Michael Cohen Defies Congressional Subpoena: I’ve Never Been to Russia
Classic Trumpkin move: deny something that doesn’t necessarily deny the underlying charge. He also said he’d never been to Prague after the Steele Dossier came out.
At the time, Louise Mensch said this:
“Inanely, CNN claimed that they had it “confirmed” that Michael Cohen was not in Prague, Czech Republic, when the dossier said he was.”
“They based this on the fact that, as they claimed, “a different Michael Cohen” had been in Prague around that time, according to a passport stamp. This has nothing to do with the matter one way or the other, and a little thought by CNN would have borne that out. The dossier alleged that Cohen went to Prague and another EU country; that was rated as low confidence as to both location and to exact timing. August, at one point; late August or early September at another point. Furthermore, Steele did not, contrary to CNN’s implication, present location or timing as a fact. It was secondhand; he reported as fact that Kremlin insiders said this, and Steele rated the exact location and timing as low confidence.”
“More interesting was the substance of Steele’s allegations as to why – he reported sources said – Cohen was meeting Russians outside of the US. Firstly, it was to pay off hackers. The dossier made the claim that these were both the hackers who had attacked Clinton, and a company that ran a Twitter botnet (possibly also a Facebook one as I shall later report).”
The classic Trumpster move is to not deny the substance-which is usually true-but instead focus on a narrow, legalistic point.
I’ve never been to Prague.
Now it’s I’ve never been to Russia. Turns out it’s not true-Cohen, we know for a fact did visit Prague at least once-in 2002. Who knows if his claim to visiting Russia is literally true or not? Point is it’s not the real point.
Now Cohen has declined a Congressional request to speak before Congress.
As Josh Marshall says, this Congressional request-which Cohen can decline for now-until they subpoena him-is bad news for both himself and Donald Trump.
“This is a very bad sign for Donald Trump and Michael Cohen. In simple terms, whatever happened during the 2016 campaign, if I wanted to understand Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the countries of the former Soviet Union and money from those countries and emigres from those countries, there’s no single person I’d want to look at more closely than Michael Cohen.”
“This may all sound very odd since for those who got to know Cohen during the campaign he comes off as nothing more than Trump’s bully lawyer who makes legal threats and mouths off on TV. He is a much, much more significant player.”
“Cohen is referred to as Trump’s personal lawyer. Not likely. President Trump has other lawyers who sue people on his behalf, defend him in lawsuits and criminal matters. From everything I’ve been able to tell, Cohen fills a business role for Trump as well as being his public threatener. Cohen has multiple personal and business relationships with people from Russia, Ukraine and emigres from those countries. He is a major real estate player in his own right, as well as working on numerous deals within the Trump Organization. Just back in 2015 Cohen bought a $58 million apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side. $58 million. That’s a lot of money. He appears to have made his original money in the New York City taxi business and remains heavily involved in it. That is a rough and unlovely business. He also has or had businesses in Ukraine. There was also the casino boat business he launched with other Russian/Ukrainian emigres.”
“Here’s one look at Cohen’s background in the Trump world which I wrote on March 1. More recently Cohen was the conduit that Felix Sater and that Ukrainian parliamentarian chose for their peace plan to settle matters between Russia and Ukraine and end sanctions. Cohen was supposed to deliver the paper dossier to Michael Flynn. He said he did deliver it to Flynn. Then he denied delivering it to him. What stuff gets hand delivered these days in paper copies? This was shortly before Flynn was fired. Cohen was also reportedly in touch with the same Ukrainian parliamentarian discussing peace overtures and sanctions relief during the campaign, going back to the first half of 2016. Again, that’s very interesting and something that seems considerably more interesting today than it did a few months ago when we first learned about it.”
“How did Cohen first come to Donald Trump’s attention and join the Trump Organization just over a decade ago? That’s another interesting story. It was apparently his ability to serve as a conduit for money emigres from the former Soviet Union were using to buy apartment units at Trump branded luxury developments. That was I believe what brought Cohen into the Organization.”
“Cohen is a much bigger deal in this whole story than I think is broadly realized. I’m not surprised the investigative committees are interested in him. Federal investigators are too.”
Followup for Cohen should be: have you ever been to the Ukraine? That ‘peace plan’ back in February was a real winner. In truth it was a giveaway to Russia-they’d get to ‘lease’ Crimea for the next 50-100 years.
Talk about peace at any price.
And what an unholy genealogy for this ‘peace plan.’
1. From that Ukrainian parliamentarian Andrii V. Artemenko
2. To Russian mobster Felix Sater. The very fact of Trump’s long business ties to Sater could be criminal. Remember when Trump walked on that British reporter when he pressed Trump on his relationship with Sater?
3. To Michael Cohen who handed it off to:
4. Michael Flynn.
Speaking of Andrii V. Artemenko-remember what Clint Watts told Oregon Senator Ron Wyden: follow the money and the dead Russians?
Quite a set of hands for that ‘peace plan.’
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.