The MSM's 'Collusion' Reality TV Show
Does Michael Cohen's lying prove Trump colluded with Russia? Not even close.
The Leftmedia is ever in search of salacious fodder to keep Americans on the edge of their seats and tuned in 24/7. And in a strikingly similar vein, Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s supposed “collusion” with Russia in 2016 — or at least Russian interference in the American election — has the distinct whiff of an investigation in search of a crime to justify its existence. Mueller and the media have made quite a team over the last 18 months, keeping President Trump under a constant cloud of suspicion. Then again, Trump does like his “reality” TV…
The latest “smoking gun” is that Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the chronology of Trump’s business dealings in Moscow. Trump and Cohen regularly and categorically denied business interests in Russia after January 2016, when in fact Trump was pursuing building a Trump Tower in Moscow well into the summer of 2016. The tower was never built, so Trump didn’t technically lie even if he was far from forthright. A billionaire developer is going to have some dealings that look shady if not skirt the law or create ties with those who have. That includes 30 years of dealings in Russia.
Meanwhile, Team Mueller for the first time let it be known that Trump is “Individual 1” — and a major subject of interest — in the investigation. Cohen admitted to making false statements “to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and to be loyal to Individual 1.” That all goes back to the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Russian attorney ostensibly offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump denied knowing about the meeting, though Cohen now says he gave Trump direct updates in advance.
Predictably, Democrats seized on the “revelations” to accuse Trump of lying and colluding, while Trump and his defenders dismissed the news as the latest chapter of Mueller’s “witch hunt.” But, liberal Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz put things in perspective: “I think the weakness of Mueller’s substantive findings are suggested by the fact that he has to resort to false statement prosecutions, which really shows that he didn’t start with very much… In the end, I don’t think Mueller’s going to come up with very much…and that’s pretty shocking. … The problem is Mueller is straying away from his mandate to find crime, and he is now looking for political sin. … He has no authority to be a roving commissioner to find political sins.”
As a result of his measured approach to the Mueller probe, The Washington Post identifies Dershowitz as “a Trump ally.”
Certainly, this story doesn’t look good for Trump — any more than Cohen taking the fall for campaign-finance violations in connection to paying off Trump’s adulterous porn-star dalliances. But neither has Mueller proved any underlying crime. His only charges so far, beyond the aforementioned campaign-finance violations, are for perjury committed during the investigation. Business dealings and lying about those dealings do not constitute “colluding with Russia” to steal the 2016 election — not even remotely.
Yet as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy put it:
Rather than ending the investigation because the suspected crime cannot be established, Mueller is apparently determined to prove ‘collusion’ that is not criminal, however nefarious it may be made to appear. The prosecutor’s objective appears to be to show: (a) that ties between Donald Trump and the Russian regime were more elaborate than Trump has let on, and (b) that the Russian regime offered help to the Trump campaign in the form of information that would be politically damaging to Hillary Clinton, and the Trump campaign knowingly and eagerly accepted that offer — i.e., collusion to affect the outcome of the election.
Now, such a showing of collusion could be politically damaging. It might even be something on which the Democratic-controlled House could try to build an impeachment effort. But it is not a criminal conspiracy because it does not establish an agreement to commit a federal crime.
In fact, notes Byron York, “The Cohen plea agreement also made news in what it did not cover. Specifically, it spoke volumes — without saying a word — about a key allegation of the Trump dossier, the charge that Cohen traveled to Prague to arrange secret payments to Russian hackers attacking the Clinton campaign. The accusation is the heart of the collusion allegation, and Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller’s deal with Cohen strongly suggests that prosecutors have not found evidence to support it.” Reminder: That dossier was opposition research funded by Hillary Clinton.
On a final note, Trump was perfectly within his rights to continue doing business as a candidate. But it was Barack Obama who told the Russians he would have more “flexibility” after his reelection, with clear implications of collusion putting our national security at risk.