“If You Lie, If You Lie Even A Little…”

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Thoughts on last night’s Buzzfeed bombshell

(1) “Cautiously optimistic” is the optimal response. No other news outlet has confirmed it through their own sources. On the other hand, the Buzzfeed reporters (Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold) have had Trump-Russia scoops before which panned out as true, way before other news organizations.

(2) In any event, Michael Cohen is testifying on February 7. He will (one hopes) confirm the story then. So an already riveting hearing just got more riveting.

(3) Rudy and Trump have given non-denial denials which attack the credibility of Cohen, which is odd since the Buzzfeed source wasn’t Cohen — it was two law enforcement sources. In fact, Mueller apparently knew from documentary evidence that Trump asked Cohen to perjure himself; Cohen merely confirmed it to Mueller. So if there are documents (like emails) which prove that Trump was asking Cohen to lie, attacking Cohen’s credibility seems pointless.

(4) By the way, when Trump makes insinuations about Cohen’s father-in-law, that is witness intimidation and obstruction of justice. In broad daylight.

(5) I have always said that impeachment hearings in the House should be held off until we see the conclusions of the Mueller report. But if Cohen confirms the Buzzfeed story on February 7, then the impeachment hearings need to start right away. You don’t need to wait on “collusion” or anything else. Suborning perjury is a serious felony that gets you five years in the pen.

(6) Don’t blow this off as just another in a series of bad things that the President has done. This significantly moves the ball forward. Even the firing of Comey, which was (to most people) obstruction of justice — even THAT could be danced around by a crafty legal defense. But this — if there is corroboration and emails — has the potential to be THE smoking gun that ends the Trump presidency, full stop.

Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski:

“When I went up there,” he says, recalling his installment as Watergate prosecutor, “I thought he had been victimized by his staff. I thought he had a staff that had done things on their own. That they had not let their chief know that they were participating in these cheap doings. I thought they had been doing this on their own primarily, and that Nixon was not aware of it. I thought he should have been aware of it, but that’s a far different question from active participation in it, you know.

“What happened is, when I heard this tape recording where he was schooling [ chief of staff H. R.] Haldeman on how to lie, when I got to that part of it — boy! I’ll tell you! — was it a new ball game as far as I was concerned! I just shuddered at the thought of what this was going to lead to.”

(7) I am reminded of President Bartlet’s scandal and his words to his aide, Charlie. What a difference.

UPDATE — Ah. Finally. An actual denial.