​McClatchy Media Article Revives Russia Story? Or Not?

Are McClatchy’s Peter Stone and Greg Gordon correct when they state that in August or September of 2016, Michael Cohen did indeed go to Prague to meet with Russian officials or perhaps businessmen close to Putin?

Let’s start with the opening paragraph of their story from last Friday:

The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump's personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
They leave the attribution for the end of their one-sentence opener: two sources familiar with the matter.

I'm familiar with the matter of Cohen's supposed trip to Prague, which has been cast as very doubtful by Cohen himself and other media sources as well. You're familiar with the matter seeing you're still reading this. Could Stone and Gordon contact us and quote us off the record? Who are these sources familiar with the matter? Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele?

Here's what a spokesperson for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office said:

What I have been telling all reporters is that many stories about our investigation have been inaccurate. Be very cautious about any source that claims to have knowledge about our investigation and dig deep into what they claim before reporting on it. If another outlet reports something, don't run with it unless you have your own sourcing to back it up.

As of now, no other major outlet has run with the story. So a good deal of skepticism towards this story is due. Could it somehow prove true? That would require that Cohen entered the Czech Republic from somewhere like Germany which would have enabled him to avoid having a Czech-specific stamp in his passport. Of course, Cohen insists he was in New York - or briefly Los Angeles - in August of 2016. Could he have travelled in September? Cohen says he made 3 trips to Europe in 2016: to Italy in July; to England in October; and a third trip after Trump's election, which would have had to have been in November or December.

Clearly that rules out a September jaunt through Germany and the Czech Republic. But the narrative that the sources in the McClatchy story seem to be angling for, is that Cohen may be discredited and even charged as a result of the Southern District of New York's raid on his office.Therefore he is not a credible witness, therefore he might have lied about a trip to Prague, even if there's no evidence he was ever there. Perhaps in early October he took a secret submarine trip from Dover to Kiel on Germany's Baltic coast and hence by motorcycle, private jet, and finally helicopter, to Prague.

Some people are just unwilling to give up on the Russian collusion story. It's potentially so dramatic, so epic, that it attracts believers beyond those who merely see it as a useful way to impeach Trump whether it's true or not. So far, we have no real evidence of such collusion. And it seems that the sources "familiar" with the matter may very well be Congressional aides who want to keep the story alive.

Right now, however, the real jeopardy facing Cohen, and therefore Trump, is centered around the Stormy Daniels story and what Cohen might have done to encourage her silence. While it seems a little strange, the sketch portrayal of the anonymous man who supposedly threatened Daniels (aka Stephanie Cliffords) is one more piece of possible evidence that some of those who surrounded Trump - and remember this was back in 2011 - perhaps used thuggish methods to achieve results. If even half true, that's the real problem for this administration. Not another attempt at reviving the collusion story.

Posted by Keeley at April 18, 2018 4:18 PM
Comments
Comment #426345

Cohen says he didn’t go to Prague, so you can take that as proof that he did. The rest of this article is outdated news snippets. In this era, yesterdays bombshell is today’s old news. The author doesn’t seem to have much knowledge of European geography.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 18, 2018 10:51 PM
Comment #426346

An interesting aspect of the raw intelligence contained in the Steele Dossier is that it only names three Trump team members working with the Russians: Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen. The usefulness of Page and Manafort was lost to the Russians in the summer of 2016. That left Cohen.

From the Dossier:

“COHEN had been accompanied to Prague by 3 colleagues and the timing of the visit was either in the last week of August or the first week of September. One of their main Russian interlocutors was Oleg SOLODUKHIN operating under Rossotrudnichestvo cover. According to [redacted], the agenda comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally.”

Give Cohen’s payments to Stormy Daniels, and the $1.6 million to the playboy model that had an affair with Elliott Broidy and needed an abortion, it makes sense that Cohen would be the one to get the money to the hackers, and make preparations to cover up connections in case HRC won. That kind of activity would be consistent with the role Cohen played in the Trump organization.

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 12:04 AM
Comment #426356
Cohen says he didn’t go to Prague, so you can take that as proof that he did.

phx8, did you read ohrealy’s comment? You don’t have a response to that? You can let that slide?

