grave to help Trump. During his time, Cohn was recognized as the ruthless lawyer who stood side by side with Senator McCarthy in the investigation of alleged communists during the Red Scare. 

01_05_RoyCohn_01 Attorney Roy Cohn pictured with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the investigation into communism in the U.S. GETTY

Trump once described Cohn as brutal and vicious in his protection of the president.

“If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent, you get Roy,” Trump told Newsweek in 1979.

There was a time when the two spoke 15 to 20 times a day, according to Vanity Fair. Cohn served as Trump’s close mentor, helping him climb political social circles in New York to become the businessman and politician the world knows him as today.

The two were so close that Trump once testified in Cohn’s disbarment hearing in the 1980s as a character witness. After a four-year legal battle, he was later disbarred from the New York bar for "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation,” according to The Washington Post.

In his disbarment hearings, a panel found that Cohn went to visit multimillionaire Lewis Rosenstiel as he lay in a Florida hospital room “drugged” and “semi-comatose” and held his hand to sign a document that made Cohn the co-executor of his will, according to the Post.   

Cohn’s attorney’s tried to stop the disbarment proceedings, claiming that Cohn was suffering from a “life-threatening disease.”

Trump eventually dropped Cohn after discovering that his friend had AIDS, according to Politico. He began ending his business relationship with Cohn in 1985, shocking his once-close friend.

Cohn reportedly responded to the revelation by commenting that, “Donald pisses ice water.”

Editor's Pick