The fallout continued yesterday from the explosive Buzzfeed report alleging that Donald Trump directed his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal.
New chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said this:
“These allegations may prove unfounded, but, if true, they would constitute both the subornation of perjury as well as obstruction of justice…”
Trump’s surrogates yesterday denied the Cohen story, calling Cohen a convicted liar, but the Buzzfeed story didn’t originate with Cohen. In fact, the story alleged that the Mueller team had evidence of and witnesses to Trump’s obstruction that they confronted Cohen with, and he corroborated it. So it wasn’t about Cohen’s truthfulness, it was about independently sourced evidence. And the evidence apparently also indicated that Donald Jr. and Ivanka were briefed regularly about the Moscow project.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, the office of the Special Counsel last night issued a statement calling into question parts of the Buzzfeed report. A spokesman for the Mueller probe said, “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.” Buzzfeed then stated that they stood by their report and wanted to know from Mueller’s team which facts were not accurate, but there has been no additional response from Mueller.
Michael Cohen is scheduled to testify before Congress on February 7th, an appearance already highly anticipated. Congress will attempt to assess the veracity of Cohen’s claims and the depth of the subterfuge from Trump, though it is not certain that Cohen will disclose anything about his testimony to Mueller. Eventually Congress will know what Mueller knows, if by no other means than to subpoena his final report.
So the Trump regime is now heralding the Mueller statement as vindication that Trump did nothing wrong, while at the same time maintaining that Mueller is an angry Democrat on a witch hunt. Trump may or may not have suborned perjury, but he almost surely obstructed justice, and he’s already an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony federal election fraud case. Speculation continues to abound that Trump will concoct a crisis or distraction to avert our attention from the stinking mess of his presidency. It was recently reported that Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon to provide possible attack options for Iran, increasing fears that the Trump team will start an unprovoked war with Iran as a distraction. He might also declare a “national emergency” along the border with Mexico as a way to divert attention and give himself a way out of the government shutdown. Whatever he does, it’s crucial that activists stay alert and be prepared to protest or otherwise make noise if Trump does anything from the dictators’s playbook.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s poll of polls, Trump’s approval rating slid to a miserable 39.9% and his disapproval rating rose to 55.2%–numbers that will make it difficult for him to get re-elected. And if the numbers get any worse for Trump they will make it difficult for Republicans to continue to support him. GOP politicians only care about getting re-elected, so if their support of Trump begins hurting their chances more than helping, they will back away from him quickly. But we’re not there yet.
Wishing you a safe and warm weekend. Beware of the incoming snow storm and keep resisting…