Third Party & Independents Archives

What Does Michael Cohen Possibly Know?

If Michael Cohen is going to supposedly flip, what does he know? Specifically, what does he know about any possible, but as-yet-unproven, Russian ties with the Trump campaign?

One wonders because an interesting fact has reportedly emerged in the Manafort trial where Mueller has thrown a slew of financial charges against Manafort in an apparent bid to get him to testify against the President. Almost all the charges have nothing at all to do with Trump. Most of the charges are from about a decade ago. But a handful of charges do have a very slender link to Trump as detailed by Byron York in his latest piece on the trial in the Washington Examiner. Here’s what he writes:

To those Trump opponents who had hoped Mueller would unveil evidence of Trump-Russia collusion involving Manafort, it was a sharp and stunning admission: there's no collusion in the case against Manafort.

But Mueller did argue that the case has something to do with Trump. And this is it:

Most of the 32 counts against Manafort in the Virginia case concern alleged crimes that took place long before there was a Trump campaign. Some go back as far as 2006. But four of the counts involve a pair of loans Manafort took out between April 2016 and January 2017. For a few months during that time period, Manafort worked for the Trump campaign.

The financial institution involved was likely the Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank and the executive was likely CEO Stephen Calk who later managed to be named to the Trump campaign as an economic adviser and who unsuccessfully lobbied for a job in Trump's administration after the election.

Mueller has not suggested that Trump himself played any part in any possible quid pro quo between Manafort and Calk but he is apparently investigating the possibility of some sort of arrangement between Calk and Cohen.

This horse-trading is somewhat unseemly but is in of itself not necessarily even illegal and is unrelated in the least bit to any possible Russian collusion.

Given Mueller is willing to cast his net this wide (with aides like Andrew Weissmann doing most of the actually fishing one suspects) what does he have on Cohen? Or more precisely what does the FBI have on Cohen?

If there is detailed information on supposed - and apparently substantial - payments from Columbus Nova - an investment firm with ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg who is supposed to be close to Putin - then Cohen might provide some damaging information to say the least. But right now nothing has emerged from the Mueller probe to indicate that sort of smoking financial gun. Not yet at least.

Cohen seems to have done more than his fair share of "fixing" for President Trump in years gone by. Could he have been suckered into accepting something like a million dollars by an investment firm purporting to be solely seeking influence for its American owners? Or was he perfectly aware who apparently runs Columbus Nova and what they might be seeking with such a payment?

It seems potentially troubling. But will it pan out, or will it fizzle into a series of charges completely unrelated to any sort of Russian influence peddling and possible cooperation by the Trump campaign?

We'll know when and if Cohen decides to share what he knows with the prosecutors. Whether they're Mueller's prosecutors or local SDNY ones.

Posted by AllardK at July 11, 2018 5:24 PM
Comment #428874

Mueller already knows whatever Cohen knows, so he’s letting that case stay in NY. You should read the responses to the articles here instead of writing more of your uninformed nonsense. Money launderers pay “consulting fees” to people who set up shell companies. Cohen knows all about that.

If Manafort’s charges have nothing to do with trAmp, then how come Wilbur Ross became Commerce Secretary?

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