Saturday, December 1, 2018

Another analysis of the Cohen plea agreement effect

New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.

Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.


A draft special counsel document revealed Tuesday also indicates that prosecutors are closely scrutinizing Trump’s interactions with a longtime adviser, Roger Stone, as Stone was allegedly seeking information about WikiLeaks’ plans to release hacked Democratic emails.


Trump, identified as “Individual 1” in Cohen’s guilty plea, was said to have received direct updates from Cohen as he pursued a Moscow Trump Tower project with the Kremlin up until June 14, 2016. The president also appears in the draft charging document for Trump ally Jerome Corsi, who allegedly told Stone about WikiLeaks’ plans to release damaging Democratic emails in October of that year because he knew Stone was in “regular contact” with Trump. The Washington Post reported this week that Trump spoke with Stone the day after he got the alert from Corsi.


Trump has given slightly differing accounts of his Moscow business ties over time. In July 2016, he tweeted: “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” A day later he claimed, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”

In January 2017, he told a reporter: “I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away.”


“The president, as far as he knows, he remembers there was such a proposal for a hotel,” Giuliani said. “He talked it over with Cohen as Cohen said. There was a nonbinding letter of intent that was sent. As far as he knows it never came to fruition. That was kind of the end of it.”

Very convincing, Rudy.
[Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer said,] “I think the unforgiving grinding force of the U.S. justice system, which he has tried to undermine since he became president, is encircling him. I don’t think we know where he will land. But he is certainly mired in something that he is ill-equipped, legally and personally, to handle.”
Which could spell grave danger for the world at large.

As has been noted by many people, the fact that the Kremlin knew Trump, Cohen and all of the Trump cabal were lying about not having any business dealings with Russia during the campaign and, indeed, after Trump was in office, gave them leverage over Trump, as they could have threatened to reveal the truth at any time. How is that not impeachable?
Trump privately stewed as he followed news coverage of Cohen’s plea early Thursday morning, a White House official said.

A Justice official called the White House Counsel’s Office on Wednesday evening to let personnel know that Cohen would be pleading guilty in a case the following day, according to one person with direct knowledge of the notice. They were not told the details, however, which they learned about shortly before Cohen’s plea Thursday morning.


In public, Trump was defiant, telling reporters that Cohen was a liar and a “weak person” who would do anything to save himself from fraud charges he faces related to his taxi business.


“He was convicted of various things unrelated to us,” Trump said. “He’s a weak person, and what he’s trying to do is get a reduced sentence. So he’s lying about a project that everybody knew about. I mean, we were very open with it.”
Quite the contrary.
Trump often grows aggrieved seeing Cohen on TV, aides say. Among White House advisers, ­Cohen is seen as an existential threat — as much or more so than the Mueller investigation itself because of his longtime role as Trump’s fixer. Trump’s legal team did not learn until Thursday that Cohen had sat for dozens of hours of interviews with Mueller’s office, according to a senior administration official.

Trump was infuriated earlier this year when Cohen released tapes of him, and asked his lawyers and advisers if anything could be done to stop him from releasing any more.


The prosecutors’ filings show they have corroborated and buttressed Cohen’s account with contemporaneous emails, and people familiar with the probe say they have also obtained corroborating testimony from other witnesses.


According to a person familiar with the investigation, Cohen and the Trump Organization could not produce some of the key records upon which Mueller relies. Other witnesses provided copies of those communications.
Hmmmm...were Cohen and the Trump Organization destroying records by any chance?
During the midterm campaign, the president occasionally told advisers that people had forgotten about the Mueller probe and remarked positively that it was no longer dominating TV headlines.
Welcome back.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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