Ten Days Away

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Yup.  No blogging for quite ten days.  I was taking some R&R in Costa Rica.

I TRIED to stay off the grid — in fact, I thought I wouldn’t be able to get on the grid even if I wanted to. But alas, they have Internet there too.

What did I miss? CNN reported last Thursday that Michael Cohen was prepared to testify that Donald Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian emissaries supposedly bearing dirt on Hillary Clinton. That was, as many say, a game changer. On the other hand, this is Michael Cohen we’re talking about. He’s not exactly a stellar witness (at least not yet), and the CNN story said all this was based solely on Cohen’s word that he had witnessed Trump being told about the meeting before it happened, which makes the assertion less than airtight.

But the response of the Trump team suggests that there were shaken by the story.  Trump went on an EPIC Twitter rant, repeated going after Mueller by name.

Then Rudy opened his big yap again and (inadvertently?) spilled the beans about a pre-meeting BEFORE the infamous Trump Tower meeting… that Trump knew about.  Then, of course, Rudy backtracked and said the meeting never happened:

The day began with a morning interview with Fox & Friends, during which Giuliani insisted that “collusion [with Russian election-meddlers] is not a crime” in the first place. He then headed to CNN where he proceeded to, ostensibly, break a bit of news about the infamous Trump Tower meeting that the president’s son took with a Russian lawyer reportedly tied to Kremlin officials.

Two days before that meeting, Giuliani relayed, former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen claimed that there was a separate meeting; this one, involving five people, including Cohen himself. According to Giuliani, three of the five people in that supposed meeting told him “it didn’t take place.” Not only that, they had done so “under oath on it and the other two couldn’t possibly reveal it because [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller never asked us about it.”

“You get to the other meeting he says he was at, that the president wasn’t at…with Donald [Trump] Jr., Jared [Kushner], [Paul] Manafort…[Rick] Gates and one other person. Cohen also now says that—he says too much—that two days before he was participating in a meeting with roughly the same group of people—but not the president, definitely not the president—in which they were talking about the strategy of the meeting with the Russians,” Giuliani continued. “The people in that meeting deny it, the people who we’ve been able to interview. The people we’ve not been able to interview have never said that about that meeting.”

To numerous observers, this was incredibly confusing and potentially damaging. There had never been reports of a planning meeting. And the Trump team had long insisted that the actual meeting itself was so innocent and irrelevant as to barely even register in their memories—which likely would not have been the case if they had been planning for it.

Yes, Giuliani had denied it took place. But why was he even talking about it in the first place?

Economic news was good for Trump, although he exaggerated it (economic growth for one quarter is not economic growth for the entire year).

The Mueller investigation seems to be getting to Trump as he keeps tweeting about the “witchhunt” and “fake news” so on, like earlier today…

… but it is getting repetitive.

And notably, the goalposts have moved again.

First, it was: There was no meeting with the Russians.

Then: Okay, there was a meeting with the Russians, but I didn’t know about it.

Then: Okay, I knew about the meeting with the Russians, but there was no collusion.

And now:  Okay, collusion isn’t a crime.


Collusion isn’t a crime — he’s right about that — unless the collusion was for an illegal purpose. That would make it a conspiracy. A conspiracy with Russians to hack the DNC.  A conspiracy to commit election fraud.  Something like that.

I don’t know if that existed, or if it can be shown and proven.  But Trump is not acting like an innocent person.  It could have something to do with the reported 100+ tapes that Michael Cohen has.