I guess so, since you wrote the same kind of speculation in your following comment.

Your desperate blather is pathetic.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 19, 2018 9:33 AM
Comment #426358

WW,
Are you enjoying the Mueller investigation’s Gambino style roll-up? They started at the bottom and now they are near the top, flipping one after the other. And remember, we are only seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Sending the Cohen matter to the SDNY makes it very difficult for Trump to pardon his way out of this, since the SDNY state investigation represents a new iceberg where Trump has no power of pardon. And the state and the feds have announced they are exchanging information.

The Republican use the DOJ to distract by attacking HRC, Comey, etc., will not save Trump. There’s only one way out for him. He needs to fire Rosenstein and replace him with a very, very corrupt person like Pruitt from the EPA. That person could take the Mueller report and hide it. No one would ever see it if an acting Deputy AG chose to kill it that way.

If Trump does that, he would face impeachment, but I don’t think the House or Senate Republicans would go through with it. There are enough of them to do away with law and order. A few are already prepared to weaponize the DOJ to attack their political opponents. Their devotion to power and their hatred is far more compelling than their devotion and love of the country.

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 1:19 PM
Comment #426359
Sending the Cohen matter to the SDNY makes it very difficult for Trump to pardon his way out of this, since the SDNY state investigation represents a new iceberg where Trump has no power of pardon. And the state and the feds have announced they are exchanging information. Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 1:19 PM

Since most of Dumpty’s crimes have been in NY, it makes sense.

https://investigaterussia.org/media/2018-04-19/cohen-drops-libel-lawsuits

Cohen was using the same shell company for different clients. Now I’m wondering if he has access to the whole structure, or if they’re going to have to subpoena the accountants. I’ll bet he gets a percentage on deals that he makes.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/michael-cohens-ties-to-russia-crime-and-trump-w518941

Way back when van der Zwaan took his plea, I thought that he was being giving a leash, and he would be re-arrested later.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 19, 2018 1:53 PM
Comment #426360

“There’s only one way out for him.”

Not really.
The Mueller investigation could conclude with no collusion being found. What happens then?

Do you guys realize that 95% of your posts are along the lines of what you hope and think might be, not what you actually know to be fact?

Posted by: kctim at April 19, 2018 2:21 PM
Comment #426361

ohrealy,
Really interesting Rolling Stone article. I knew Cohen had ties to the Russian mob, and I knew he was married to a Ukrainian whose father was involved with Russian real estate deals, but I did not realize the web was so extensive.

kctim,
There is a legal standard, “innocent until proven guilty.” So far, there have been @ 23 people & corporations indicted, and guilty pleas to felonies by the Trump deputy campaign manager, former NSA advisor, and several others. The Trump campaign manager has been indicted on dozens of counts, and they are the kinds of black and white charges that make it highly likely that guy, Paul Manafort, will die in jail.

There is another standard, proof through investigative journalism. Most of what we know about Trump & his involvement with the Russians, a hush money pay-off 11 days before the election, and other activities has come through investigative journalism. Time and again, Trump and his associates have been proven to be liars. Time and again, the goalposts have been moved.

For example, we started with the claim that the Russians were not interfering with the 2016 election.

They interfered.

There was a claim that the Russians preferred Hillary to Trump.

The Russians preferred Trump.

There was a claim that ‘there were no contacts with the campaign and the Russians.’

There were lots of contacts.

There was a claim that there were no meetings between the campaign and Trump.

There were lots of meetings.

There was a claim that there was no collusion.

The meeting in Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, a cutout, and three Russians representing Putin was collusion- that is, conspiracy to violate campaign election laws. Just taking that meeting in the hopes of receiving something of value, ‘dirt on Hillary Clinton,’ constituted conspiracy.

Trump has lied repeatedly, claiming the whole thing was a hoax, a ruse, you name it. His list of lies about the Russians and the election is a loooooong list. In the meantime, Trump has constantly attacked the investigators- the free press, the FBI, and the Intelligence Community, doing his best to discredit them, and demanding the DOJ be used as a weapon to attack his political opponents.

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 2:43 PM
Comment #426363

The proof is in the pudding, and phx8 is starving to death.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 19, 2018 3:45 PM
Comment #426364

Phx8,

How many of those 23 people & corporations have been indicted specifically for colluding with the Russian government?

