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Nov 29 2018

The Pipes Are Calling For The Donny Boys

The big deal for me about today’s Michael Cohen Guilty Plea is not that Cohen has a new co-operation agreement with Mueller, it was always safe to assume that anything the Southern District of New York knew was directly piped to the Russia inquiry.

No, it’s that the specific act he plead guilty to, lying to Congress about the end date of the Trump Tower Moscow property development plan, was echoed by Donny Jr. in front of the same committee.

So he’s guilty too.

Michael Cohen Admits Talks for Trump Over Moscow Tower Occurred Well Into Campaign
By Benjamin Weiser, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times
Nov. 29, 2018

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, admitted in court on Thursday that he had engaged in negotiations to build a tower in Moscow for Mr. Trump well into the 2016 presidential campaign, far later than previously known.

Mr. Cohen said he discussed the status of the project with Mr. Trump on more than three occasions and briefed Mr. Trump’s family members about it. He also admitted he agreed to travel to Russia for meetings on the project.

The revelations, which came as Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the project, were a startling turn in the special counsel’s investigation of Mr. Trump and his inner circle. Mr. Trump is referred to as “Individual 1” in the court documents.

I’ll break in to say that we know this for a fact because while it’s not part of the official plea deal, Michael Cohen said so, out loud, in open Court, in his verbal allocution and it’s part of the Court Transcript.

Earlier this week, the special counsel’s office accused Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of repeatedly lying to investigators in breach of his plea agreement. The new revelations also come a week after Mr. Trump’s lawyers provided Mr. Mueller with written responses to a set of questions.

After Mr. Cohen appeared in court on Thursday, Mr. Trump abruptly canceled a planned meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia while both leaders are in Argentina for a world economic summit meeting. The president said he called off the meeting because of Russia’s recent hostilities with Ukraine.

In remarks to reporters shortly after Mr. Cohen’s plea, Mr. Trump said his former fixer was once again lying in order to get a reduced sentence for the crimes he pleaded guilty to earlier this year. Under the earlier plea agreement, Mr. Cohen faced about four or five years in prison.

Mr. Cohen admitted that he had minimized Mr. Trump’s role in efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and gave the false impression to Congress that the negotiations had ended in January 2016, just before the Iowa caucuses.

In fact, Mr. Cohen admitted, the negotiations continued for at least another five months, until June, which was just after Mr. Trump had clinched the Republican nomination. Mr. Cohen also admitted that he agreed in early May to travel to Russia for meetings on the project and that he spoke to Mr. Trump about Mr. Trump, himself, making a trip, despite telling congressional investigators that he had not done so. The trips never happened.

Mr. Cohen concluded his statement in court by saying that he made the false statements to Congress out of “loyalty” to the president and so that he would not contradict Mr. Trump’s “political messaging.”

The special counsel identified Mr. Cohen’s false statements to Congress in testimony Mr. Cohen provided to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which have been conducting their own, separate investigations into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

4 key takeaways from Michael Cohen’s new plea deal
By Aaron Blake, Washington Post
November 29, 2018

1. There are conspicuous mentions of Trump and his family

In written testimony to both the House and Senate intelligence committees last year, Cohen said the Trump Tower Moscow deal was abandoned in January 2016.

“By the end of January 2016, I determined that the proposal was not feasible for a variety of business reasons and should not be pursued further,” Cohen said.

The plea deal, though, says that not only did Cohen continue to pursue the project through June 2016, but also that he briefed Trump on it more than the three times he had originally claimed, and also that he briefed Trump’s family members.

“COHEN discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1″ — a clear reference to Trump — “on more than the three occasions COHEN claimed to the Committee, and he briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project.” …

2. Putin’s spokesman appears to have helped cover this up

It has been reported that Cohen emailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press office in January 2016 seeking to grease the skids for the deal. But Cohen had said he never heard back.

Turns out, that was a lie. An assistant to Putin’s top spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, emailed him back, according to the plea deal, and then Cohen spoke with the assistant on the phone for 20 minutes.

But Cohen wasn’t the only one who lied about it. So, too, apparently, did Peskov. Here’s what Peskov said of the matter in August 2017: “ . . . Since, I repeat again, we do not react to such business topics — this is not our work — we left it unanswered.” …

3. This ties the Trump family’s efforts to the Russian government

As Cohen was planning to travel to Russia, his Russian associate Felix Sater relayed a message that Cohen might even get an audience with Putin or Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Sater told Cohen that Peskov “would like to invite you as his guest to the St. Petersburg Forum which is Russia’s Davos it’s June 16- 19. He wants to meet there with you and possibly introduce you to either [the President of Russia] or [the Prime Minister of Russia], as they are not sure if 1 or both will be there.”

So Cohen not only received a reply from Peskov’s office but also that office was making high-level arrangements for him — the lawyer and fixer for an American presidential candidate. …

4. The deal apparently died the day The Post broke a story about Russian hacking

The plea deal indicates that the last known discussion about the deal was “on or about June 14,” 2016, when Cohen told Sater that he was canceling plans to travel to Russia.

Why is that date significant? It happens to be the day The Washington Post broke a big story that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee.

In other developments the Feds have raided the offices of Democratic Chicago Alderman and Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke who has prepared the Trump Organization’s tax returns for the last 12 years AND Deutsche Bank’s Offices have been raided by over 170 German prosecutors, federal agents, police officers and tax authorities over Money Laundering charges. You’ll recall Deutsche Bank is the only Western Financial Institution that will lend to the Trump Organization anymore.

Not a good day, or week, for Team Trump.

Oh, pipes. There are at least 3 pipes leading directly from Donald John Trump to Russia- Manafort, Stone, and Cohen. Cohen has turned completely, Manafort is in the meat grinder, and Stone is in the barrel.

Collusion? There is no such crime. Conspiracy to defraud the United States? Treason?

You could go to jail for that.

Donny Boy Jr. and Jared should watch their backs.

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