Cohen’s Cooperation Seems to Focus on Obstruction

Both sentencing memoranda for Michael Cohen are out: SDNY’s memo is fairly damning (for both Cohen and Trump), whereas Mueller’s is more moderate. Here’s the Manafort breach filing; the government also submitted a sealed version.  

I’m going to focus on the Mueller Cohen one here. It describes the substance of his cooperation in four paragraphs. The first two relate to outreach from Russia. 

The defendant’s assistance has been useful in four significant respects. First, the defendant provided information about his own contacts with Russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts. For example, and as described above, the defendant provided a detailed account of his involvement and the involvement of others in the Moscow Project, and also corrected the record concerning his outreach to the Russian government during the week of the United Nations General Assembly. The defendant also provided information about attempts by other Russian nationals to reach the campaign. For example, in or around November 2015, Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a “trusted person” in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.” The defendant recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 and the President of Russia. The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a business dimension as well,” referring to the Moscow Project, because there is “no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [the President of Russia].” Cohen, however, did not follow up on this invitation.3

Second, Cohen provided the SCO with useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with Company executives during the campaign. 

Those are pretty vague, but this footnote makes it clear that even before Russians started dialing up the candidate’s fixer, Trump had okayed Cohen’s efforts to reach out. 

The defendant, without prompting by the SCO, also corrected other false and misleading statements that he had made concerning his outreach to and contacts with Russian officials during the course of the campaign. For example, in a radio interview in September 2015, the defendant suggested that Individual 1 meet with the President of Russia in New York City during his visit for the United Nations General Assembly. When asked previously about these events, the defendant claimed his public comments had been spontaneous and had not been discussed within the campaign or the Company. During his proffer sessions, the defendant admitted that this account was false and that he had in fact conferred with Individual 1 about contacting the Russian government before reaching out to gauge Russia’s interest in such a meeting. The meeting ultimately did not take place.

That, plus the early focus on Trump Tower deals, makes it clear where Trump’s focus at that point was: real estate. 

The very short third and fourth paragraphs are even more oblique. 

Third, Cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017–2018 time period.

Fourth, Cohen described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries, while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements contained within it.

These seem to point to obstruction more than the conspiracy with Russia (contrary to what I’ve seen elsewhere). Indeed, the language in the fourth paragraph talking about how Cohen “described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries, while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements contained within it” seems to address a point I raised in this post: he could not have crafted that lie alone; it had to have been coordinated with Trump Org and Felix Sater, at a minimum. So while he admits that he’s responsible for his own lies, he appears to have explained how everyone made sure they were on the same page with those lies. 

And the reference to his communications with the White House in 2018 probably pertains, in significant part, to pardons.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

68 replies
  1. Alan says:

    The memo seems to hint that we’re going to see many more indictments for lying to Congress, conspiracy to lie to Congress, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

  2. Pat Neomi says:

    The SDNY memo is indeed scathing and outlines in no uncertain terms that they believe Cohen is withholding information regarding other past criminal behavior (and SCO memo outlines his having lied in the first proffer session). While they admit (as does the SCO in its memo) he has been forthright re information pertaining to the charged crimes and the SCO investigation, what other information could he be concealing? And how damning is that information that it would prevent him from seeking a cooperation agreement? All I can muster is it implicates his wife/family. Any thoughts?

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I don’t know about that. It says nothing more than that he was initially deceptive, not that he is now. In fact, these memos seem to be doing everything to disguise what Cohen is really doing now, both with SCO and SDNY as opposed to what was the initial case long ago. Which is exactly what you would expect if he is to be a continuing cooperator.

      Don’t bite off too easily on the crap pitched by cable and other media.  There is a longer game afoot, and we don’t really know what ground it is being played on. 

      • Trip says:

        Ooh, I like the way you’re thinking on this. I figured it was deets on his Russian NYC mob connections (separate from Trump).

      • cd54 says:

        Is there anything to preclude OSC from filing a sentencing memo in Cohen/SDNY at a later date — or even for a sentencing continuance (through SDNY USA?) — if they like what they subsequently get from Cohen?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Josh Marshall at TPM has pointed out that Cohen’s father is Fima Schusterman, a Ukrainian immigrant who appears to have been involved in the taxi medallion business in NYC and also lent at least $20,000,000 to a Chicago taxi family.   Schusterman was a conduit for Russian money coming into the Trump Org.
      Whatever cards Cohen showed have implications for Russian-related money laundering, as well as ‘family taxi biz’ of the what seems to be a Coen Bros version of the Sopranos. 

