Trump cherry picks Cohen ‘truth’ from ‘lies’, ignores chain of collusion

This is very funny.

Newshub:  Trump says Cohen telling the truth about collusion

US President Donald Trump has criticised his former lawyer Michael Cohen for lying in testimony to Congress but found reason to praise him, too, for not alleging Mr Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.

Mr Trump, speaking at a news conference in Vietnam after failing to achieve a peace deal with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, called the blockbuster hearing back in Washington “fake” and said it should not have been scheduled during his trip.

“He lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing – he said no collusion with the Russian hoax,” Mr Trump said.

“I wonder why he didn’t lie about that too like he did about everything else. I was actually impressed that he didn’t say, ‘well, I think there was collusion for this reason or that’. He didn’t say that.”

And even with this cherry picking Trump is making a false claim – “he said no collusion with the Russian hoax” is false. Cohen said he hadn’t seen evidence of Trump colluding with Russia. Cohen’s testimony:

“Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.”

That’s quite different to “he said no collusion with the Russian hoax”. Trump made that up, as is his habit.

‘Collusion’ seems to have become the key phrase in discussing the Mueller investigation (more about that soon). Trump and most others don’t yet know exactly what Mueller has discovered. But there is evidence of a chain of collusion.

Trump obviously colluded with Cohen, with Paul Manafort, with Roger Stone. The first two have been convicted in relation to that, Stone is still being processed through court.

Stone colluded with WikiLeaks (with Trump’s knowledge according to Cohen), and it is claimed that WikiLeaks colluded with Russia.

Fox News:  Michael Cohen testifies about Trump, Roger Stone-WikiLeaks plot at House hearing

Fox News:  Cohen lobs bombs at Trump during fiery hearing

He waded into the investigation over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, accusing Trump of knowing that an adviser, Roger Stone, was reaching out to WikiLeaks about the publication of stolen Democratic National Committee emails during the campaign. Trump has denied advance knowledge.

On Wednesday, Stone denied the claim, telling Fox News: “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true.” WikiLeaks also released a statement saying, “WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has never had a telephone call with Roger Stone.”

We will find out more about all this in time. But I think there is another issue as  important that Mueller is investigating – did Russia interfere in the US election.

Cohen claims that Trump didn’t think he would win the GOP nomination, and didn’t think he would win the election. Trump was trying to leverage his campaign to advance a hotel project in Moscow – it was mostly business he was after.

I suspect that Russia realised this and suckered Trump – they played him with the hotel deal carrot, and used Trump to put the election campaign into turmoil, and helping Trump get elected was a way to discredit the presidency and the US and democracy.

So far I think Russia has been quite successful. Trump has floundered in a game he was unfamiliar with.

Trump and his associates have done some stupid things in all of this, but I think the stupidest may turn out to be being suckered by the Russians.

There’s a lot more complexity to this than ‘did Trump collude with Russia,’

Another Trump associate arrested in Mueller inquiry

Roger Stone, closely associated with Donald Trump (and is also linked to Richard Nixon), is the latest to be arrested as a result of the Robert Mueller inquiry into Russian collusion, for witness tampering, obstruction and false statements – but there is no specific link to collusion in the indictment.

Vox:  Roger Stone’s arrest and indictment, explained

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was arrested in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation early Friday morning at his home in Florida. He was indicted for obstruction, making false statements, and witness tampering. You can read the full indictment at this link.

The charges focus on Stone’s alleged lies to the House Intelligence Committee during 2017 about his statements about and efforts to get in touch with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. The indictment also conspicuously mentions that “a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone” about what WikiLeaks might have on Hillary Clinton.

The indictment does not, however, attempt to explain why Stone would lie about this or lay out a definitive story about what did happen between Stone and WikiLeaks back then. Stone also has not been charged with any criminal activity occurring during the campaign.

The hacking and leaking of Democrats’ emails has long been a central part of the Mueller investigation. Mueller has charged several Russian intelligence officers with the hacking.

Various statements by Stone, including many public ones, raised questions about whether he had some sort of inside knowledge about WikiLeaks or its plans. He has denied having any such knowledge — and claimed that anything he knew about WikiLeaks came through an intermediary, radio host Randy Credico.

Now Stone has been accused of lying about this to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017, and trying to tamper with a witness — Credico — so that he would stick to that false story.

He’s not the first Trump associate to be charged with lying to the Mueller investigation. Trumps ex-lawyer Michael Cohen has admitted (or at least claimed) it.

