Though Michael Cohen is often described as Trump’s personal attorney, his work for the president is far closer to that of a “fixer” than an actual legal adviser.
Mueller is still reportedly investigating a decision to remove language supporting lethal weapons for Ukraine from the GOP party platform, a surprising reversal of a key attack on President Obama’s Ukraine policy. While Republicans—House Intel Committee members in particular—have tried to downplay that event, consider it in the broader timeline of Trump-Russia collusion. This could be a down payment on a quid for Russian interference quo. In other words, the platform change is a clear and tangible deliverable from Trump to Russia.
A report from Vox last week shows one of the clearest executions of what collusion looks like. In the final weeks before the election, the Trump campaign weaponized a WikiLeaks email release by amplifying and twisting the meaning of one stolen email chain.
The House Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is exactly the partisan document everyone expected it to be. It shows the committee’s investigation wasn’t about getting to the bottom of what happened, but was instead a partisan effort by Trump’s congressional accomplices to exonerate him and his campaign—even in the face of rapidly mounting evidence of their crimes.
Last Thursday night, just hours after they were given to Congress in response to repeated demands from GOP committee leadership, former FBI Director James Comey’s memos regarding his conversations with President Donald Trump were leaked to the press. One notable revelation was that Trump, unprompted, not only denied having consorted with prostitutes during his trip to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant but even denied spending the night in the city at all. (Trump, true to form, has denied ever making the claim.) As Comey told CNN, “It’s always significant when someone lies, especially about something you didn’t ask about.” That’s especially true when the lie is this easy to debunk.
By reversing his administration's decision to issue new sanctions against Russia, President Trump has continued a clear pattern that would be inexplicable in any other administration: repeatedly undermining US government efforts to apply pressure on Russia. In Trump’s case, the reason isn't inexplicable–it's crystal clear.