  3. BobCon says:

    Am I right that these don’t reveal much about what evidence was seized in the Cohen raids or what forms the evidence was in?

  4. I Felt Mark says:

    Seems fairly obvious that Cohen is protecting his boys in the NY Russian mob, so he threw Trump under the bus for leniency to keep his options open in the criminal underworld. Lord knows when he gets out of prison, he’ll be a convicted felon without offers to earn an honest living.

    • bmaz says:

      And your basis for this bold proclamation is what? There is absolutely nothing in today’s documents that make such a statement “fairly obvious”.  Jeebus.

      • I Felt Mark says:

        It’s not a bold prediction at all. Michael Cohen has known personal connections to the Russian mafia:

        More recently, Mr. Cohen and his father-in-law lent more than $25 million to a Ukrainian businessman who has a checkered financial record and a history of defaulting on loans. And Mr. Cohen long held a small stake in his uncle’s catering hall, which was frequented by Russian and Italian mobsters.

        Oh and hey, so does his lawyer, Lanny Davis:

        In registering with the Justice Department as Firtash’s foreign agent, Davis said his firm was being paid $80,000 a month — or about a million dollars a year — by a man described by prosecutors as an “upper-echelon” associate of Russian organized crime.

        From the SDNY sentencing memo:

        Cohen repeatedly declined to provide full information about the scope of any additional criminal conduct in which he may have engaged in or had knowledge.

        What additional information do you think SDNY, the nexus of mafia prosecution, was after with Cohen? So yeah, seems pretty obvious to me. 

      • oldoilfieldhand says:

        Please to remember that Cohen didn’t confess his criminal behavior in order to right wrongs from a burning sense of civic duty. He was indicted and charged, had his stash of insurance policies raided and confiscated by the feds and knew he was looking at years in the pokey before his “moment of clarity”.
        The organized crime mobs grew tired of sacrificing soldiers to placate lawyers who have to maintain a sense of civic responsibility. They decided to invest in  their own lawyers. We’ll see how well that investment paid off soon.

        • bmaz says:

          I’d suggest you are still deciding what happened and why based on your own views and emotion, not on what really occurs in criminal courts and prosecutions. Any decision to “cooperate” has many factors and reasons. Nobody decides to do so without being charged or made clear they are a target for being charged. Nobody just walks in and blabs, ever. And, yes, they ALL do it to protect themselves and/or family. So what? That is the nature of the system. Cohen has admitted that part, and has also stated he came to jesus and wants to start doing things the right way. Who are you to say that is not also a factor? It may well be such a factor, only Cohen really knows, but it is certainly possible. And, just to be clear, Cohen was NOT indicted first, he entered into a plea via direct information after being informed he was about to be indicted.

          • oldoilfieldhand says:

            Finished work for the day, thankfully,
            The fact that only the lawyers and judges know what really occurs in criminal courts and proceedings notwithstanding, thank you for splitting those hairs. The rich and powerful are notified of the court’s intent and permitted to appear with their lawyers, after enough time to confer and make decisions on what course is best to follow, avoiding the destructive publicity of being arrested and charged.
            Indeed it seems that accuracy above all else is the broadcast intent if not the outcome of application of the double standard law. Although, seemingly much is dependent upon the personal relationships and reputations of the coiffed, dressed and robed participants; also a closely held secret. Similar to military traditions:
            Do you know why the enlisted ranks and officers have separate showers?

            • bmaz says:

              Fair enough. I think you have been around long enough to know I am just saying what I know and think. But this is what I do generally. I give my thoughts, and time always tells. My batting average is pretty darn good, though certainly not perfect. That is all I got.

  5. Pat Neomi says:

    @bmaz- Thanks for the thoughts! It definitely seems prudent to keep in mind that prosecutors are moving forward quickly with everything Cohen related (suggesting candor), whereas with other lines of inquiry there is the diligence one would expect from the longer game you reference. Thankfully I have been blissfully unaware of the broader media’s frothing today, though :)

    (Side note- long time listener, first time caller. As such, couldn’t figure out how to put this reply under the bmaz comment to which it was a reply. Not sure if that requires further login etc. Anyway, SUPER appreciate the depth and breadth of writing here, both in proper posts and commentary).