Fox News has mixed coverage of it.

The self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” is well-known for his political antics and hardball tactics. He’s been reveled as a Washington wheeler-dealer dating back to the Nixon administration. Stone has also pushed several conspiracy theories and was an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

In his leading role, Mueller took over an ongoing investigation into Paul Manafort’sfinancial dealings in Ukraine.

Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Richard Gates were indicted on Oct. 27, 2017, on multiple counts, including conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, false statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. Manafort and Gates initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Nearly four months later, on Feb. 22, the pair was hit with additional tax evasion and bank fraud charges and the amount of money Manafort was accused of laundering through offshore accounts increased to $30 million.

Gates pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and false-statements charges on Feb. 23.

Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes on Aug. 21 in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates. He later pleaded guilty in a second case and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team.

Michael Flynn, the administration’s short-lived national security adviser, was charged in December 2017 with lying to the FBI about specific conversations he had with a Russian ambassador. He pleaded guilty.

Additionally, George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of making false statements to investigating FBI agents, according to court documents. He was later sentenced to 14 days in jail. Papadopoulos was a foreign policy adviser for Trump’s campaign.

Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about Gates in the Russia inquiry. In April, he was sentenced to 30 days in prison, making him the first to be sentenced in the investigation. He was released from prison on June 4 and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

On Nov. 29, Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty to making false statements before a Senate committee regarding a real estate project in Russia. He “made the false statements to minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 [Trump] and give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before ‘the Iowa caucus … the very first primary,” Mueller said.

Richard Pinedo, a California man who sold bank accounts to Russians meddling in the election, pleaded guilty in February 2018 to using stolen identities to set up the accounts. The U.S. government said Pinedo was not aware he was dealing with Russians when he sold the accounts. He was sentenced in October to six months in prison and six months of home confinement.

federal grand jury indicted three Russian entities and 13 Russian nationals on Feb. 16 for allegedly interfering in the election. Mueller’s case claims those involved had a sophisticated plot to wage “information warfare” on the U.S.

However, the Justice Department did not say the actions had an impact on the outcome of the election. Deputy Attorney Gen. Rod Rosenstein said, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity.”

The Justice Department on July 13 announced that 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election.

Early Jan. 25, former Trump political adviser Roger Stone was indicted on charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering — nothing directly related to Russian collusion. The White House has yet to officially comment on the indictment.

Of course Fox has some anti-investigation coverage:

On “America’s Newsroom” Friday, Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus, said the indictment is full of “stories” of Russian collusion, but all the actual charges are a result of the investigation.

“This is typical of Mueller. He has found almost no crimes that occurred before he was appointed special counsel,” Dershowitz said, adding that’s Mueller was appointed to find such crimes and he’s “virtually failed” in that respect.

“Almost all of his crimes that’s he’s indicted people for are crimes that resulted from his investigation,” Dershowitz said.

He noted, however, the fact that Stone’s alleged crimes were generated by the Mueller probe does not make them any less criminal.

“But it really means that there’s been a failure to uncover the basic crimes for which he was appointed. Namely, before he was appointed, was there illegal collusion, illegal conspiracy with Russia?”

But we don’t know if “there’s been a failure to uncover the basic crimes that occurred before he was appointed special counsel”, because the investigation is continuing, and the arrests of people closely associated to Trump and his campaign keep happening.

Charging people with lying and covering up can be used to pressure them to be more forthcoming with the truth in an investigation, and this has worked with some, like Cohen.

Stone is staunch for now: Ex-Trump adviser blasts ‘politically motivated’ Mueller indictment, says he ‘will never’ turn on Trump

Former Trump adviser Roger Stone vowed during a dramatic press conference outside a federal courthouse in Florida on Friday afternoon to fight the charges of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, calling the charges “politically motivated” while insisting he would not turn against President Trump.

“I will plead not guilty to these charges,” Stone told reporters, speaking over hecklers. “I will defeat them in court. This is a politically-motivated investigation.”

“There is no circumstance whatsovever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself,” Stone said.

Stone, who once worked for former President Nixon and has a tattoo of the former president on his back, flashed the Nixon V-signs in front of cameras before he spoke.

Bringing Nixon into the situation seems a bit odd given the history with that president.

The indictment states that during the summer of 2016, Stone spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks and information it might have had that would be damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

It also said Stone was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases, and that Stone continued to communicate with members of the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks.

The 24-page indictment alleges that Stone worked to obstruct the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records sought by the committee and persuading a witness to provide false testimony.

