Trump’s ‘no collusion’ claims unravelling

Donald Trump and his supporters have adamantly claimed there was ‘no collision’ between his campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 US election, but that is unravelling. One of Trump’s got to media spokespeople has shifted the goal posts substantially, now saying there was no collusion just by Trump himself.

Even if Trump was not directly involved with Russian collusion, if his campaign manager, fixit lawyer, son, daughter or son-in-law were colluding during his campaign it would not be credible to claim he knew nothing about it.

For some reason CNN was used to walk back the ‘no collusion’ claim

CNN – Rudy Giuliani just totally contradicted 18 months of ‘no collusion’ talk from Donald Trump

If you know anything about the White House’s reaction to the ongoing special counsel probe into Russia interference in the 2016 election, it’s these two words: “No collusion.”

Trump, as well as his top aides — everyone from senior counselor Kellyanne Conway to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders — has insisted since the start of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation in spring 2017 that no one in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to help his candidacy and hurt that of Hillary Clinton. In a single answer to a question about the Mueller probe last January, for example, Trump unleashed an epic seven(!) “no collusion” assertions. Here’s just a piece of that (bolding mine):
“Well, again John, there has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians or Trump and Russians. No collusion. When I watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, I mean, the Democrats are all running for office, trying to say this that — but bottom line, they all say there’s no collusion. And there is no collusion.”
Trump’s Twitter feed, too, is choked with “no collusion” talk. According to the indispensable Trump Twitter Archive, Trump has tweeted the words “no collusion” 60 separate times, with the first coming on May 12, 2017 and the most recent happening on January 6.

All of which brings me to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night. And these lines from Giuliani, in particular:

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign. I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC.

But it looks like straight out bullshitting about what he ‘never said’. On Fox News in July 2018:

Fox News’ Guy Benson: “Regardless of whether collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?”

Giuliani: “Correct.”

This repositioning of ‘no collusion’ claims looks to be forced by what is now known.

When Giuliani started claiming that there was “no collusion” between the campaign and the Russians, we didn’t know that campaign chairman Paul Manafort had not only met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russia with ties to the country’s intelligence service, but had shared polling data on the 2016 race. Or that Kilimnik is a focus of Mueller’s probe.

And it appears that Mueller has already written a draft report on his inquiry into collusion. It looks like Giuliani is trying to distance Trump himself from what may be revealed.

If, say, Mueller finds collusion but not by Trump, the President and Giuliani will now say: We told you! No collusion between Trump and the Russians. This is all one big witch hunt! Mueller didn’t find anything.

If Trump could maintain some level of credibility with his base, it would make it that much harder for GOP lawmakers — especially in the Senate — to turn on him in impeachment proceedings.

None of that, however, should excuse what Giuliani was up to on Wednesday night. He was purposely trying to rewrite the history of his defense of the President of the United States in an ongoing investigation into how Russia sought to influence a national election on US soil.

And it is unlikely Giuliani is doing this without Trump being in on the ‘adjusted claim’.

One of those causing problems for Trump’s claims of co collusion is his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, now convicted of lying to Congress.

Buzzfeed:  President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project

President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.

And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.

Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen’s false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” — widely understood to be Trump — “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”

Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.

Cohen admitting being involved with collusion with Russia blows the ‘no campaign collusion’ denials out of the water.

The standard Trump response is to attack and try to discredit anyone threatening him. And that’s what is happening here.

If you believe Giuliani…

34 Comments

  1. thespectrum

     /  January 19, 2019

    We can all agree that Mr Trump is proving to be a very effective President.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 19, 2019

      Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…
      Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…
      Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…
      Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…
      Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…
      Nup.

  2. Zedd

     /  January 19, 2019

    yesterdays news.. (see my comment in Media -friday)

    BUT; yes it looks like the ‘NO collusion’ rhetoric is about as credible as every other thing that comes from MrT (& his cronies); “AMAZING, FANTASTIC, TREMENDOUS, SPECTACULAR… BEST EVER !!!” But a little bit of ‘fact-checking’ is all that we need to see its all B-S, from a ‘Reality TV personality/STAR’ :/ 🙂 😀

    • Patzcuaro

       /  January 19, 2019

      Could yet be the biggest ever, most spectacular Presidential meltdown.

  3. Griff.

     /  January 19, 2019

    How does the orange one respond ?

    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
    4h4 hours ago

    AMERICA FIRST!
    26,476 replies 19,939 retweets 79,534 likes
    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
    4h4 hours ago

    MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
    21,620 replies 18,910 retweets 79,003 likes

    Yelling slogans just ain’t gonna cut it .
    Expect a massive distraction from Donny the first twit very soon.