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks, but don’t get me wrong. It is really hard to tell from these memos and what we know otherwise. It easily could be what people leap to claim it is, or maybe not. I can see a different scenario. I have no idea which picture is correct, but that means squat. My only point is that it may not be what you see. And, in time, you and I will both see (I hope).

    • BobCon says:

      There’s been no sign of it in anything revealed so far.
      That doesn’t definitively rule it out — there is a whole lot we don’t know yet, and Mueller won’t reveal anything until he needs to. But it’s not a bad idea to set it aside, or think it was wrong in significant ways. Maybe Cohen called in to a conference call? Maybe it’s a reference to a meeting elsewhere? Maybe it was an invitation that was later dropped? Or maybe it just never happened.

    • bmaz says:

      Do you have any facts to indicate he is not at this point as opposed to initially? If so, “love to hear them”.

        • bmaz says:

          It is stated that there was no traditional cooperation agreement, with a 5K1 contemplation. So that is the wrong question. 

          Does that mean there is no behind the scene understanding between defense and prosecution attorneys? Heck no. Remember, Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, is extremely smart and extremely respected in SDNY (and came out of there after being a big cheese there). Neither you nor I know what Petrillo is doing behind the scenes or what working arrangements he has facilitated.

          My point is, don’t leap to conclusions  based upon what you see in the public domain at any given time, including today with these memos. Cohen has not been sentenced yet. When he is, he will likely not be ordered to report on the spot. He is going to serve some time, but that was always the case. How much will be determined by both the initial sentence and whether he earns a potential Rule 35(b) application later. The chances that this has not been discussed with both SDNY and Mueller prosecutors are literally zero.

          • r helder says:

            i tend to agree that something more is going on.  after reading the 33 pages of sdny’s sentencing memo, in which it is iterated that cohen:  1)  hid at least $4 million in income and owes at least $1.7 million in taxes, 2)  committed bank and wire fraud in getting the loan which financed the payoffs, 3) conspired with individual 1 and publisher 1 to violate campaign financing laws to pay off adult porn star 1 and playgirl 1 for the express purpose of affecting the election, and 4)  lied to congress. further, 5)  an enhanced sentence is appropriate because he joined with others to commit these crimes and used his specialized skills to do so, both of which endanger society more than simpler crimes.
            yet, the sdny recommendation is that cohen receive a sentence of less than 3 1/2 years — 41 months — when it should be in the 51 to 63 month range at minimum.  seems like he is providing some more “cooperation” to explain such leniency.
            i thought sdny had the reputation of being a lot rougher

      • timbo says:

        3D chess move?  It possibly leaves Cohen more flexibility legally if/when there’s a Presidential pardon…because he hasn’t signed a cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel’s office.  Another thing Cohen, on advice of his counsel possibly, could be holding out for is blanket immunity from the incoming Congress in exchange for his testimony.

        Cohen’s already pled guilty to one count of lying to Congress and will serve time for it in all likelihood; blanket immunity would permit him to talk about all sorts of things that it would then be hard to prosecute him for, the Congress being satisfied that he’s already slated to be punished for his previous lack of candor.

        Note that this possibility has to be considered by all counsel involved on the giving and receiving end of the current Mueller investigation post 2018 election results.  It was dimly on the backburner until the House turned to the opposition party; now it’s a much bigger deal, immunity for Congressional testimony.  Expect a lot of pleading of the 5th beginning in early spring on into June in front of House committees…until there’s selective and blanket immunities granted.  See Watergate for how that has played out before.

  6. Theresa N says:

    I thought the SDNY Cohen sentencing memo was great. They absolutely shredded the defense counsel’s memo, which was so highly praised by everyone when it first came out. Yet, the devil is in the details and I particularly enjoyed the SDNY methodically tearing apart each one of Cohen’s arguments for a sentence of time served. I also enjoyed their destruction of what we should now call the Barto O’Kavanaugh defense, which is I’m such a nice guy, I coach girls baseball, or in Cohen’s case – “but your Honor, I’m such a good man and I even give to charity!” which SDNY responded, well that was money you stole from the government by cheating on your taxes! And another dig at the defense memo painting him as such a good man, well he must have led a double life based on what we can show as to his criminal conduct.  They also did a great job of highlighting the fact that incarceration for white collar crimes, particularly willful tax evasion, is important and necessary to promote respect for the law and deterrence. This is especially true in tax evasion cases.
    The ending was also fun:  
    “After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress and seeking to criminally influence the Presidential election, Cohen’s decision to plead guilty, rather than seek a pardon, does not make him a hero.” Oh snap! 
    Based on this memo I’d be shocked if the Judge did a downward departure from the Probation report, and I am hoping for an upward departure.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, isn’t that special. Yes, you should totally hope that courts shit on substantive cooperators in complex multi-jurisdictional cases, especially ones that do so without any guarantee. Thanks for playing. Your contributions to the functioning of the criminal justice system are duly noted.

