Perhaps the bigger question is how did such a man as Trump win the American election, even he didn't think he would win? Michael certainly played a critical role and was witness to many events that made it possible.
From what I read, his story fits well with other information. It seems certain that the information is selective. He does explain his motives in a believable manner. As with many other authors with inside information there was an attempt to block publication, but Cohen is a lawyer.
Do not criticize Trump's hair or his wealth. He wants you to believe that women are attracted to him and he takes advantage of that.
His appeal to evangelicals is mystifying. It makes no sense they would support an adulterer and a man so transparently dishonest. Of course abortion was a big concern as was the gay culture and if truth be told civil rights. There is a hard core of believers who anticipate the Apocalypse and their ascension to heaven provided Israel is controlled by Jews. http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/12/evangelists-and-trump.html
Michael Cohen suggests a more sinister factor. Years before when Trump identified evangelicals as a critical factor and had a meeting with them it led to a friendship between Cohen and Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife. That friendship started innocently enough when Cohen learned their daughter was a Justin Bieber fan and he was able to procure VIP seats for a Bieber concert. A few years later they felt they could trust Cohen with a more delicate task, extricating them from an extortion attempt based on some semi nude photos. Cohen was able by intimidation to resolve this situation.
Michael claims to have done too many favors to recount in this book. One example was to force schools Trump had attended to not release his records. He recounts an ironic negotiation with Trump regarding the Stormy Davis extortion attempt. Trump wanted to deny the relationship, but the election was only a short time away and Cohen responded with "Just because something isn't true doesn't mean it can't hurt you." Fits well with Trump's philosophy who loved making false accusations.
Michael credits himself with encouraging a presidential campaign. Manipulating polls, suppressing information, doing favors were some of his roles. After Trump purchased the Doral Golf course he got involved with a dispute with a paint contractor and Benjamin Moore. Trump specified a low grade quality paint, but when it deteriorated demanded it be done over refusing to pay for it, getting Michael to negotiate.
He was also very involved with suppressing information about another of Trump's sex scandals. Not only to keep them out of public view, but also to help placate Melania.
Many factors helped Trump to win. The James Comey announcements just ahead of the election. Cohen credits the enormous amount of free press given to Trump. Usually the result of outrageous tweets and other statements. Trump was a master of using the press. He used his connections to plant false stories about his primary rivals with perhaps the most effective one accusing Ted Cruz's father of being involved with the Kennedy assassination. An incomplete summary of the enablers: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2017/07/trump-enablers.html
As I recall a cartoonist suggested that it wasn't Trump's character that
attracted favorable attention, but that he hated the same people that
they hated. He was pretty blatant stoking racist sentiments of large segments of Americans (deplorables if you will). Others liked his tax and deregulation ideas.
Russia did play a role, but Cohen thinks it was not a carefully thought out plan from Trump's perspective. Putin hated Hillary Clinton for her criticisms of the Russian 2011 election. Trump admired Putin for his autocratic ways that enabled him to be one of the very richest men in the world. Paul Manafort, fresh from dirty deeds on behalf of Russia, in Ukraine, undoubtedly made connections more feasible and we know Donald Trump Jr. eagerly hoped the Russians could give dirt on Hillary, but claims they didn't.
After all that, it seems another perspective on the Russian influence is worth reading: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/06/house-of-trump-house-of-putin.html
Interviewed by Chuck Todd, November 28th, 2021 Cohen characterized Trump as "Grifting off Americans." He also felt that Trump would delay announcing a presidential candidacy for 2024 to the last minute and then decline because he fears humiliation, but in the meantime sees an opportunity for grifting. He feels there is enough documentation to indict Trump right now.
Trump is still a celebrity, but underneath he is a con man with little respect for Americans. Many books and articles have chronicled his many mistakes and deceptions. Like many others I have been discouraged by how his many victims actually worship him. As a Canadian I see Trump as a blot on America and can only hope that enough Americans, especially those in authority do something so that America can move forward.
Just a reminder of some of the damage we will be a long time fixing: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/10/the-non-indictable-sins-of-trump.html