Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen (pictured) says Trump knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting in which three Kremlin-linked envoys were expected to offer material damaging Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s son Donald Jr. welcomed the encounter in Trump Tower in New York, telling the broker of the meeting about the anti-Clinton offer, “I love it.” Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also attended.
Russian operatives soon disseminated the material, with Trump encouraging the hacking of Clinton’s server in a July 27 speech — the same day that Russian hackers first attempted to get into the Democratic nominee’s e-mails.
Twelve Russian military intelligence officers were indicted on July 13 over the operations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Sources say Cohen, who is facing trial in New York over financial affairs, will affirm that he was present when Trump was informed of the Russian offer by Trump Jr., and that Trump approved the meeting.
The claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Trump Jr., their lawyers, and other administration officials who have said that Trump knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting before it was revealed by The New York Times in July 2017.
On June 7, 2016, two days before the meeting, Trump told a rally:
I am going to give a major speech on — probably Monday of next week — and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative, and very, very interesting.
CNN put together video of Trump suspiciously teasing a major speech in which he'd share dirt about Hillary just 2 days before the Trump Tower meeting where Russians promised to give him such dirt, followed by Trump camp's repeated denials that Trump knew about meeting in advance pic.twitter.com/aQDn8Xinde
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2018
Initially, Trump Jr. tried to quash the story by saying the discussion was brief and only about “adoptions”. Trump Sr. is under investigation for reportedly drafting the false statement.
Sources said Cohen does not have physical evidence, such as audio recordings, but is willing to attest to his account in court.
Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis would not comment on the report, but Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani attacked Cohen as a “pathological liar”: “He’s been lying all week, he’s been lying for years. I don’t see how he’s got any credibility.”
Cohen has reportedly cooperated with Special Counsel Mueller since the attorney’s home, hotel room, and office were raided by the FBI in April in a case brought by Federal prosecutors in New York.
Earlier this week, Cohen unsettled the Trump camp with the release of an audio which appears to confirm that Trump knew about a $150,000 payoff to quash the story of one of his mistresses, former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
EU’s Secret With Trump? Colorful Cue Cards
How did the European Union, in return for nominal steps on US goods, get Donald Trump to back off threats of further tariffs?
Colorful cue cards.
On Wednesday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude turned Trump’s recent insults and declaration of a European “foe” into warm praise by presenting bullet points on more than a dozen cards. Each had no more than three figures, for example, on trade in automobiles or standards for medical devices.
“We knew this wasn’t an academic seminar,” a EU official said. “It had to be very simple.”
At the press conference with Juncker, Trump stopped his talk of tariffs on European automobiles, especially from Germany, and spoke about moves to reduce duties — although he did not lift the 25% steel and 10% aluminum charges levied on EU members this spring.
The US measures on $7.7 billion of EU output brought European retaliation on $3.3 billion of US goods such as motorcycles, jeans, and bourbon whiskey.
Russians Targeted Missouri Senator in 1st Hacking Attempt for 2018 Elections
In their first attempt to influence mid-term Congressional elections in November, Russian hackers tried to get into the correspondence of the office of Senator Claire McCaskill.
McCaskill is considered to be in a challenging campaign for re-election. In 2016, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by almost 20% in Missouri.
The attempted hack in August 2017 was unsuccessful. It was a variant of the password-stealing technique used by the “Fancy Bear” operation, run by Russian military intelligence, against Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in 2016.
At the time of the Russian intervention, Trump traveled to Missouri and chided McCaskill, telling the crowd to “vote her out of office”.
McCaskill said on Thursday:
I’m not going to speak of it right now.I think we’ll have something on it next week. I’m not going to speak about it right now. I can’t confirm or do anything about it right now.