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Discussion in 'Political Discourse' started by CdnGuy, Dec 15, 2015.
Trump: “But witness tampering including directing my attorney to lie to congress isn’t a crime because there is no collusion.” Lol asshole.
Predicting President Trump’s imminent demise has made fools of people since the moment he launched his presidential campaign. But the latest blockbuster story about the Russia investigation is different.
If Robert S. Mueller III has the evidence he reportedly has — that Trump asked Michael Cohen to lie to Congress for him — it could present something that’s been missing thus far from the public domain: An event so cut-and-dried that even Republicans would be hard-pressed not to consider impeachment.
BuzzFeed News broke the story Thursday night about the alleged Trump request. The lie Cohen told is the one he has pleaded guilty to: about when efforts to secure a Trump Tower Moscow concluded. BuzzFeed reports that not only did Cohen tell Mueller’s team that Trump told him to lie, but that Mueller had evidence of this even before confronting Cohen.
There are important caveats here — and the story is of such significance that we need to emphasize those caveats up high. The first is that it is based upon two anonymous “federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” The second is that Cohen’s team isn’t confirming it, despite his having flipped on Trump long ago. We also don’t know exactly what evidence Mueller has. The solidity of that evidence matters greatly in what would otherwise be a he-said, he-said situation.
But judging by the report, it sounds like Mueller just might have the goods.
Sunday will mark the second anniversary of Donald Trump’s Presidency. The U.S. government has been partially shut down for weeks, with no end in sight. The White House is on its third chief of staff, nearly a half-dozen Cabinet seats are empty, and the First Daughter Ivanka, previously known for her fashionable yet affordable line of high heels, appears to be in charge of picking the new head of the World Bank.
Since the Defense Secretary quit, in protest over Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, the President has been reported to be unilaterally considering pulling out of Afghanistan and the nato alliance, as well. Congressional Democrats, days into their new House majority, are talking about impeachment, and their leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, effectively disinvited Trump from giving the annual State of the Union address, citing the shutdown. This past Friday, we learned, via the Times, that the F.B.I. opened a counterintelligence investigation of Trump to determine whether he was a Russian intelligence asset.
On Monday, which marked a year and three hundred and fifty-nine days since his Inauguration, President Trump had his “I am not a crook” moment. All weekend, he had avoided giving even a simple denial of what, for any other American President, would have been an unimaginable revelation.
Now, on the snow-covered White House drive, after discoursing on the fast-food hamburgers he planned to serve the Clemson University football team that night, Trump told reporters, “I never worked for Russia.” He added, “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax.”
Regardless of whether Trump ends up making his speech on Capitol Hill, which is scheduled for January 29th, the state of the union is not strong, and everyone knows it. ...
The story’s importance is threefold:
First, the criminality alleged in this story is—if true—unsubtle and unambiguous, directly related to the president’s conduct as president, and concerning matters of great import. ...
Second, the story also suggests much deeper involvement by Trump and his family in the Trump Tower Moscow deal than was previously public. The criminal information against Cohen and the sentencing memo Mueller filed in Cohen’s case described the extent to which candidate Trump—who claimed on the campaign trail that he had “ZERO investments in Russia”—was personally involved in what prosecutors describe as the “Moscow Project.” ...
Finally, third, the leak itself is independently a big deal. In contrast to the vast majority of stories about L’Affaire Russe, it is clearly sourced to “law enforcement” officials investigating the matter. Indeed, the very first sentence of the story attributes the story “to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” The body of the story contains repeated references to “the two sources,” “the two law enforcement sources,” “the sources,” and “law enforcement sources familiar with [Cohen’s] testimony,” apparently all referring to the same people. It is thus going to give rise to allegations about Mueller leaking, opening up a new front in the confrontation between the special counsel and the president. ...
Finally, it will be interesting to see how congressional Republicans react to this story. It is one thing to dismiss or ignore allegations about hush-money payments to women to cover up affairs in violation of campaign finance laws. It’s quite another thing to refuse to engage allegations of directing an attorney to lie to Congress to cover up precisely the sort of interactions with Russia the president has long been denying and on the strength of which denials many Republicans have predicated their continued support for Trump. If the story turns out to be true, will those Republicans now focus on the leaks? Or will they finally turn in a serious way to the merits of the president’s conduct?
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California postponed an official trip to Europe and Afghanistan due to security concerns on Friday after President Trump grounded her military flight and divulged the itinerary, and her aides said the administration leaked plans for her and the lawmakers accompanying her to fly commercially.
“In light of the grave threats caused by the president’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” Drew Hammill, Ms. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff and communications director, said in a statement.
Mr. Hammill said that the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service had raised its threat assessment for the trip overnight after Mr. Trump announced in a letter to Ms. Pelosi on Thursday that he was revoking her use of a military aircraft to make the journey, which she was to have begun that afternoon. The update indicated “that the president announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip,” he said in the statement.
It was the latest turn in a bitter tit-for-tat between Ms. Pelosi, who requested on Wednesday that Mr. Trump postpone his State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 29 in light of the continuing partial government shutdown, which she said raised security concerns given that federal employees charged with protecting the attendees were not being paid. The president struck back the next day, saying that with government workers not receiving their paychecks, he was asking her to delay what he branded a “public relations event.”