Developments in the Mueller Investigation
By Bill Phan
As Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, walks out of a federal court in New York, surrounded by police from the Department of Homeland Security, the nation once again sees an interesting, if not confusing or even frightening side of American politics.
After being interviewed by the Mueller team for 70 hours, it was revealed that Cohen, sentenced to three years in prison, admitted to “lying to Congress and Mueller’s investigators about the timing of a proposed Trump tower in Moscow and Trump’s involvement in the project,” Bloomberg reported. Cohen was sentenced on nine felonies concerning income tax evasion, giving women who had allegedly had affairs with the President “hush money” and lying to banks and Congress, Bloomberg also wrote.
Another Trump associate, the President’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, went to court recently. Slate reported that on December 11th, Flynn’s lawyer pleaded no jail time on grounds that Flynn has been cooperative in the Mueller investigation. They also accused FBI agents of “tricking him into lying,” according to the New York Times.
The Times also reported last year on Mr. Flynn’s crimes of “lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador [in] December [of 2016]” involving “coordinated effort by Mr. Trump’s aides to create foreign policy before they were in power.”
Another Trump associate that was in the spotlight recently is the President’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Manafort is a convicted felon who has been in jail since June “for alleged witness tampering,” according to Politico. Mr. Mueller’s team accused Manafort of lying to prosecutors, violating his plea agreement. Manafort was charged with 8 felony counts.. He is set to be sentenced in February 8th, 2019.
In response to these developments, the President’s White House Counsel and former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, told Yahoo News in a telephone call that Mueller needs to “wrap the damn thing up, and if he’s got anything, show us.” Mr. Giuliani also claimed that Mueller “can’t prosecute Trump” in the same call. Giuliani then voiced to discredit Mr. Cohen, calling him “a completely dishonorable person. … I’ve never heard of a lawyer that tape-recorded their client without the client’s permission, and I’ve known some pretty scummy lawyers”.
Another critic of the Mueller investigation is Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor and frequent patron of both CNN and Fox News interviews. Mr. Dershowitz argued that Mueller’s findings contain “lots of sins” but none of which could resolve in the President’s impeachment, adding that “The president's not going be impeached unless massive new information comes out” and alleging that the Special Counsel has only unearthed “circumstantial evidence,” according to reporting by The Hill and Dershowitz’s appearance on Fox News.
The Hill also reported a series of tweets by the President, in which he claimed that “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law.” Mr. Trump also said that I’m not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened.” The President also expressed anger concerning Mr. Cohen’s sentence in earlier tweets, saying that Cohen could “do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump” and “get his wife and father-in-law off Scott Free.”
The New York Times further reports for context that Mr. Cohen worked “as a personal injury lawyer and built his own taxi business” through Fima Shusterman, his father-in-law and Ukrainian immigrant. His business, according to the Times, was linked to organized crime in New York, Florida, and Chicago.