Proof through investigative journalism? Oh, you mean through a ‘source’ and a ‘source of a source’ and ‘this plus that equals this.’
The problem with that kind of ‘proof’ though, is that most often people only see what they want to believe is true.

“Trump has lied repeatedly, claiming the whole thing was a hoax, a ruse, you name it. His list of lies about the Russians and the election is a loooooong list.”

So what happens if the Mueller investigation proves no collusion and Trump was not lying?

“In the meantime, Trump has constantly attacked the investigators- the free press, the FBI, and the Intelligence Community, doing his best to discredit them, and demanding the DOJ be used as a weapon to attack his political opponents.”

You act as if this is all something new.

Posted by: kctim at April 19, 2018 4:12 PM
Comment #426365

Phx8, IMO I think you should focus more on your Democrats and the message you and other conspiracy theorists like you are pushing. I don’t know where you get the BULLS××T you come up with I search all the news media outlets and find nothing like what you come up with. Using the Steele dossier as I told you in a previous comment is like using gasoline to put out a fire.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at April 19, 2018 5:33 PM
Comment #426366

Re collusion: Manafort’s lawyer forced the issue today, saying that the Mueller investigation exceeded its bounds by charging Manafort with money laundering. The DOJ attorney replied that they were, in fact, looking at Manafort’s involvement with the Russians.

From Bloomberg:

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort stemmed in part from his suspected role as a “back channel” between the campaign and Russians intent on meddling in the election, a Justice Department lawyer told a judge.”

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 5:51 PM
Comment #426367

And from the office of the Assistant AG TRUMP IS NOT I REPEAT NOT involved in the Cohen investigation. Phx8 the KEY WORD in the Manafort investigation is FORMER and SUSPECTED. Suspected of something dose NOT mean he is guilty it just means they are looking into a matter and later may find there is nothing there or they may find he is guilty of a crime, nothing is FACT yet. And by the way what would it have to do with Trump if someone was doing something behind his back? Mueller has indicted a lot of people but only 13 is it have anything to do with Russia and that is because they are Russian and will NEVER see a U. S. Court room.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at April 19, 2018 6:49 PM
Comment #426368

KAP,
There are five redacted pages in the Cohen investigation involving Trump.

You are taking a legal standard of innocent until proven guilty and applying it to all judgments before a legal verdict is passed. If it makes you feel better, it may not be constitutional for Trump to be indicted while president. Personally, I would think it would be possible, but that argument is out there, and the expectation is that Mueller will eventually issue a report to the Deputy AG. It would then by up to the Deputy AG to refer it to Congress.

The Mueller investigation can indict Trump Jr., Kushner, and others. It has already indicted Manafort, and his trial is scheduled to begin in a few weeks. Gates and Flynn pled guilty in exchange for the DOJ dropping the other charges, as long as they cooperate.

Are people like Manafort doing things behind Trump’s back? Trump Jr? Kushner?

Remember, Trump has lied every step of the way. He was briefed by the IC. He knew the truth about Russian interference in the election, and he not only ignored it, he denounced it as a hoax, a ruse, and fake news; he attacked Mueller and virtually everyone involved in the investigation for being conflicted, bad, you name it. He fired Comey over the Russian probe, as he told the Russians in the Oval Office the next day that the pressure was off; he told Lester Holt in an interview later that week that he fired Comey over “the Russia thing.”

At no point did Trump even try to come forth and wipe the slate clean. Just the opposite. Every thing we know about the Russian attack on our democracy has come through investigative journalism, occasional Intel briefings, and announcements of indictments.

Meanwhile, Trump has done everything in his power to placate the Russians. He is totally submissive to Putin. He acts like he is guilty at every step of the way.

Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 7:38 PM
Comment #426369

phx8, This whole investigation is built on a lie so you can stop with the Trump lied BULLS**T. If there was collusion or obstruction it would be out by now, it’s been over a year now, you can’t be that stupid to realize the collusion and obstruction you claim does not exist. As far as you thinking Trump is up Putin’s A**, I don’t think so. You keep up with that BS about Russia and our election process, Obama knew yet did NOTHING if anyone was up Putin’s A** it was Obama. Any collusion was Hillary and Billy.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at April 19, 2018 8:16 PM
Comment #426370

Comet memos made public, redacted version,exhibit “A” for the defence of Trump.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at April 19, 2018 9:35 PM
Comment #426371

That’s Comey not comet.