      • oldoilfieldhand says:

        So the fact that Cohen is an upper tier criminal is reason to vacate the vaunted “tough on crime” facade of the sainted DOJ? FFS, no wonder white collar crime is practically unchecked. In many high profile corporate crimes the defendants pay fines without having to enter a guilty plea. We spend millions investigating and prosecuting actual crimes, and in the rare instance that the defendant pleads guilty, court costs, lawyers fees and partial restitution become part of doing business. If a criminal is close enough to the boss he can expect kid glove treatment for his assistance? The law isn’t transparent, it’s practically invisible. As long as it doesn’t negatively affect the bottom line, or result in corporate officers being arrested on the evening news, rampant white collar crime will continue.
        Ordinary members of society who are caught smoking a joint or stealing groceries to feed their children face the maximum penalties, and we foot the bill for housing them in prisons that pad electoral districts for tough on crime  politicians.  Yet, wholesale disregard for reams of criminal activity is the treatment for cooperators in federal court if they can substantiate charges that will likely result in fines for the Blonde Capo?
        What the fuck happened to equal treatment under the law. Cohen stole millions, lied about it, serially cheated on his taxes and flagrantly tried to sell access to the president of the United State to further criminal enterprises. He lied to the United States Congress. Why not squeeze Cohen with a tough sentence to see what else he can offer to the good guys in their relentless fight for truth, justice and the American way?
        Cohen has no respect for the law. He’s only giving up what the thinks will help him and his candor is limited to what will make him look repentant without hurting the people he really respects.

        • bmaz says:

          The fact that people hate Cohen in the public is not the concern of the court nor prosecutors. He pled to a wide range of conduct, including a tack on false statements charge that he likely did not have to agree to, and has given cooperation assistance on multiple cases without a traditional 5K1 agreement to do so. The govt is suggesting a minor departure of 10 months from the full guideline for his efforts. That is absolutely NOT treating him with “kid gloves”. In fact it is harsher than I expected. The system is working exactly within the parameters it should be.

          • oldoilfieldhand says:

            Time to change the parameters to ensure crime does not pay. 61 months for a 4,000,000 heist (that we know about) is better wages than 60% of Americans paying for the US government currently enjoy.
            LEt’s see what the Freshmen lawmakers can do to balance the scales of justice.

            • oldoilfieldhand says:

              Who said anything about hate. Justice wears a blindfold and holds a set of scales. The American people don’t have to wear blinders, they’re conditioned in ambivalence by their “betters” on TV and are smarter than many lawyers and judges think.
              Thanks for the insight, gotta’ go back to work.

    • Alan says:

      I don’t at all hope the judge departs upward.  In fact, I hope the judge departs downward by about a year, and points out that this is a very substantial reduction, probably more than Cohen deserves, but the judge gave him a larger reduction than he deserves to remove any possible arguments that a pardon or commutation is warranted, and to to make is clear that if a pardon or commutation is given, it would be, in the opinion of the court, a corrupt act.  I doubt this all will happen, but that’s what I would like to see ;-)

  7. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Indeed, the language in the fourth paragraph talking about how Cohen “described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries, while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements contained within it” seems to address a point I raised in this post: he could not have crafted that lie alone; it had to have been coordinated with Trump Org and Felix Sater, at a minimum. So while he admits that he’s responsible for his own lies, he appears to have explained how everyone made sure they were on the same page with those lies. 

    So Trump signed off, and was surely part of ‘getting everyone on the same page’, as he did with the lame tale of Russian adoptions. Trump wrote it, and everyone parroted the line.

