Contrary to media speculation that Robert Mueller is closing in on President Trump, the special prosecutor’s plea deal with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen offers further evidence that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russians during the 2016 election, according to congressional investigators and former prosecutors.
Cohen pleaded guilty last week to making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about the Trump Organization’s failed efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Discussions about the so-called Moscow Project continued five months longer in 2016 than Cohen had initially stated under oath.
The nine-page charging document filed with the plea deal suggests that the special counsel is using the Moscow tower talks to connect Trump to Russia. But congressional investigators with House and Senate committees leading inquiries on the Russia question told RealClearInvestigations that it looks like Mueller withheld from the court details that would exonerate the president. They made this assessment in light of the charging document, known as a statement of “criminal information” (filed in lieu of an indictment when a defendant agrees to plead guilty); a fuller accounting of Cohen’s emails and text messages that Capitol Hill sources have seen; and the still-secret transcripts of closed-door testimony provided by a business associate of Cohen.
On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel’s collusion case.
Page 2 of the same criminal information document holds additional exculpatory evidence for Trump, sources say. It quotes an August 2017 letter from Cohen to the Senate intelligence committee in which he states that Trump “was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me.” This section of Cohen’s written testimony, unlike other parts, is not disputed as false by Mueller, which sources say means prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources and found it to be accurate.
Also notable, Mueller did not challenge Cohen’s statement that he “ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”
“Though Cohen may have lied to Congress about the dates,” one Hill investigator said, “it’s clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign. There was no secret ‘back channel.’”
“So as far as collusion goes,” the source added, “the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign.”
Mueller’s office declined comment to RealClearInvestigations.
Cohen’s dealings with a go-between, New York real estate developer Felix Sater, bear some resemblance to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian figures – a meeting arranged by a British concert promoter. Both instances indicate that no one on the Trump side, including the candidate, enjoyed special access to the Russian government. Cohen’s emails and text messages indicate he failed to establish communications with the Russian leader’s spokesman, although he eventually was able to make contact with a desk secretary in the spokesman’s office.
In the end, neither Putin nor any Kremlin official was directly involved in the scuttled Moscow project, sources say. Moreover, neither Cohen nor Trump traveled to Moscow in support of the deal, as Sater had urged. No meetings with Russian government officials took place.
It was Sater, a Russian immigrant with a checkered past, representing the Bayrock Group and not the Trump Organization, who came up with the tower project idea in 2015. His pitch had more to do with branding than real estate: Trump would lend his name to the tower project and share in the profits, but not actually build it or go into debt for it.
Desperate indeed, though one wonders how Mueller thought he was going to exit the “investigation” and avoid the embarrassment of coming up empty handed; an end result he most assuredly was aware would be the outcome. Beyond any doubt, the purpose of the investigation is the investigation. An ongoing investigation (not to be confused with a “matter”) of anything to do with Trump is intended to stain Trump with the assumption of some level of guilt.
Liberals don’t want to hear any exculpatory facts; for two years they’ve hoped, wished, fantasized for the silver bullet (literal or metaphoric) to remove Trump from office and, by some miracle, install Hillary or (dare we dream?) Obama in the White House.
The actual texts of the plea deal and related materials filed last week in federal court do not jibe with reports and commentary given on several cable news outlets and comments of Democrat leaders.
So the Meuller team didnt tell a media outlet important background information seems I have read this some where, oh yes in General Flynns sentencing recommendations, something about blah blah blah something something propaganda.
. At the time, the defendant was a national security advisor and surrogate for the Trump campaign who opined publicly on foreign policy and national security issues. The defendant’s business relationship with the Republic of Turkey was thus exactly the type of information FARA was designed to ensure was within the public sphere. The purpose of FARA is to ensure the United States government and the United States people are informed of the identity of foreign entities—in this case a foreign government—behind information or propaganda being used to influence public opinion, policy, and laws
I just cant wait for the Mueller report it should be comedy gold.