When President Trump was ready to go out for the annual G20 meeting in Argentina, he fled to his former…
When President Trump was ready to go out for the annual G20 meeting in Argentina, he fled to his former lawyer and the long-term Trump Organization’s executive Michael Cohen called him a liar and characterized him as weak to cooperate with the government. He made a point to compliment “others” to refuse to do that – an obvious reference to his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and their long-time pal Roger Stone – which was an extraordinary comment from the man formally responsible by the Ministry of Justice.
As Salon Amanda Marcotte presented in this summary of the week’s events, Trump was unaware of the surprisingly guilty Cohen had entered Thursday where he admitted that he lied about his contacts with Russia on Trump’s behalf during the presidential campaign. Trump, after all, stood for a long-standing reunion with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Buenos Aires and the latest news had to make it a bit unpleasant.
Trump canceled the planned meeting with the Russian president and quoted ongoing confrontation with Ukraine. Nobody thinks that was the reason. Trump was also uncharacteristic and subdued at the summit, although he and Putin managed to squeeze in some face time after all. (Nobody knows what they were talking about as usual, but it’s not hard to guess.) He signed the new NAFTA deal and had a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping that he talks with resulted in the biggest trade deal in history but what experts saying is really only an agreement to continue talking, in addition to a promise to control the export of fentanyl. Like the North Korean “deal” it is very talkative and flattering that Trump will feel like a true president.
It was obvious that Trump’s heart was not in it. He was still obsessed with Cohen’s salary on Saturday morning:
He ceased to cancel his planned press conference, for which he should be grateful. They never end well for him. It would almost certainly have presented many questions about the current state of the investigation, including the very interesting memorandum filed by Michael Cohn’s lawyers on Friday night awaiting Cohen’s judgment this week. What may be the first of its kind throughout Russia’s scandal seems to have been done by competent defense lawyers.
First of all, why Cohen did not seek a cooperation agreement of the kind like other trains like Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and the broken Manafort store. It turns out that he has been talking to Mueller’s office before he pledged himself in the hush money case and has done it regularly since then. Not only that, but he continues to collaborate with the US lawyer in the Southern District of New York and the New York State Attorney General in an investigation of the Trump Foundation and something to do with the New York tax authorities. Cohen has been busy.
He did not ask for a formal cooperation agreement because his lawyers apparently convinced him that the smarter thing was to cooperate willingly and preventively to begin his opinion as soon as possible. The memorandum proposes that prosecutors have been convinced that he will continue to cooperate and that he plans to do so. If it is true or not, now that he is obliged to lie, most observers feel that he is “locked up” on the Russian conspiracy side of the Mueller survey. What Cohen lied about is very, despite the fact that Trump’s characterization of it was “easy to look at a building in Russia” while he spoke the Russian president on the campaign track and the Russian government sabotaged his opponent on his behalf.
Cohen’s guilty regrets for listening to the Congress have also opened a large can of worms for a large number of people who came before the congressional committee. Cohen acknowledges that he “remained in close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal advisor to Client-1 [Donald Trump]” in advance to give evidence that he now admits was false. There is much evidence that others did the same thing. In fact, the republican chairman of the Senate’s designated intelligence committee, Richard Burr in North Carolina, said the committee has referred “much” to them to the justice department to do so. It is an open question of whether the witnesses have been assigned to the President’s staff and legal advisors before they testified.
But you can not only blame White House staff if many lied to the committees, especially in the House of Intelligence Committee, whose outgoing GOP majority acted as agent for the president and helped the engineer to cover up the coverage. As Salon Sophia Tesfaye pointed out this weekend, the unethical behavior of Gets leadership, epitomized by House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes in California, pointed out quite a lot to all who testified that they could lie with impunity. In fact, the party’s “report” Nunes “committee issued the exemption from the president also excluded the witnesses, since no one was referred to the justice department.
That does not mean they are ready. The incoming democratic posts of both the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary The Committee – Adam Schiff in California and Jerry Nadler in New York – made it clear on Sunday morning shows that they are planning to release all testimony to the special council’s office that the Republicans have refused to do. In fact, Nunes and his citizen Trump-hantlangare are willing arranging the White House on behalf of the president may have created a sense of false security for prominent witnesses like Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Eric Prince, who could soon be in the kind of hot water Cohen got himself out of.
Both presidents had unpleasant words for Trump and his circle. Nadler pointed out that Trumps Mos The Trump Tower Agreement gave the Kremlin “leverage” over the president and wondered if Putin still used it. Schiff said Trump and his business were obviously “compromised”. Of course, many more questions remain.
Remember that a big partner in the Trump Tower store that everyone has lied about was a shadowy character called Felix Sater, who has been wondering about Trump’s career for decades. Then Sater told Michael Cohen when they put together the store:
I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald Power. I know how to play it and we will make it done. Buddy, our boy can become president of the United States and we can design it. I will get all Putin’s team to buy this.
Maybe it was just “sale”, as Michael Cohen originally claimed. But nobody has carefully explained the thinking that links a Trump Tower store in Moscow to get Trump’s chosen president. I would guess that Schiff and Nadler will call Felix Sater in to fill in the blanks.
Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby”, is a contributing author of Salon. She won the winner of the Hillman Prize 2014 for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.
Heather Digby Parton