In a new, detailed examination of the counterintelligence aspect of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, NBC News reported Tuesday that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, believes the possibility that Russia may have leverage over Trump may not be getting enough scrutiny.
And near the end of the article, Schiff makes an argument that I’ve previously referenced but is routinely ignored — even in the very NBC News report that quoted the committee chair.
In the last three paragraphs of the article, reporter Ken Dilanian writes:
Schiff said he is particularly concerned about the Trump Tower Moscow project, the real estate development Cohen was pitching to the Kremlin while Trump was running for president.
He noted that when it first emerged that Cohen had emailed Putin’s office seeking help, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Pescov, said he never answered the email. But it later emerged in court documents that an assistant to Pescov did respond, emailing Cohen and asking him to call, which he did.
“So here we had the Kremlin facilitating a cover up by the president of the United States,” Schiff said. “This needs to be exposed.”
Indeed, even as the Kremlin was lying about its ties to the Trump campaign, Cohen himself lied to Congress and Mueller about the extent of the Trump Tower Moscow deal in an attempt to downplay its significance. Cohen has since pleaded guilty to those criminal lies. And when he testified before the House Government Oversight Committee in February, Cohen said he told these lies in an effort to please the president and follow his lead. At one meeting to discuss the Russia investigation before he lied to Congress, Cohen said, he spoke with Trump and was told — falsely — there was no “collusion” and no “deal.”
So, in essence, Trump’s personal attorney committed a crime to further a cover-up that was done in concert with — either explicitly or implicitly — the Kremlin. And, from all appearances, it looks like Trump was directing this cover-up. There’s another word you might use for this behavior: collusion.
But bizarrely, despite having all this information, Dilanian writes: “some of the key figures seen as likely participants in any Russia conspiracy — Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen — have been charged with other offenses in cases that made no allegation of any ‘collusion’ with Russia.”
There’s no reason to think Mueller should have to use the word “collusion” to describe this behavior — but it fits the commonsense definition, and it’s baffling that informed observers of the investigation can’t recognize it. It seems the word “collusion” has come to be redefined to mean, in this context, some extremely specific and overt type of behavior which may indeed never happened, but it’s unclear why we should accept these word games.
‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted
MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.
"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."
Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’
President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.
According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.
"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."
"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."
Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical
"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.
Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.
While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.