Posted by: Richard Kapitan at April 19, 2018 9:36 PM
Comment #426374
He is totally submissive to Putin. He acts like he is guilty at every step of the way. Posted by: phx8 at April 19, 2018 7:38 PM

He acts like he owes putain a lot of money. Putain is the wealthiest crook in all of history. Dumpty had nothing but a job given to him by Marc Burnett to play a fictional billionaire on a structured “reality” show. He got millions for that. Millions are not billions. It’s not even close. He built a building in Chicago. He couldn’t repay the loans and sued the lender, accusing them of being mean to him, which he thinks is illegal. The bank was in a bind. His account was transferred from the commercial lending department to the wealth management department. They were managing putain’s wealth, among others. That’s where he got the loans to complete that building while being completely underwater. He now owes putain more than he will ever be worth.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 19, 2018 11:51 PM
Comment #426376

Well, guys! ohrealy has it all wrapped up. I guess we’re gonna have to throw in the towel.

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Comment #426388

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Comment #426393


“He was briefed by the IC. He knew the truth about Russian interference in the election, and he not only ignored it, he denounced it as a hoax, a ruse, and fake news;”

Hmmmm? This is how I remember it Phx8:

The democrats and media told us that Trump won the election because of Russian interference and collusion. President-elect Trump denounced that and called it fake news.

The IC told us that Russian interfered in the election. President-elect Trump “rebuffed allegations that Russia was behind the hacks or was trying to help him win, saying the intrusions could have been carried out by China or a 400-pound hacker on his bed.”
The democrats and media told us that that is proof that Trump won the election because of Russian interference and collusion. President-elect Trump denounced those claims and calls it fake news.

President-elect Trump receives a briefing from intelligence leaders and acknowledges that “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat(ic) National Committee.”

President-elect Trump is sworn in as President.
Daily, the democrats and media tell us hourly that Trump won the election because of Russian interference and collusion. President Trump denounces that and calls it fake news.

“he attacked Mueller and virtually everyone involved in the investigation for being conflicted, bad, you name it.”

Ah, yes, good ole “proof from investigative journalism.”

Posted by: kctim at April 20, 2018 11:13 AM
Comment #426395

kctim,
No need to rely on recollection. Go to the middle column archives from October 2016 and earlier.

Posted by: phx8 at April 20, 2018 12:13 PM
Comment #426396

Funny you should mention that, Phx8. I often review our archives when I have down time.
But, I will stick with providing cut and pastes from actual quotes found on actual news sites, as I just did above.

To be completely honest, this ‘issue’ doesn’t consume my life. IF there was actual collusion, it will come out of the investigation, the proper actions will be taken, and the country will move forward.
With that said, I am always open to facts. So if I missed the facts that throw off the timeline I provided, I am open to them.

Posted by: kctim at April 20, 2018 12:56 PM
Comment #426400

Here is an extensively linked article on Trump and Russia:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/02/27/russia-investigation-if-you-dont-see-conspiracy-its-because-you-dont-want-jason-sattler-column/373938002/

Posted by: phx8 at April 20, 2018 5:24 PM
Comment #426401

phx8, What struck me about your link is Jason Sattler, OPINION columnist. It is more opinion NOT FACT. If you had something from Mueller or the FBI or one of the congressional investigations it would be believable but an OPINION columnist is just that OPINION.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at April 20, 2018 5:34 PM
Comment #426402

Phx8,

Thanks, but I had already seen that opinion piece.

You stated that “Trump has lied every step of the way. He was briefed by the IC. He knew the truth about Russian interference in the election, and he not only ignored it, he denounced it as a hoax, a ruse, and fake news”

I provided quotes that suggest Trump’s use of hoax and fake news is a response to the allegations of collusion, and that he acknowledged Russian interference after he was briefed by the IC.

So how is it a Trump lie?

Oh, and what happens if Mueller doesn’t find collusion?

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