Is Robert Mueller political by nature
Donald Trump and Robert Mueller : New difficulties for "Individual 1"
What is noteworthy about Robert Mueller's investigations is usually that everything does not get outside. The special investigator, who on behalf of the American Justice Department is supposed to find out whether there was a collaboration between Donald Trump's team and Russia in the 2016 presidential election campaign, succeeds in something that has become rare in times of leaks and indiscretions: the public basically knows little about the exact details Status and actual extent of the investigation.
He does not give interviews either, unlike, for example, the special investigator Kenneth Star, who investigated the Bill Clinton affair. And yet: Again and again there is a kind of intermediate result about the track, about the suspicious facts, which Mueller's team has been investigating since May 2017.
On Friday, Mueller had to file a statement with a federal court in New York on the question of how the former lawyer of US President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, behaved in the investigation and what punishment would therefore be appropriate for him. The sentence will be announced next Wednesday for Cohen, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to Congress when he was questioned about Trump's Moscow real estate project and his contacts in Moscow. In addition, the federal prosecutor's office accused him of tax fraud and violations of campaign finance laws, so they demanded a “long” prison sentence for Cohen.
In his statement, Mueller praised him for the "substantial" support he provided with his investigations. Above all, however, what is explosive is what emerges from Mueller's input and probably points to a focus of Mueller's investigations. According to this, Russian citizens made contact with Trump's environment at an early stage of the presidential election campaign, through Cohen. In November 2015 he spoke to a Russian who had offered to establish “political” cooperation with Russia at “government level”.
The Russian has also repeatedly proposed a meeting between "Individual 1" and Russian President Vladimir Putin to Cohen. "Individual 1" is Mueller's name for Trump. Such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” effect on a political level - and on a business one. By the latter, it is said, the Russian meant the “Moscow project”, that is, Trump's ultimately unsuccessful plan to build a high-rise with luxury apartments in the Russian capital. Cohen did not respond to the offer to mediate a meeting between Trump and Putin. However, Cohen continued to pursue the Moscow project until June 2016, as he recently admitted - until a point in time when Trump was already the Republican candidate for the presidential election.
Trump claims to this day that he has no business relations with Russia
Trump claimed in the election campaign - and continues to do so to this day - that he had no business relationships in Russia. If Mueller can prove that the Republican presidential candidate was speculating on a lucrative deal for his family business that the Russian government would help him with, that would be a real scandal - especially if Trump, for example, imposed an end to the Kremlin because of the Ukraine crisis Would have promised sanctions. It remains to be seen whether Mueller will succeed. But apparently his investigations are going in that direction.
It is also interesting what Mueller said about Cohen, whom he interviewed seven times. Cohen gave the investigators "useful information" that related to the core of the Russia investigation, i.e. the suspected cooperation of Trump's team with Russia, as well as information that related to his contacts in 2017 and 2018 with people around the White House would have to do. This suggests that Mueller has other trump cards up his sleeve, for example with regard to a potential obstruction of justice by the president.
Trump's environment reacts in the usual way: with forward defense. As soon as there is another detail from Mueller's investigation known, the president and his people try to take control of the interpretation. Trump wrote on Friday evening (local time) in the short message service Twitter that he himself would be declared "completely" innocent by Mueller's new documents in the Cohen case. And his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders added that the documents contained “nothing of value that was not previously known”.
Manafort is said to have lied to him five times, says Mueller
There was also news on Friday in the case of Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager. He lied to him five times on important issues, Mueller told a judge in Washington, although Manafort had agreed to cooperate. It is also about contacts to Russia. Among other things, Manafort had told investigators that he no longer had any contact with the White House - which turned out to be untrue. The question is why is he compromising his deal by lying? In the Manafort document that Mueller handed over to the court, essential passages have been blackened out. This suggests that the investigation is still ongoing.
In a document that was made public on Tuesday in the case of Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor, many passages have also been blacked out, apparently there is still a lot here that the public does not know. From the document that Mueller submitted to a judge in New York, it emerges that he only recommends a small sentence without imprisonment for Flynn - because of the good cooperation. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year. It was about telephone calls he made with the Russian ambassador in December 2016, during which, among other things, the US sanctions against Russia were discussed.
Mueller has interviewed Flynn 19 times, he says that he helped a lot with his investigations. He handed over documents and reported contacts that people from Trump's transition team to Russia had maintained after the election in November 2016 - and before the handover in January. Flynn may have told Mueller that Trump hired him to prevent Russia from retaliation over US sanctions. Since Trump was not yet a president, he would have broken the law.
It remains exciting. The Democrats were the first to step forward to call for impeachment proceedings against Trump, such as California Congressman John Garamendi. John Dean, an adviser to President Richard Nixon on the Watergate affair, told CNN that Congress may have no choice but to look into impeachment. However, the danger for Trump is rather small because the Senate, which continues to be dominated by its Republicans, would ultimately have to decide on such a procedure.
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