    But it seems that Devin Nunes and other members of the House Intel Committee must also have been coordinating in some way.  Because that whole circus seems to have been all about obfuscation and obstruction.  And Paul Ryan allowed Nunes to remain as head of the committee. Which is totally perplexing, unless Paul Ryan was also in cahoots.  Political ouroboros?

    Okay, off to refine my tinfoil hat — definitely needing to update my antenna, as what it’s picking up is a wormhole of weirdness.

  8. SomeGuyInMaine says:

    Lots of lying. Lots of implied coordination of lying. Very little explanation of why they all lied so hard and so often.

    This all seems to be wrapping up soon, but wrapping up just chapter one. Not the whole story by a long shot.

    Don Jr, Jared, Roger Stone, and perhaps Erik Prince or Don McGahn (who else? Brannon?) All seem likely leading players in chapter two.

    I wonder if Zainab Ahmad and her extraterratorial skills are working on something Kilimnik related or Prince related

    • Tech Support says:

      Regardless of when the Mueller report (and/or it’s surrogate “speaking indictments”) finally wind down, I’ve come to the conclusion that the knock-on effects of this will continue for years to come, well beyond the current administration. Like the prior decades of mob prosecutions there would seem to be an extended network of malfeasance, corruption, and criminality that will produce leads that produce convictions that produce leads and so on.

  9. Ramius says:

    Anyone else wondering what has happened to the supposed tapes that Cohen claims to have, beyond the one where he and Trump are talking about paying off McDugal? I don’t see anything in these memos that would suggest that they have been used…so far…if they indeed exist. If they do exist, Cohen could possibly be using them as leverage to gain status as a cooperating witness.  

  10. orionATL says:

    what i find peculiar about this cohen news friday revelations, really peculiar in an intraparty political way, but then not when you consider the benighted source, is that trump is attacking cohen (and praising stone, as would an incompetent parent).
    logically, if cohen dissembles in any way that helps trump, trump should be accepting and quiet, regardless of his personal opinion of cohen or his motives at the moment.  that trump is instead attacking, reveals his utter incompetence at thinking things thru, together with an obsession with having his precious, long-time self-cultivated public image damaged. 
    this guy seems less and less competent to make decisions about nuclear treaties, iran treaties, trade treaties, border walls, gov shut downs. he seems a mentally deteriorating ball of anxiety perhaps because his carefully constructed public image, which may be his total self-image, is being slowly destroyed by public revelations of unacceptable conduct – the sco and sdny investigations and charges are the mirror trump would never hold up to himself. if true, this implies it really is getting closer and closer to time when it will be necessary to invoke the 25th amendment.

    • orionATL says:

      actually, i doubt the 25th would be invoked since that would require an act of disloyalty by subordinates chosen by himself and trump has now gotten rid of all likely malcontents in his cabinet save mattis at defense and mattis is on his way oout. it is now a totally loyal cabinet and subcabinet (except maybe for jared).

      more reasonable would be an arranged leaving (for personal/family reasons, don’t you know).

      i would guess trump has never before in his adult life faced this kind of implaccable opposition despite his and nunes-meadows’ best efforts to tar the doj, the fbi, and individual leaders he imagined were relevant to uncovering his russian capers such as james comey, andrew mccabe, and bruce ohr. they are all down now, but mueller’s sco just keeps coming on with one revealing and embarrassing disclosure after another.

      mueller and company believe don’t just believe in speaking indictments; they believe in the germ-killing power of sunshine.

  11. Jose says:

    Honestly, even if he’s sentenced at 51 months, Cohen really got an amazing deal by coming forward to the SCO (and especially if his decision not to sign a cooperation deal means he can shut up about his mafia ties and still not get indicted for those activities). But while everyone focuses on Prague (or Budapest/Italy wherever you think the Kosachev meeting happened if there was any), the really big question in my mind is the Ukraine Peace Plan also known as the Rovt-Weldon peace plan. 
    That is because Mueller’s task to prove “collusion” is to prove a bribery conspiracy case involving a complex illicit quid pro quo, wherein the Russians would get various policy outcomes they desired like lifting sanctions, rupturing the alliances (and which amounted to the President acting as a foreign agent, even if its unclear whether he is one as defined by section 951) and so on, in exchange for election assistance and financial assistance to Trump and his people/business. 
    The Ukraine peace plan is crucial, absolutely essential, to how serious Trump was and his state of mind at the time this scheme was ongoing and what steps he and the people around him took in order to get sanctions relief for the Russians. (the quid in the bribery scheme)
    I actually believe this has to be one of the hardest things to establish in the investigation, whereas the quid wasn’t so much since Mueller could rely on greater powers from the intelligence community to precisely figure out what the Russians were up to, than the Americans were(the people in charge of delivering the quid). I think if Mueller has Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen, and the relevant documentary evidence to back it up, its only a matter of months if not weeks before he really ends the focus on mostly investigation and starts the prosecutions for “collusion”. 

