The smoking gun

Yesterday we almost had it there for a minute. Reports surfaced that Michael Cohen’s cellphone had been used near Prague right around the time he was supposedly meeting in that city with the Russians in order to work out the financial aspects of the Trump-Russia election rigging conspiracy.

All we needed was for Cohen to stay silent about the story, thus tacitly confirming it, and… nope, he quickly posted a tweet insisting that he’d never been to Prague. After people began asking him to be more precise, Cohen stated that he hadn’t been anywhere in the Czech Republic. Is he telling the truth or he lying? Based on his track record, there’s no way to know for sure. But his denial means that – for now – we still don’t have a smoking gun. That said, there is every reason to expect that it’s right around the corner.

It’s worth keeping in mind that what we’re seeing in public is merely what the media has managed to dig up, what people on the inside have decided to leak, what’s shown up in court filings, and so on. It’s not at all a reflection of what Robert Mueller is sitting on. We’ve all been standing outside a chain link fence covered with a tarp, and trying to catch stray glimpses through the holes in the tarp. We’re seeing a small fraction of the big picture, and we don’t even necessarily know how to put all these pieces within context of each other.

One thing we’ve learned time and again: whenever Robert Mueller does occasionally make something public, it always suggests that he knows just about everything that happened in the Trump-Russia scandal, in great detail. If a smoking gun exists – and in a scandal like this, there are probably twenty of them – then Mueller already has them. At this late stage, he’s close to showing his hand.