Making false statements to Congress is viewed as a very serious matter. And one could wonder why Trump associates have been lying to Congress in relation to the Russian collusion issue.

Persuading another witness to provide false testimony is probably even more serious.

Time will tell how this all pans out, but at the very least it indicates Trump has associated with a number of dishonest people who have been prepared to put themselves at risk of arrest through by being dishonest and obstructing justice.

Roger Stone under scrutiny in Mueller investigation

Roger Stone, a supporter of and adviser to Donald Trump, is under increasing scrutiny in the Mueller investigation.

He has been connected to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, who drip fed hacked emails related to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

CNN: Roger Stone’s finances examined by special counsel

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been probing Roger Stone’s finances as it summons a series of witnesses to gather more information about one of President Donald Trump’s longtime advisers, according to people familiar with the situation. Mueller’s team has questioned associates about Stone’s finances, including his tax returns.

The interest in Stone’s finances could be tied to Mueller’s charge of investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion, though another possibility is Mueller is pursuing something unrelated that turned up in the course of the investigation.

Even after he officially parted ways with Trump’s presidential campaign in its early days, Stone remained a staunch supporter and friend of Trump’s. During the campaign, he launched a pro-Trump super PAC called Committee to Restore America’s Greatness.

Now, the interest in Stone’s finances has created a new sense of alarm among his associates.

Whatever the reasoning, the probe into Stone’s finances should give him cause for concern, Zeldin said. Stone appears to recognize that.

“The special counsel having found no evidence or proof whatsoever of Russian collusion, trafficking in allegedly hacked emails with WikiLeaks or advance knowledge of the publication of (then-Clinton campaign chair John) Podesta’s emails now seems to be combing through every molecule of my existence including my personal life, political activities and business affairs to conjure up some offense to charge me with either to silence me or induce me to testify against the President,” Stone told CNN. “I have no intention of being silenced or turning my back on President Trump.”

Stone has come under public scrutiny, in part, because of a prescient prediction during the 2016 campaign. In a now-infamous tweet, Stone predicted trouble for Podesta, weeks before WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of Podesta’s emails. Stone denies having any advance knowledge of the Podesta leaks.

The email in question:

 

“I sleep well at night because I know what I have and have not done,” Stone told CNN. “There’s no inappropriate activity pertaining to Russian collusion. I obtained nothing from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. I never passed anything on to WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.”

But Wall Street reports: Roger Stone Sought Information on Clinton From Assange, Emails Show

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone privately sought information he considered damaging to Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The emails could raise new questions about Mr. Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in September, in which he said he “merely wanted confirmation” from an acquaintance that Mr. Assange had information about Mrs. Clinton, according to a portion of the transcript…

The rest is behind a pay wall, but more here: The email Roger Stone didn’t want anyone to see

Emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal indicate that longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone withheld key documents from the House Intelligence Committee — documents indicating he lied about his communications with a radio host he hoped would serve as a backchannel to WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

According to the Journal, in a message sent on September 18, 2016, Stone wrote to Randy Credico, a New York radio personality who interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange several weeks earlier, and asked him to:

“Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30–particularly on August 20, 2011.”

That email, which indicates Stone sought help colluding with a website that the U.S. intelligence community has accused of laundering emails stolen by Russian hackers, contradicts Stone’s September 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that he “merely wanted confirmation” from Credico that Assange had information about Clinton. It also contradicts statements Stone has made on his Facebook page and website about how his communications with Credico about Wikileaks merely “asked Randy to confirm that the Australian journalist had credible information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

The Journal details Credico’s response, which suggests that he had asked Assange for favors on Stone’s behalf on previous occasions.

Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Credico initially responded to Mr. Stone that what he was requesting would be on WikiLeaks’ website if it existed, according to an email reviewed by the Journal. Mr. Stone, the emails show, replied: “Why do we assume WikiLeaks has released everything they have ???”

In another email, Mr. Credico then asked Mr. Stone to give him a “little bit of time,” saying he thought Mr. Assange might appear on his radio show the next day.

A few hours later, Mr. Credico wrote: “That batch probably coming out in the next drop…I can’t ask them favors every other day .I asked one of his lawyers…they have major legal headaches riggt now..relax.”

About two weeks later Stone tweeted:

That raised suspicions about what he knew, how he knew it, and how this might be linked to the Trump campaign.

The campaign against Clinton by Wikileaks deserves more attention too.

A tangled web that may or may not be unravelled by the Mueller investigation.