Hey remember that time Donald Trump said one million times during the 2016 campaign that he wasn't doing any business with Russia, even though everybody knew that was a fucking lie? Trump told reporters a new line on that this morning:
When i'm running for president, that doesn't mean i'm not allowed to do business.
O RLY, MISTER PRESIDENT? That is how we are changing our story on the fly? He also told reporters he was "very open" during the campaign about his ongoing attempts to do a Moscow Trump Tower project (he was not), but that he didn't do the project anyway, so who even cares, but if he did do it, it would have been OK.
So ... OK, whatever, Donald!
It'll be fun to see how Trump reacts the rest of the day to how Michael Cohen has just pleaded guilty to another felony in the Southern District of New York, on top of the other felonies he previously pleaded to at SDNY (eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations related to his and Trump's scheme to illegally pay off the women Trump pornfucked, in order to help the Trump campaign, and in which Trump is explicitly named as an unindicted co-conspirator).
This time, it's different, though. This time, Cohen is pleading guilty to lying to Congress about RUSSIA stuff. By which we mean ROBERT MUELLER stuff. By which we mean it's MUELLER TIME, MOTHERFUCKERS!
Cohen is pleading guilty to a single count of making false statements to the Senate and House intelligence committees, both in a letter and in in-person testimony to the Senate. Mueller argues that Cohen told these lies to make the Moscow Project look like some big nothingburger, a deal that went nowhere, and definitely not part of the larger Trump-Russia investigation, hey look over there, SQUIRREL!
HERE ARE THE LIES!
The first lie is that Cohen told Congress that negotiations for the failed Trump Tower Moscow project (which was actually the second time Trump tried and failed to do that, but that's neither here nor there) ended in January of 2016. He went to great lengths to say these negotiations ended before the Iowa caucuses. He said that "Individual 1," who is now the president of the United States, never talked about the project to anyone except him, and that they only talked about it three little teeny tiny times. (We guess one of those times was in October 2015, when Trump signed a letter of intent on the project that mysteriously went nowhere.)
Here is the second lie, from the filing:
"Individual 2" is Cohen's childhood buddy, the Russian-American Felix Sater, who has done mucho business with Trump, and also has all these mob connections. Cohen told Congress he never ever agreed to go to Russia in connection with the project, and that he never ever tried to get Trump to go to Russia about it.
Cohen's third lie was that, after he reached out in January 2016, at Felix Sater's request, to Dmitry Peskov -- Putin's right hand man and also the Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the Kremlin -- to try to save the deal, he never ever heard back from the Russians.
HERE ARE THE TRUTHS!
- Discussions about the Moscow Project (whatever it truly was) did not end in January 2016. In June 2016, Cohen and Sater were still blabbering about it. Cohen also talked to Trump and Trump's family about it way bunches more than he said he did.
- Cohen totally agreed to go to Russia, and he definitely took steps to make a Trump trip to Russia happen. Indeed, Cohen said to Sater in May of 2016 that he wanted to take his trip before the Republican Convention in Cleveland, and that Trump should go after the convention, once Trump was officially the nominee.
- Russia, through Sater, invited Trump to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June of 2016. Peskov wanted to meet with Cohen there, and maybe even introduce him to Putin, SQUEEEEEEEE! Cohen replied that sure, those dates would be cool with him. Cohen was set to head to St. Petersburg for the conference, which started on June 16, but on June 14, he backed out for some reason. Regardless, sounds like Cohen heard back from Peskov!
HERE IS WHY THIS ALL MATTERS!
Well! First of all, there surely was a hell of a lot of "Russia" going on, that Cohen and Trump have been lying about! Secondly, according to today's guilty plea, Cohen is officially in a cooperation deal with Robert Mueller. (And no, this is not like Paul Manafort pretending to be a cooperating witness and then just lying his fucking ass off. Cohen has obviously been TURNT for quite a while now.) Before this, Cohen was only officially cooperating with SDNY in those other investigations, though we knew he had been talking to Mueller's people quite a lot.
But there's more to this. First of all, this is one little bitty count of lying to Congress, plus Cohen in full cooperation. That means the parts we don't know yet are way bigger, and there are probably way more people who face criminal exposure, including probably that fuckhead in the White House.
But there's even more to this than that!
HERE IS THE WONKETTE GONNA WILDLY SPECULATE NOW, BECAUSE WE'RE FUCKING GOOD AT IT!
You see, Robert Mueller is leaving us breadcrumbs here. We recently talked about how Michael Cohen did mysteriously fly to Italy in July, just before the Republican convention. We've also talked about how, according to the Steele Dossier, Cohen was sent in as the fixer thug after Paul Manafort's Russian connections started coming out in the press. It's also possible that Cohen was spirited off to Prague, Budapest, or some other Eastern European city around that time or a little later. (McClatchy is still the only news organ reporting it, but they do say Mueller has evidence Cohen went to Prague, just like the dossier says.)
