Former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg has written a column for USA Today that predicts special counsel Robert Mueller will soon lay out a “conspiracy case” regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election that will “ensnare the president’s family.”
As evidence, Zeidenberg cites former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen’s latest guilty plea, in which he admitted to lying to Congress about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow that was being hammered out even as Trump was securing the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. It is this admission, Zeidenberg says, that will give Mueller evidence of a motive to conspire with Russia to interfere in the election.
“The putative Moscow project helps provide motive for Trump to have curried favor with Putin,” he writes. “And once Trump repeatedly and publicly denied having any business interests in Russia, Putin had leverage over Trump, because he knew this claim was an easily disprovable lie.”
Given that Cohen also regularly briefed members of the Trump family — including Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — with updates on the project, Zeidenberg argues that they are now potentially implicated in the conspiracy, especially if they falsely told investigators that they knew little or nothing about Trump Tower Moscow.
He also believes that Trump publicly dangling a pardon for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will almost certainly be seen as an attempt to obstruct justice by Mueller’s team.