After days of back and forth between legal teams for Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, it appears that Cohen has decided to flip. CNN is reporting that Cohen is willing to testify that Trump knew in advance about the infamous Trump Tower meeting in which Donald Trump Jr and Trump’s senior campaign staff met with Russian operatives.
This would completely contradict statements that Trump and Trump’s staff have—including Sarah Sanders, Rudy Giuliani, and other members of Trump’s legal team—have made on at least 15 occasions. It would at least imply that Trump knew the purposed of the meeting—to solicit harmful information on Hilary Clinton—from the outset. Both Trump’s pretense of not knowing about the meeting until months later, and the excuse that Trump produced stating that the meeting was primarily “about adoption” would be revealed as utter lies. Trump claimed he did not know about the meeting until shortly before information about it was published after he took office.
Among those making denials about Trump’s knowledge of the meeting was Donald Trump Jr, who testified before the Senate Judiciary that Trump Sr. was unaware of the meeting at the time. While Donald Trump’s lies about his knowledge might serve Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into obstruction, the statement from Trump Jr would be simply lying to Congress. Making materially false statement in Congressional testimony is a breach of federal law, even if if not under oath.
CNN does not believe that any of the Cohen’s recordings now in the possession of the FBI contain this information, but Cohen would testify to Trump’s knowledge. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has responded to CNN’s reporting by calling Cohen “not credible.”
It does not appear that, at of Thursday evening, Cohen has made an actual arrangement with the special counsel’s office. Instead, the offer of testimony concerning Trump’s knowledge of the meeting seems to be more of an offer put forward by Cohen in the hopes of securing a deal.
Steve Bannon had previously come just short of saying that Trump knew about the meeting, saying that the odds that Trump Jr did not talk if over in advance were “zero.”
Cohen’s legal team has indicated that Cohen did not leak the information, and speculation has pointed to Rudy Giuliani or some other member of Trump’s team as the source of this story. However, this seems … like an idiotic play. Like a play that even Trump would recognize as profoundly dunderpated. Like a play that even Rudy Giuliani would understand as a Seriously Bad Move. … Stay tuned.