Cohen plea deal may actually exonerate President?
The Cohen plea deal has been interesting. Across the old media pundits have been licking their chops. It’s Mueller Time! Again. We think. Probably? Oh for sure. They got him. The Trump bastard is going down.
Maybe. Maybe THIS time will be the time. Maybe the dreams of the pundits will be realized THIS TIME. Maybe this time Orange Man’s powers won’t work. Maybe this time, with a Democratic Congress on the way they finally got him - for something. Friggen ANYTHING.
But maybe not. In fact, very likely not.
It would be nice if we could get past the Mueller stuff and focus on actual policy. It would be nice to criticize Mr. Trump for his legitimate mistakes rather than have to continue listening to the blathering about Stormy Daniels, or false reports of Manafort meeting with Julian Assange (this was a particularly egregious bit of “fake news” from The Guardian last week) or whatever. There are real things happening. China, Europe, North Korea, tariffs. Lot's of stuff. But "Orange Man Bad" is all we hear from some news outlets.
Perhaps this time, 2 years in, Mueller finally came up with something. But as The National Review explained 2 days ago, “Special Counsel Mueller is building a report, not a case”.
Despite the yearning of the president’s “enemies” Mueller does not appear to have much.
The real flaw was the assumption that Special Counsel Mueller is lining up witnesses and building a criminal case, as prosecutors do.
He is not.
No prosecutor builds a case the way Mueller is going about it. What prosecutor says, “Here’s our witness line-up: Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Alex van der Zwaan, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen. And what is it that they have in common, ladies and gentlemen of the jury? Bingo! They’re all convicted liars.”?
Our bet is that Mueller wants to get out of this thing without looking like a fool, or worse. It is very unlikely (though not impossible, nothing is impossible) that he will emerge as some hero of justice as so many Trump haters had hoped. It appears that at best he’ll do a report and he'll embarrass the President to some degree and in some way. He’ll give fodder to the Democrats to continue their song and dance until 2020. He’ll get a huge book deal, that is almost a given. The book will be released right before the 2020 election for sure. He’ll also be able to hold his head high on the Georgetown cocktail circuit. But, in all likelihood, he will not have “gotten” Trump.
REAL CLEAR INVESTIGATIONS, part of the very fair, and in many respects deliberately transpartisan REAL CLEAR Network, just put out a piece that goes beyond The National Review. The headline reads;
For Trump, Cohen Plea Deal's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Exoneration
The nine-page charging document filed with the plea deal suggests that the special counsel is using the Moscow tower talks to connect Trump to Russia. But congressional investigators with House and Senate committees leading inquiries on the Russia question told RealClearInvestigations that it looks like Mueller withheld from the court details that would exonerate the president…
…On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox.
Generally speaking conspirators don’t have to cold email the people they want to conspire with.
Indeed things are not looking good for the folks who desperately want SOMETHING, ANYTHING, to come from the Mueller investigation. Cohen's plea looks to be another nothingburger. And how many nothingburgers is it at this point?