As noted by The Hill, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) testimony by Michael Cohen means that Trump allegedly committed two felonies.

Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and frequent Trump critic, told MSNBC's Chris Matthews on "Hardball" that "we have a sitting president of the United States who committed two felonies while running for president.”

"Totally Clears the President"'?

LAWFARE has a different take in its more balanced article 'Totally Clears the President'? What Those Cohen and Manafort Filings Really Say.

President Trump responded to today’s filings from federal prosecutors in the cases of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort with a Twitter cry of triumph.

But let’s take a few moments to explore the contours of the president’s vindication in the briefs filed early Friday evening.

As to the substance of the government’s memos in the Cohen cases, they provide little basis for the president’s cries of exoneration.

What makes this document extraordinary is the government’s restatement of the most striking portion of Cohen’s August admissions in its own voice: Cohen indicated that he committed campaign finance violations at the direction of the candidate who conducted an “ultimately successful” campaign for president.

In short, the Department of Justice, speaking through the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is alleging that the president of the United States coordinated and directed a surrogate to commit a campaign finance violation punishable with time in prison. While the filing does not specify that the president “knowingly and willfully” violated the law, as is required by the statute, this is the first time that the government has alleged in its own voice that President Trump is personally involved in what it considers to be federal offenses.

And it does not hold back in describing the magnitude of those offenses. The memo states that Cohen’s actions, “struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency. While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows.”

One struggles to see how a document that alleges that such conduct took place at the direction of Individual-1 “totally clears the president.”

What should one make of all of this? It has long been clear that the Russian side of L’Affaire Russe involved a long-running, systematic effort to reach out to members of the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign. Mueller’s account of Cohen’s November 2015 conversation about “political synergy” is just one more thread in that pattern. What is less certain is whether and how that Russian effort was reciprocated by those surrounding the president. Friday’s court filings don’t substantially clarify that issue, but they do add more detail and texture to an already troubling picture.


Mueller is still not ready to show his hand on the key substantive questions. But President Trump should should probably go easy on the cries of vindication. They may age badly, and they may do so quickly.

Cohen Lied

Cohen's main problem is that he lied. He made false statements to US Congress.

On November 29, he plead guilty to making false statements to Congress.

Those statements do not convict Trump of anything.

I sent both articles to a couple of legal scholars that I know. Both expressed similar ideas.

Key Ideas

  • The LAWFARE article is quite comprehensive and appropriately cautious. This is all an exercise in reading tea leaves, but it is clear that Trump has some big legal issues ahead. Mueller is showing more of his hand on the Russia link, but it’s becoming clear he’s got one. No telling how strong yet.
  • The Hill article reminds me of CNN these days. Way too much speculation.
  • Trump’s exoneration claim is, of course, idiotic.

To get Trump based on what we know now, prosecutors would have to prove he “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign finance law.

That a tough thing to do. There may be other charges that do not require such proof.

LAWFARE handled the analysis well. The Hill is mostly a political clickbait rag with autoplay video ads as your "reward" for clicking.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Trump Mocked From Both Sides After Caving In, Coulter Claims "Biggest Wimp Ever"

Ann Coulter and Republican Senators blasted Trump following his cave-in. Democrats mocked him.

Trump Claims "Meaningful" Talks at the "Highest Level", China Doesn't Confirm

Trump eased back on China this morning. He claims China called him. No one can confirm. And Trump won't talk about it.

Mueller Investigation Ends With Total Vindication of Trump, But Democrats Will Press On: Wikileaks Saves Trump?

Trump is completely exonerated in my view, but others will disagree. Expect Democrats to foolishly press on.

Impeach Trump Stampede Won't do Democrats Any Good

Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry based on claims Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden.

Trump Targets 4 Democrat Congresswomen: "Go Back"

In a series of Tweets, Trump tells a group of Democrats "Go Back" to your crime-infested countries and fix the problems.

Free Trade Good or Bad? Trump's Amazing Impact on Republicans and Democrats

The shift of Democrats towards supporting free trade, and Republicans the opposite is a sight to behold. Blame Trump.

Trump Threatens to Cut GM Subsidies, Repeats "Magic Wand" Claim

In September, Trump proclaimed he had an economic magic wand. He made a similar claim yesterday, then threatened GM.

Project Veritas: Investigating the Claim "Google Plans to Hack the 2020 Election

Project Veritas released video that purportedly prove Google hopes to rig the 2020 election for Democrats.

Trump Discusses Firing Fed Chair Jerome Powell: Can He? Sure!

Trump is extremely displeased with Powell's rate hikes. Trump has asked advisors if he can fire Powell. Watch out.