    • orionATL says:

      i found this is a very interesting and informative comment. thanks.
      cohen did get an amazing deal (but then, too, the charges were rather meager i thought). i suppose i should be satisfied that a trump fixer/cutout got caught and confessed, and then had both his deeds and his association with trump publicly exposed. that is after all some substantial non-judicial punishment.
      the ukraine promise to putin has indeed gotten too little attention. it would have been a major shift in u.s. policy that is unsupported by our immediate past history and by either party – previous to the trump republican coup. trump himself is a foreign policy ignoramus of the first water so it cannot reasonably be attributed to his thoughtful foreign policy considerations. we can hope it is on a back burner at sco.
      then there maybe cohen taxi medallion laundering to show up later 😂.

  12. Kevin says:

    I think it’s significant that the SDNY in neither the guilty plea nor sentencing memo, ever showed us hard evidence of Trump’s involvement in the campaign finance violations. The closest they came was quoting Cohen from his plea hearing saying he did it at Trump’s direction.

    If they had wanted to come after Trump at full speed, they could have had Cohen plead guilty to conspiracy and named the president as a co-conspirator. The fact that they didn’t suggests to me that they’re intentionally holding back.

    Speculations as to why: they only have Cohen’s testimony as evidence of Trump’s involvement and know that you have to come at the president with more than that; or they don’t want to muddy the waters with the SCO investigation.

  13. 'Stargirl says:

    How much influence do you think Giuliani (who in private practice worked with SDNY chief and Repub donor Berman) or others in 45’s inner circle have in asking SDNY to “throw the book” at Cohen as punishment for betraying his old boss? Additionally, is SDNY trying to force Cohen to sing louder? Do you think Cohen is afraid of singing too loud as hit men may hear him?

  14. Kevin says:

    Also, anyone have any thoughts on this statement: “he has taken care not to overstate his knowledge or the role of others in the conduct under investigation”? A reference to him publicly floating knowledge of the June 9 meeting?

  15. PSW says:

    That, plus the early focus on Trump Tower deals, makes it clear where Trump’s focus at that point was: real estate. 
    It was always about the money, the real estate, the Ruskie Deal Cohen was promoting for Trump.
    All the perplexing Trump BFF Putin tweets especially 2016 were about the Ruskie real estate, Trump’s forte.  
    Hundreds of millions: Cohen thought he was about to really hit the jackpot. Sadly he only got 4M by discretely (oops not really) lying to more corp suckers trying to advantage their companies.
    It seems at this point a lot of the T people will get at least felonious lying charges.  That will be fine.
    emptywheel suggestion: stop paying for SSL: jump to Let’s Encrypt. It is free and automatic.

  16. Tom says:

    This may be so blindingly obvious that it doesn’t warrant a comment, but I notice on page 6 of the Mueller Memo:  “Second, Cohen provided the SCO with useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with Company executives during the campaign.”    By “Company executives” is Mueller referring to and/or including Trump and his three adult children?     If so, this seems to confirm or could be read as stating the Trump and his three kids were actively involved in colluding with Russia (the core of Mueller’s investigation) during the 2016 campaign and that it was from them that Cohen “obtained” this information through his regular contact with them. 

  17. Hurltim says:

    A question for our esteemed lawyers here. Given the gravity of the situation in both the SDNY and the Mueller Investigation, Is it safe to say that they have documentary proof of Cohen’s claims? I really cannot see either camp relying on Cohen’s word for anything but I really don’t know. If it were me and IANAL, I wouldn’t even talk to Cohen unless he came to the table with hard, concrete proof and a note from his mother proving what he is alleging. 

      • bmaz says:

        This is correct. It may have been a shaky start, but they all seem to believe he is conveying accurate info now and for quite a while. The better question may be as to whether that is on “all” subjects, including Cohen family ones. That is less clear, though I think it will be made much more so in the future, one way or the other.

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