Eli Ridder | Analysis
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted “totally clears the President” late Friday night after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed two new documents, but analysts find the tweet could be farthest from the truth.
The first filing was a sentencing document over Michael Cohen’s assistance to Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
A memo detailing how Paul Manafort broke a plea agreement was filed within an hour of the Cohen story breaking.
So what did we learn? We’ve compiled a point-by-point on the details gathered, from looking at the documents and also from analyst breakdowns.
Here are the top revelations:
- Fixer Cohen was directed by Trump to pay off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Cohen had already pleaded guilty to skirting around campaign finance laws to make this happen. Trump has previously denied that he was the source of the cash or that he made the decision for the several hundred thousand dollar payoffs.
- Ex-Trump campaign manager Manafort falsified the extent of his communications with Russian Konstantin Kilimnik, an intelligence operative tied to the agency that allegedly hacked the Democratic Party, which led to Wikileaks publishing emails.
- Mueller said Cohen did not pursue the conversation further with this individual, but a Russian national had reached out in the early months of the Trump campaign in 2015 to offer “political synergy”.
- Cohen lied to the U.S. Congress about the extent of his involvement with the Trump Tower Moscow project, in an attempt to hide the lucrative proposal, which would have needed Russian government support.
So what does this mean for Trump? Legal analysts and political pundits across Western media point to Mueller “closing in” on the U.S. president.
Don’t forget, Democrats just won the House of Representatives and have repeatedly confirmed there will be investigations moving forward from the powerful committees, such as the Oversight Committee.
Has collusion been proven? No, neither filing from Friday or the earlier filing in Michael Flynn earlier this week reveals a smoking gun on collusion between Trump and Russia or obstruction of justice — both argued as impeachable offences.
However, whatever the truth is in the end, it appears Mueller is close to finding it.
Image of Robert Mueller from previous files.