- Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty once again, this time to lying to Congress
- It turns out the former Trump lawyer was discussing Trump Moscow plans with the Kremlin deep into the 2016 election
- Did Trump play a role? And if so, what does that mean for the Russia investigation?
Michael Cohen once claimed he would take a bullet for Donald Trump. Now he’s providing Robert Mueller with some heavy ammunition.
The former Trump lawyer has already twice pleaded guilty to crimes that implicate the President, and his most recent plea reveals a direct link between Trump and the Kremlin.
Cohen claims he discussed Trump Tower Moscow plans with Putin’s press secretary, and planned to gift the Russian leader a $50 million penthouse. Trump has repeatedly denied any dealings with the Kremlin in the past, but now he’s shifted the goalposts by claiming that “everybody knew” about his Moscow project.
Robert Mueller has been connecting the dots since May, and this new revelation could spur a new wave of indictments. Who knows, it could even spell the beginning of the end for the entire Russia Investigation.
Oh, I get it! I am a very good developer, happily living my life, when I see our Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly). Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2018
|Who Will Be Indicted In 2018||SBD’s Odds|
|Donald Trump Jr.||10/1|
Well, you can’t indict a sitting President so let’s quickly rule out Donald Trump from this prop. Sure, there’s a very slim chance of removal by impeachment, but let’s not get too carried away.
Trump Jr. has been on thin ice for some time and the latest guilty plea by Cohen could make things even worse. Cohen’s statement potentially contradicts Trump Jr’s Senate testimony, and then there’s still the issue of the Trump tower meeting he had with a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
The new revelations have also pulled Ivanka Trump into the mix. Trump’s eldest daughter may have been involved with the Trump Moscow plan, and if so, Robert Mueller may want to have a word.
One lie and she could be charged for making false statements.
The Special Counsel has already brought down several figures close to Roger Stone, and the self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” might be next. The full extent of his communications with Wikileaks remains unknown, and new emails obtained by Mueller may be just what he needs to bring charges.
|Who Will Be Pardoned by Donald Trump?||SBD’s Odds|
Michael Cohen may have been holding out for a pardon at first, but he waited and waited and it never came. So he decided to flip.
Not only is he cooperating with the Special Counsel, he’s also taking every opportunity to personally criticize Trump. Trump was always unlikely to pardon his long-time personal lawyer, and the chances of it happening now are virtually zero.
Paul Manafort is a more interesting case. The former campaign manager held steady for quite some time before eventually agreeing to cooperate with Robert Mueller. But now it’s been revealed that he’s been lying to investigators. Trump has refused to rule out a pardon for Manafort, so the Presidential “Get Out of Jail Free” card remains very much on the table.
|Over/Under on plea deals by Trump associates by year-end 2018||6.5|
So far, there have been five plea deals that we know of.
- George Papadopoulos struck a plea deal with the Special Counsel before having it withdrawn when he spoke to the press
- Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements and began cooperating with the investigation shortly after
- Paul Manafort chose to remain tight-lipped before eventually flipping (though it turns out he’s been lying to investigators anyway)
- Rick Gates flipped almost immediately and had most of his charges dropped
- And, of course, there’s Michael Cohen, who has been the highest-profile Trump associate to strike a deal
It’s well known by know that Trump can’t be trusted to bail out his friends, so if Mueller knocks on more doors this year, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to strike up more plea deals.
|Will Cohen testify in front of congress again in 2018?||4/1|
Top Democrats are calling on Cohen to return to Congress to testify about Trump’s business relationship with Russia.
Now that Cohen openly admits to having negotiated with Russian officials while keeping Trump updated, the Democrats have a few unanswered questions they would like to throw back at him.
|Will Trump sit down for an interview with Mueller in 2018?||20/1|
Trump has long claimed that he’s willing to sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller, but his actions suggest otherwise. Instead, Trump dodged the request to meet with Mueller in person and instead submitted written answers to his questions.
Trump’s lawyers are wary of a “perjury trap” by the Special Counsel, and would prefer to submit carefully worded written answers rather than have the President speak off the cuff.