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 19, 2019

    This revelation about trump directing Cohen to lie to Congress has come from two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of trump’s cover-up of his Moscow project. Their statements are supported with documentary evidence including “text messages, internal memos, and emails” that has been seen and verified by the reporters. And by interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization. So there’s plenty to support the story.

    Trump’s response has been to tamper with/intimidate a witness before Congress (Michael Cohen) by threatening Cohen’s family, and to bluster.

    Will this change how trump supporters view him? Unlikely. It’s not the first time we’ve heard trump tell somebody to lie. But for for him and his ilk the only virtue is corruption.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  January 19, 2019

      Mueller has just put out a very rare press stmt. It says the Buzzfeed claim is false.

      As you were, Joe. Stand down and resume normal frothing.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  January 19, 2019

        Mueller didn’t say that at all, Alan.

        What Mueller specifically referred to was the characterisation of Cohen’s Congressional testimony:

        “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate”

        But Cohen’s testimony to the Congress wasn’t the only source for the Buzzfeed story.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  January 19, 2019

          They had other lies too?

          • Blazer

             /  January 20, 2019

            why does your adoration of Trump not surprise me!

        • High Flying Duck

           /  January 19, 2019

          • High Flying Duck

             /  January 19, 2019

      • Gezza

         /  January 19, 2019

        Which of these two would you buy a casino off?

        • Gezza

           /  January 19, 2019

          I possibly might buy one off the guy on the left, if it checked out with my financial advisers, but not if, at the time, he was working for the guy on the right.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  January 20, 2019

          Thought you were going to offer me Mueller but I’m not in that market. You’ll have to get other advice.

        • Zedd

           /  January 20, 2019

          I would NOT buy a ‘used car’ from either !!

    • Zedd

       /  January 19, 2019

      the noose is tightening ?! 😀

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  January 19, 2019

        Around who since Mueller has just defended Trump?

        • Gezza

           /  January 19, 2019

          Evidence?

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  January 19, 2019

            No evidence, just another one of Alan’s lies. There was no “defence of trump” in Mueller’s press release.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 19, 2019

              Of course there was. It overturned the false allegations against him.

            • Gezza

               /  January 19, 2019

              @ Alan. It didn’t sound exactically like that on 1ewes at 6. What does it say?

    • Pink David

       /  January 19, 2019

      You do realise this does mean Mueller doesn’t really have anything don’t you? If he did, that would have all leaked long before this.

      • Gezza

         /  January 19, 2019

        NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday disputed key elements of a media report that President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal, raising questions about a story that has dominated U.S. news coverage for the past 24 hours.

        BuzzFeed News reported late on Thursday that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who is slated to go to prison for lying to Congress and other crimes, told investigators working for Mueller that Trump had instructed him to lie about efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow while he was running for president.

        “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, said in the special counsel’s first comment on a media report since its probe started 20 months ago.

        While Carr did not directly address whether there was evidence that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, he disputed portions of the story about how BuzzFeed corroborated the explosive allegations against Trump.

        Citing information from two federal law enforcement officials, BuzzFeed said Cohen told the special counsel that after the 2016 presidential election Trump instructed him to tell Congress that negotiations over the Moscow project had ended earlier than they had in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.

        Carr’s statement also appeared to dispute BuzzFeed’s assertion that the special counsel learned about Trump’s directive from interviews with employees of the Trump Organization, emails, text messages and other documents.

        BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said in a statement: “We stand by the reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing.”

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia/report-that-trump-told-lawyer-to-lie-to-congress-draws-house-inquiry-idUSKCN1PC1MW

  5. Gezza

     /  January 19, 2019

    One thing I really like about Rudi Giuliani is that he seems to be another one of Trump’s adoring, unquestioning advisors & fans who is too thick to last.

    • Gezza

       /  January 19, 2019

      If they do, no doubt they will. If they don’t, they probably won’t. Nobody much seems to care except Trump and Trumpistanados …

      Meantime, lots of people connected to Trump seem to be explaining a lot of things that might mean he’s got more explaining to do coming up.

      Christ, Maureen. WTF can you do when interviewing someone like Trumpy, eh?

      When the blighter lies like a bloody flatfish half the time when he doesn’t need to, lies nearly all of the time when he really does need to, and when, whatever little time is left out of the balance from that, he just makes blimmin shit up?

      But, you know ,,, don’t get me started, Maureen 🙂

  6. “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, in a statement.

    It’s highly unusual for the special counsel’s office to provide a statement to the media — outside of court filings and judicial hearings — about any of its ongoing investigative activities.

    In response, BuzzFeed said in its own statement, “We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report.”

    The special counsel’s office did not go into detail about which parts of the BuzzFeed story they were calling untrue. The BuzzFeed story made several other claims that remain uncorroborated by other media outlets regarding Cohen’s lies to Congress and communications with Mueller.