Cohen lawyer: Trump press conference with Putin was a 'turning point' in decision to flip

Michael Cohen's attorney on Wednesday said President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE's widely criticized Helsinki press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "turning point" in his decision to flip.

"I can tell you that Helsinki was a significant turning point as [Cohen] worried about the future of our country," Lanny Davis said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Davis said Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, was alarmed as he watched "the president of the United States aligning" with Putin, whom the U.S. intelligence community had concluded "interfered and tried to help get Trump elected."


He added that Trump "is the only one left" denying the election interference, and "that shook up Mr. Cohen."

"Earlier events shook him up," Davis said. "From taking a bullet for Donald Trump in the statement that he made to seriously worrying about his unsuitability as president after he became president. It was an evolutionary process, a painful process." 

Trump during the press conference with Putin downplayed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, even stating he did not know why Moscow "would" have meddled. He later walked back the comments under intense bipartisan pressure, but he has continued to cast doubt on Russia's election interference.

Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations. In his testimony, he said he committed the campaign finance violations “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” without naming the candidate.

Davis, a former columnist for The Hill, made the rounds on the Wednesday morning news shows, emphasizing Cohen's willingness to share what he knows with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE.

"My observation is that Michael Cohen knows information that would be of interest to the special counsel, in my opinion, regarding both knowledge about a conspiracy to corrupt American democracy by the Russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the FBI," Davis said on MSNBC.

Davis on Wednesday also said Trump committed a crime when he directed Cohen to offer payment to women alleging affairs with Trump more than a decade ago in an effort to keep them quiet in the months before the 2016 presidential election.

"There is no dispute that Donald Trump committed a crime," Davis said.