In late November, it was reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee had referred cases to Special Counsel Mueller after witnesses questioned in the panel’s own Russia probe were suspected of lying. As Mueller’s work has resulted in Michael Cohen receiving a sentence of three years in prison for felony charges which directly implicate Mr. Trump, the special counsel’s team has been sifting through these cases and will tackle additional ones that may come from the panel shortly.
On Thursday, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee said:
‘We’ve made quite a few referrals. I won’t get into the numbers, but where we have found criminality, we have made those referrals, and I’m sure that they’re not the last.’
Back in November, Burr explained:
‘We have made referrals from our committee to the special counsel for prosecution. In a lot of those cases, those might be tied to lying to us.’
Those remarks were made just a day after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project that Trump and his company pursued at the same time he was seeking the GOP nomination in 2016.
Cohen, who also agreed to participate in Mueller’s investigation, admitted to lying to Congress in order to minimize Trump’s connection to the felonies he committed – specifically to limit Trump’s connections to the Trump property project in Moscow and to limit the ongoing Russia probes.
Cohen will serve a two-month sentence for lying to Congress concurrently with the three-year sentence to federal prison he received for his other crimes.
The Senate Intelligence panel did not actually refer Cohen’s case to Mueller. Instead, Mueller reviewed the transcript from Cohen’s interview with the committee in October 2017 after obtaining consent from Cohen’s attorney.
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) who will likely be the incoming chair of The House Intelligence Committee said after Cohen’s plea that he believes other have lied in their testimony before the House panel in its Russia probe.
Attention is also being paid to a testimony given by Donald Trump Jr. in September 2017 when he said that discussions about a possible Trump Tower Moscow within the Trump Organization “faded away I believe at the end of ’14” and “certainly” did not take place in 2016. Cohen’s testimony indicates otherwise.
According to NPR:
‘The shift in understanding of the events of 2016 provided by Cohen is important for a few reasons:
‘First, it called into question the Trump family’s denials about having business dealings with Russians. Second, it confirmed the Trumps had a channel open with powerful Russians at the same time the Russian government was waging a widespread campaign of “active measures” against the United States.
‘And third, it put the Russian government and others in Moscow in the position of being able to know, confidentially, the truth about the Trump family’s denials about negotiations over the Moscow real estate deals.’
It is likely more will be revealed in the coming weeks and it looks as though Trump’s children may be next to have to answer to serious felony charges and possibly prison time.
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