The Russia investigation as led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing to proceed whether President Donald Trump likes it or not. This Thursday morning, his former lawyer Michael Cohen abruptly entered a plea deal with the special counsel’s office that includes him pleading guilty to false statements to Congress as part of the overall inquiry. Those false statements seem to cover Trump efforts to make real estate headway in Russia.
He’s the fifth former Trump associate to face charges from the special counsel’s office, all of whom have eventually pleaded guilty. It’s unclear how much time the plea might add on to the potential several years he was already facing in prison.
He’s already pleaded guilty to other criminal charges in a separate case. Earlier this fall, he declared in a Manhattan courtroom that he had participated in an illegal hush money scheme meant to silence women with whom his boss had affairs at the eventual president’s direction.
In the time since, more information has come out publicly that only further condemns the president. Trump was closely involved in essentially every aspect of the arrangement to the point of directing Cohen to take care of Stormy Daniels’ story himself after their previous arrangement for the stories to be bought up by the Trump-allied American Media, Inc. fell through.
Similarly to that situation, the president stands to be implicated in Cohen’s newest guilty plea, which accompanies a formal agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. He’d previously sat for questioning from authorities, including those with the Southern District of New York’s federal court system, but the cooperation hadn’t been formalized. Now, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos shares that his newest guilty plea will be “coupled with dozens of hours of testimony potentially damaging to Pres. Trump.”
The president, fittingly enough, has been freaking out about the Mueller investigation yet again this week.
His Twitter feed provides a curious window into what he’s thinking about, and this Thursday, he put his persecution complex on full display and declared:
‘When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever? After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!’
It’s ironic that he’s made the “no collusion” phrase such a bedrock of his defense when it’s so easily disproved. His son Donald Trump Jr., for instance, secretly met with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower in New York to get dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton. That’s collusion — and Trump Jr. has worried he’ll be indicted for lying about it.
More recently, it came out that around the time he joined up with the Trump campaign, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort had secretly met with Julian Assange, the man whose organization Wikileaks distributed emails the Russians stole from Democrats.
Manafort was also recently accused of lying and breaching his plea agreement with the special counsel, which could compound his issues when he faces the sentencing associated with his guilty plea.
In other words, Trump’s got lots of reasons to worry.
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