On Thursday night we learned that Donald Trump directly instructed Michael Cohen to lie under oath to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. This is a felony on Trump’s part, and of course it’s far from the first. But two details about this story add up to make it an unbelievably important development.
The first thing that jumps off the page here is the sourcing. BuzzFeed, which broke the story, says that it got the information from “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” That means this either came from Robert Mueller’s team, or from the SDNY. We know that the SDNY doesn’t do anything without Mueller’s unofficial approval. And we know that Mueller’s team doesn’t leak anything unless Mueller strategically wants it leaked.
Mueller would not be leaking this if it were simply Cohen’s word against Trump’s word, as Cohen is a proven liar, so this suggests that Cohen recorded this particular conversation with Trump, and that Mueller has the tape. But this is only half the story.
The other big thing here is that Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar just finished expertly cornering Donald Trump’s Attorney General nominee William Barr, getting him to specifically admit that if the president suborns perjury, it’s felony obstruction. Unless Klobuchar got incredibly lucky on this with regard to specificity and timing, she must have known this story was about to break. In other words, forces are now aligning against Trump by the hour.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report