Special Counsel Robert Mueller is holding most of the cards when it comes to his investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal: unlimited resources, several cooperating witnesses, multiple plea deals, a boatload of evidence, and of course the fact that Trump is obviously guilty. Nonetheless, Mueller is facing a monumental task: he has to unravel, decipher, and prove every angle of the most complex international criminal conspiracy of all time. That task just got a lot easier today.
When Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 during the election to keep quiet about their earlier affair, it turns out the money was paid out in violation of campaign finances laws. This means this isn’t merely the kind of scandal that rocks a marriage and makes headlines; it’s now a bona fide criminal scandal. The newly filed criminal complaint will serve to expose how Trump and his attorney have been secretly routing money for any other blackmail scandals, possibly including Russia. But there’s also another key angle here.
We’ll let Congressman Ted Lieu’s tweet spell it out: “Appears Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen flatly lied when confronted with the $130k hush money payment. That he so easily tells lies begs the question of what he may have lied about to Congressional investigators & Mueller regarding Trump-Russia.” In other words, Mueller can now take this information about how Trump routes his blackmail payments, and go back over all of the testimony he’s been given regarding such things, to figure out how these blackmail payment methods apply to the Trump-Russia scandal.
This also means that if Cohen or anyone else has lied to Robert Mueller about these kinds of Trump blackmail payments, Mueller can now threaten to charge them with lying to a federal investigator in order to force them to flip and cooperate. In other words, thanks to Donald Trump’s affair with an adult film actress of all things, Mueller’s job of exposing the Trump-Russia scandal just got a whole lot easier today.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report