Trump is insistent to the point of OCD obsession on claiming that neither he nor his campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Even in the flurry of news yesterday about his cohorts Manafort and Cohen ending up clapped in irons, he still insisted that there was no collusion.
Addressing reporters ahead of a campaign rally in West Virginia, Trump sought to distance himself from the Manafort case and ignored the perilous Cohen guilty pleas altogether.
“I must tell you that Paul Manafort’s a good man,” Trump said. “Doesn’t involve me, but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened. This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. . . . This is a witch hunt that ends in disgrace.”
Well, yeah, no one ever really claimed that Paul Manafort was in on the Russia collusion and he wasn’t on trial for it, but by bringing it up he’s showing that he’s thinking that somehow, somewhere there is a connection.
The Mueller investigation may not be able to prove in a court of law that these outcomes had anything to do with Russia interfering with the election to insure the election of Trump in 2016. But with what’s being revealed by Michael Cohen, they may not have to. There’s enough dirt floating to the top of the bowl to nail Trump and his minions on other charges.
In a guilty plea entered in a Manhattan federal courthouse, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen implicated Trump directly in some of his acts, saying he arranged to pay off two women to keep their stories of alleged affairs with Trump from becoming public before Election Day — in coordination with the then-candidate.
And this is just the chocolate sprinkles on top:
Cohen’s admission that he violated campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women at Trump’s behest came in the form of a standard plea deal rather than a cooperation agreement requiring that he aid other investigations.
That raised the question of whether Cohen would cooperate, and, more centrally, what his cooperation would be worth.
One possible answer came into view the very same day, as Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, suggested on television — and in an interview with The Washington Post late Tuesday — that Cohen had knowledge “of interest” to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and that his client was “more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows.”
Davis told The Washington Post that Cohen’s knowledge reached beyond “the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude” and included also the question of Trump’s participation in a “criminal conspiracy” to hack into the emails of Democratic officials during the 2016 election.
On “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Davis, who is a veteran of the Clinton White House, said his client had “knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on.”
As any computer-savy kid will tell you, you don’t need the Russians to hack into an e-mail server.
It also sounds like Michael Cohen, desperate to not become the Sweetheart of Cellblock C, is willing to hang Trump and anyone else he touched out there on a whole variety of charges that have nothing to do with Russia and the election.