Drawing of Moscow Trump Tower: Darcy cartoon

November 30, 2018

Drawing of Moscow Trump Tower: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Trump Tower of lies grew ever higher with the latest guilty plea reached in the Robert Mueller-led Russia investigation.

Longtime Trump lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about efforts by then presidential candidate Donald Trump to get a Trump Tower built in Moscow.

In his plea deal, Cohen admitted work on the proposed development deal actually continued well into June 2016, in the thick of the presidential campaign.  Cohen also said he had discussed the project with candidate Trump and Trump family members more than he had divulged in his Congressional testimony.

At one point Cohen was in direct contact with individuals in Putin’s office about the deal.

Cohen said he lied to protect Trump, by not contradicting Trump’s messaging on the campaign tail.   During the 2016 campaign, Trump virguousy denied any business dealings in Russia, beyond holding his Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.  He denied having any Russia investments or debts.

BuzzFeed reports that it was proposed Putin be given the penthouse in the tower. The penthouse gift, valued at $50 million, was intended to entice Putin to sign off on the deal and Russian oligarchs to buy units in the tower. 

So, at the same time U.S. intelligence agencies now say Russia was interfering in the 2016 election, and Trump was denying any Russia business deals, members of Trump’s and Putin’s offices were in direct contact discussing building a Trump Tower in Moscow which would include a $50 million penthouse reserved for Putin.

A rattled President Trump denied Cohen’s claims.  Trump claimed Cohen was lying in an effort to reduce potentially long prison sentences he’s facing.

Cohen’s account is backed up by Robert Mueller as credible based on corroborating evidence Mueller’s investigation has gathered.  

Trump said he did nothing wrong, regardless of what Cohen claims.

“Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign.   I was running my business, a lot of different things, during the campaign,”  Trump told reporters 

If it really didn’t matter, why was Trump so adamant in denying any Russian deals?  Clearly Trump feared if it became known that efforts were ongoing to build a Moscow Trump Tower, that included a Putin penthouse, he would not be the nominee, let alone president.

Trump can technically say he didn’t have any Russia deal, since it didn’t get done.  What he can’t say is that he wasn’t trying to do a Russia deal while running for president and the same time the convention platform was changed to a pro-Russia stance on Ukraine.

What should really concern Trump is do the answers he just gave to Mueller’s questions contradict what Cohen is telling Mueller?   

Does what Cohen told Mueller contradict what Donald Trump Jr. told Congress?

Cohen has spent over 70 hours being interviewed by Mueller and his team and is still working with them.  As is the Trump organization’s financial officer, who likely knows more damaging information than Cohen.

It’s not going unnoticed by Mueller that the Trump Tower Moscow deal was being brokered by Felix Sater.  Sater is a Russian immigrant and former broker for the Trump organization.  Sater also helped set up Don Jr’s infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump tower.

While they were trying to get the tower deal done, Sater sent Cohen the following email message looking forward to Trump becoming president:

“Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it.  I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

The fact that Trump was still pushing to do the Russia development while he was the Republican presidential campaign frontrunner is more evidence that Trump still didn’t expect to win and that his real motivation for running was to boost his celebrity and business brand.

Cohen’s plea testimony also confirms what many had long speculated.  That Trump’s fawning treatment of Putin is in part due to Trump’s Russian business interests.

More significant than Cohen knowing Trump was lying to voters about his Russia business interests, is that Putin knew Trump was lying to the voters and could blackmail him over it.   What else does Putin know about Trump and his family that American voters don’t?  

Update hourly