Friday, January 11, 2019

Russiagate: Cohen Goes to Congress

Cohen, ex-Trump lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress. Cool, a convicted perjurer is supposed is going to tell the truth this time, for realz? 
In a statement released on Thursday, Cohen said he had accepted the invitation “in furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers.”

Cohen added: “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”

Trump has denied wrongdoing and sought to minimize Cohen’s statements by painting him as a liar. Asked by reporters in Texas on Thursday about Cohen’s appearance, Trump said he’s “not worried about it at all.”
AllahPundit: Sounds like just the trick to improve the poisonous relationship between Trump and Pelosi.
 Right now you’re thinking, “How can Democrats possibly trust the testimony of a man who’s headed off soon to federal prison for lying under oath to Congress?” Good question. They’ll find a way!

Especially if he gives the “right” answer to their inevitable first question: “Mr. Cohen, you’ve been convicted for lying to this body about your efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Did the president encourage you to tell that lie, knowing you’d be under oath?” And of course their second question: “Do you happen to have any audio recordings of him doing so?”
 CNN warns As Robert Mueller writes his report, a potential battle brews over obstruction of justice
As special counsel Robert Mueller wraps up his Russia probe, investigators have focused on conflicting public statements by President Donald Trump and his team that could be seen as an effort to influence witnesses and obstruct justice, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The line of questioning adds to indications that Mueller views false or misleading statements to the press or to the public as obstruction of justice. That could set up a potential flashpoint with the White House and the Trump legal team should that become part of any final report from the Mueller investigation.

Mueller hasn't addressed the issue publicly, but prosecutors have dropped hints that they view public statements as possibly key in influencing witnesses.

Court filings from the plea of Michael Cohen, the President's former personal lawyer, included allegations related to false public statements -- not usually considered illegal since they aren't made directly to investigators. A December sentencing memo filed by Mueller's office notes that Cohen's lies were amplified in public statements, "including to other potential witnesses." The memo said this was done partly "in the hopes of limiting the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election -- an issue of heightened national interest."

The President's legal team took notice of the Cohen plea documents and believe the special counsel is pursuing a thin legal theory when it comes to potentially criminalizing public statements, a source briefed on the matter said. They believe the President's comments are protected under the First Amendment and that there's a difference between a plea deal and the President's position, which is to fight the allegations.
You mean like when Preznit Obama publicly said that there was no problem with Hillary's email because of lack of intent? Exclusive: Robert Mueller met with Trump's pollster
Special counsel Robert Mueller sought information directly last year from one of Donald Trump's campaign pollsters who is also a former business associate of Paul Manafort's.

Mueller's team met with pollster Tony Fabrizio in February 2018, an interview that has not been previously reported and takes on new significance after Manafort's attorneys revealed Tuesday that Mueller's team is still interested in how Manafort shared polling data with his Russian intelligence-linked colleague.

CNN journalists observed Fabrizio leaving the special counsel's office on the first of February last year and have since confirmed he was meeting with Mueller's team. At the time, the special counsel had been digging into Manafort's finances and political work ahead of his trial.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Trump: “I Didn’t Know Anything” About Manafort-Kilimnik Polling Contacts There he goes, obstructing justice again!  Confessions of a Russiagate agnostic by Philip Klein, WaEx.
What’s made me particularly wary is that there has been a steady stream of stories that have been promoted as being “bombshells,” that either end up being corrected, and/or turn out upon further analysis and with the benefit of context, to be less dispositive than initially advertised.

A perfect example is the recent revelation in the New York Times that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort “shared political polling data with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence.”

When the news first broke, cries of “Wow!”; “OMG”; and “BOOM!” erupted on Twitter. CNN’s Chris Cillizza, a useful barometer of conventional wisdom, recounted the Times story and concluded, “ That. Is. Huge.”

But was it? Not so fast, said none other than Benjamin Wittes, a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey who called for Trump’s impeachment way back in 2017. Writing on his Lawfare blog, Wittes cautioned that the sharing of polling data could have just as easily been explained as being part of Manafort’s shady business dealings that involved peddling his ties to Trump rather than clear evidence of collusion.

“This is not to splash cold water on the story, which is certainly tantalizing,” Wittes wrote. “It is to say that Manafort's lawyers' general characterization of Mueller's allegations about Manafort's conduct in the context of a dispute over whether Manafort violated his plea agreement or not offers a highly imperfect window into Mueller's understanding of that evidence and how it fits into the larger picture of interactions between the Trump campaign and the Russian state.”
Mueller is Kafka trapping Trump. Raising The Barr: AG Nominee To Meet With Dems, Pledge Support For Mueller. Why bother, he'll get zero votes from Democrats. WaPoo: Barr meets with Democrats, who are still unconvinced that he will be hands-off about Mueller probe

The Steele Dossier: Two Years On by Julie Kelly at American Greatness. Still unverified. Still Scurrilous. Carter Page the notorious Russian spy, is still free. And the perpetrators are still at it.

1 comment:

  1. First question from the first republican you pled guilty to lying to congress. You are a convicted perjurer why should you tell the truth NOW. End of questions.