Arriving in separate helicopters, two consiglieres shake hands and enter a van that rushes through dark streets and delivers them to the rear of the White House. Four secret service agents escort them inside and up to the private quarters of President Donald Trump.
“We gonna have any privacy here?” asks former Trump lawyer and handyman Michael Cohen.
“Don’t worry. My family’s asleep. Come on in the living room.”
Trump nods as two agents each search Cohen and Paul Manafort for listening devices.
“I trust you guys and am sorry as hell you were both convicted of eight felonies today,” Trump says. “Let’s have a seat.”
Neither guest moves, and the three men stand and wait for the next shot.
“I’ll die in prison unless something happens,” says Manafort.
“You should’ve told me you didn’t pay your taxes.”
“Did you pay yours?” Manafort asks.
“I’m not the one on trial.”
“Only because you’re president,” says Cohen.
Paul Manafort, seemingly calm as he daily walked to court and smiled for TV, looks haggard and ready to cry. “They’ll really nail my ass at the next trial. They can prove Russian oligarchs paid me sixty million for unregistered lobbying. All those guys are buddies of Putin.”
“You never told me any of that.”
“I sure as hell did,” Manafort says.
Trump says, “Relax, Paul.”
“I’ve been saving the next trial as my bargaining chip. If I talk to the feds, they may conclude you broke laws and colluded with the Russians.”
“I never colluded with them.”
Manafort draws a sharp hand across his throat.
“Paul, even though you advised my campaign only a short while, and even though your past and future trials deal with crimes you committed long before I ran for president, you know I’ll take care of you.”
“What’s that mean?”
“I’ll pardon you.”
“Put that in writing,” Manafort says.
“Paul, you’ve got to handle stress. Just a little longer. Wait until they convict you at the next trial, then I’ll pardon you.”
Michael Cohen, looking balefully at the president, says, “What about me, Donald?”
“You? The guy who taped our conversations.”
“I’m the guy who knows you broke campaign finance laws I was just convicted for. The guy who paid for your screwing Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The guy who’s going to tell the southern district of New York, and the feds, everything I know about you. I do that and the five years I’m looking at will be reduced to a few months.”
Trump smiles in grimacing fashion. “That’s not long at all, kiddo. I’ll always have a great job for you.”
“After all the shit I did for you, you’d let them put me away?”
“Of course not.”
“What are you gonna do?” Cohen asks.
“I’m gonna pardon you, too.”
“If you don’t, it’ll be your ass, for a change.”
“Thanks for stopping by, guys,” Trump says and walks from the room.