In a new court filing, additional details have been released about Michael Cohen’s guilty plea for lying to Congress about Donald Trump’s dealings with Russia during the 2016 Presidential Campaign, and these additional details appear to reveal a concerted effort on the part of the Trump White House to cover up the truth about Trump’s dealings with Russia:
President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was in “close and regular contact” with White House staff and Trump’s legal team while he was crafting misstatements to Congress, according to a new court filing late Friday night.
Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to making misstatements before congressional intelligence committees while testifying about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In the court filing in the Southern District of New York, Cohen’s lawyers wrote that the false statements “sprung regrettably from Michael’s effort, as a loyal ally and then-champion” to help push forward Trump’s political messaging.
The “misstatements” which the Trump White House helped Michael Cohen craft were intended to hide the fact that Donald Trump was negotiating with Russia well into the Presidential campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
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.
This alone should be an impeachable offense. It is very much like what Richard Nixon did, which eventually led to his resignation.
“One year of Watergate is enough,” President Nixon declared in his State of the Union address in January 1974. But the embattled president could not put the issue behind him. Special prosecutor Jaworski and the Senate Watergate Committee continued to demand that the White House turn over tapes and transcripts. As public support for Nixon waned, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives began to consider the ultimate sanction for a president–impeachment.
Nixon cast himself as a defender of the presidency. He insisted that he had made mistakes but broke no laws. He said he had no prior knowledge of the burglary and did not know about the cover-up until early 1973. To release the tapes, he said, would harm future chief executives. The pressure on Nixon mounted in March 1974, when the special prosecutor indicted former Attorney General John Mitchell, former aides Haldeman and Ehrlichman, and four other staffers for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury in connection with the Watergate burglary. While the grand jury wanted to indict Nixon himself, Jaworski declined to do so doubting the constitutionality of indicting a sitting president.
Nixon points to the transcripts of the White House tapes during a nationally televised speech on April 29, 1974. Nixon announced that he was making the tapes public and turning over the transcripts to the House impeachment investigators. (AP)
To mollify his critics, Nixon announced in April 1974 the release of 1,200 pages of transcripts of conversations between him and his aides. The conversations, “candid beyond any papers ever made public by a President,” in the words of The Post stoked more outrage. Even Nixon’s most loyal conservative supporters voiced dismay about profanity-laced discussions in the White House around how to raise blackmail money and avoid perjury.
Nixon’s legal defense began to crumble in May when a federal court ruled in favor of Jaworksi’s subpoena for the White House tapes. Nixon’s lawyers appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. His political position faltered in June, amid reports that all 21 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee were prepared to vote for impeachment. On July 24, the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the White House to hand over the tapes to the special prosecutor. Two days later the Judicary Committee approved one article of impeachment to be voted on by the entire House.
When Nixon released the tapes a week later, a June 23, 1972, conversation showed that Nixon had, contrary to repeated claims of innocence, played a leading role in the cover-up from the very start. Dubbed “the smoking gun” tape, this recording eliminated what little remained of Nixon’s support. Even his closest aides told him he had to resign or face the almost certain prospect of impeachment.
The main difference is that Nixon wasn’t covering up for his dealings with a foreign country. If anything, what Trump has done is even worse.