But he backed out on St. Petersburg at the last minute, in June. Like seven seconds after Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian Trump Tower Treason Meeting, which happened June 9.
So what was really going on here? And are we still really talking about just a Moscow Trump Tower project that fell apart, like all Trump's deals fall apart? And if we are, are we just talking about that? (Because, to be clear, THERE WAS NO FUCKING REAL ESTATE DEAL! There was never a deal on the table.)
Allow us to bring you back to a post we wrote on Wonkette Dot Gov over a year ago:
You see, Felix Sater and Michael Cohen had been bragging to each other about how they were going to use this Trump Tower deal to get Trump elected. When we first saw emails between Cohen and Sater featuring such bragging, it seemed like Cohen was leaking them himself to make it look like this whole business was about nothing more than a failed real estate deal, which goes along with his statements to Congress, which we now know are lies.
In November 2015, Sater emailed Cohen to say this:
I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.
Wow, that is just some very real-estate-y talk!
In January 2016, when Cohen contacted Dmitry Peskov at Felix Sater's request, it was supposedly a Hail Mary move, because the "real estate" deal was dying. And he "never heard back." But wait, months later, Peskov invited Cohen to Russia maybe to meet Putin, but then Cohen backed out at the last second? The FUCK?
Here's a thing we know about that Moscow Trump Tower Project that never happened. The financing was weird as fuck. It went through Russian companies that only seemed to exist on paper and was theoretically supposed to be funded through Russian state-owned banks that ended up #SanctionedAsFuck. They also happen to be banks Putin likes to use for ... money laundering!
Here's a thing we know about Dmitry Peskov. Cohen was supposedly reaching out to Peskov for help in saving the real estate deal, but Peskov, according to the Steele Dossier, was the "main protagonist in Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON." Indeed, Peskov reportedly had kompromat on Hillary Clinton. So that's weird, right?
We never thought it made any damn sense that Felix Sater and Michael Cohen seemed to be framing the Moscow Trump Tower deal as some sort of quid pro quo for Putin helping Trump get elected. But what if all this "Trump Tower" talk was code for a different kind of deal?
As we noted last year, what Russia had actually been obsessed with, and what Trump people seemed to be constantly meeting with Russians about during the campaign, was removing American sanctions on Russia -- sanctions that in theory ultimately tanked this tower deal.
Here's what we asked in August of 2017:
Is it possible Felix Sater sent Michael Cohen to Dmitry Peskov [...] not because the Trump Tower project was stalled, but because another kind of Trump deal with Russia was stalled? What if the whole deal really was that Russia will launder gabillions of dollars in Trump's general direction and will assist in a massive hacking operation involving operatives in Russia and America to get Trump elected, and in exchange, Trump as president will get rid of all those pesky sanctions that make it impossible for Putin and his band of merry oligarchs to do business, and moreover Trump will reorient American foreign policy away from meddling in Russia's business and just let it do whatever it wants with its sphere of influence?
Trump has been trying to skullfuck the Russian sanctions since before he was inaugurated. As for the second thing, we'd call that signed, sealed and delivered. Sure, Trump might have just canceled his G20 meeting with Putin, ostensibly over Putin's recent aggressive moves in Ukraine, but does anybody think Trump will do anything more than that? Fuck no. Trump's entire foreign policy has been wrapped up in a bow to help Putin, and to reduce America's influence on the world stage.
It bears mentioning that there have been rumors of Felix Sater actively cooperating with the Mueller investigation for a long-ass time now. And now Cohen's allllll the way in.
And for some reason he's publicly pleading guilty to a little bitty thing that changes nothing about his sentence, in a filing that raises way more questions than it answers.
HERE IS THE PART WHERE THIS POST IS ALMOST OVER!
Let's go back to this morning. Did you catch that Cohen pleaded guilty to Mueller stuff in the Southern District of New York? Before this, Cohen had pleaded guilty to stuff Mueller handed off in the Southern District of New York. And SDNY is famously nicknamed the "Sovereign District of New York," because it has quite a reputation for being extremely independent of Main Justice.
Do you see what we're getting at? How it's pretty clear Mueller was ready for any eventuality, up to and including Donald Trump shoehorning A Man Named "Meatball" in as his acting attorney general for the express purpose of smothering the Mueller investigation? Mueller has obviously squirreled shit away where it's safe from interference.
Now sure, Main Justice technically controls SDNY. But SDNY also technically is known for LOLing at Main Justice. In other words, it's kind of a Meatball-Free Zone. Like ... Meatball can go to there? But they might give him wedgies and make jokes about how they bet he never needed to use those Big Cock Potties his former company used to advertise, jokes which are sure to make Meatball cry and forget all about how he was supposed to be suppressing Mueller's work.
What we are saying is that Meatball is a fuckwit and nobody at DOJ trusts him so they're hiding the salami from the Meatball right now.
Oh well, we're 2000 words in and the meat jokes only get nastier from here so this post is over.
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