Michael Cohen and his new attorney, close Clinton ally Lanny Davis, rolled out what they hoped would be twin bombshell revelations meant to inflict serious damage on President Trump. The mainstream media greeted the news with great enthusiasm.
CNN analyst Max Boot, who recently and very loudly, left the Republican party, said:
Until now, we have not had a smoking gun that placed Donald Trump Sr., the President himself, in the center of the conspiracy. This is potentially huge. It’s potentially something that can prove the President colluded and that is an impeachable offense.
Boot and the rest of the mainstream media want so badly for that to be true.
Too bad for the media, Cohen and Davis that Trump supporters simply do not care about either issue.
The first item was Cohen’s recording of a conversation between him and then-candidate Donald Trump, which took place in September 2016. The two were discussing a payment to playboy model Karen McDougall who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006. I wrote about this here.
The second item was Cohen’s announcement that Trump knew about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and the Russians, who had promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton. Cohen provided no evidence to support this claim.
Trump has denied prior knowledge of the meeting, which may or may not be true. Probably not. But, unless Trump lied under oath, he has not committed a crime.
More importantly, what political campaign would say no to the possibility of hearing new “dirt” about their opponent? In fact, it would be unnatural not to at least listen.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC actually solicited dirt on Trump and paid $12 million to a foreign national. And working through intermediaries (law firm Perkins Coie hired op research firm Fusion GPS to prepare the dossier) doesn’t alter that fact.
Also, it’s well known that Barack Obama and David Axelrod used the Chicago Tribune to dig into the divorce records of two of his primary opponents in the 2004 Illinois senate race.
So, it seems that neither of Cohen’s “bombshells” had any effect on Trump voters. Once it became clear there was no real substance to either claim, the air left the balloon rather quickly. The only damage was to Cohen’s credibility, which is now in freefall.
Rush Limbaugh makes the point that if Robert Mueller believed Cohen could provide information or evidence of Trump’s criminal activity, he never would have handed the case over to the Southern District of New York.
The National Review’s Andrew McCarthy appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show and was asked about Cohen’s recent claims. He said:
I’ve always thought that if Mueller believed that Cohen was somehow the key to proving a collusion case against Trump, there’s no way he lets that case walk to the Southern District of New York. So I’d be surprised if this links up to anything that’s serious in the way of collusion like an espionage conspiracy. It seems to me that the Mueller investigation is winding down to a conclusion.
When asked why Mueller is now said to be examining Trump’s tweets, McCarthy replied:
The whole thing is preposterous. To have state of mind or a criminal state of mind is irrelevant unless you’ve done something that actually can amount to obstruction. The president cannot obstruct justice by taking lawful actions that are within his constitutional prerogative, like pardoning people or firing Comey or weighing in on whether somebody should be prosecuted. I understand the style problem, like they don’t like the way Trump goes about things. But you still gotta kind of like prove the thing that’s a crime before you start worrying about what somebody’s state of mind was.
Why is Cohen making public accusations against Trump? Rush explains:
So, what Cohen is doing here is trying to get the best deal he can get from the U.S. attorney’s office, Southern District of New York. He’s trying to make it look like he’s got all kinds of dope on Trump and he’d be willing to give it up.
He certainly led with a couple of duds.
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