The Department of Justice announced today that Special Counsel Robert Mueller won’t be filing his report about Donald Trump next week after all, a reminder that Mueller is driving this train, not Trump, and not William Barr. But here’s the thing: even with Mueller’s report not arriving next week, something big is coming before Wednesday.
We’ve all watched Michael Cohen spend the past few weeks employing one excuse after another to postpone his congressional testimony, even as House Democrats have suggested they were fine with the delays. This made clear that Cohen was stalling because prosecutors wanted him to. When he finally decided to go ahead and commit to testifying before three different congressional committees next week, one of them in public, it was equally clear that prosecutors had given him the green light.
But as things stand right now, Michael Cohen can’t simply get up and testify about most of the things that the House Oversight Committee has said he’s going to testify about. Because Cohen previously lied to Congress to protect Donald Trump before subsequently flipping on him, he’s considered an unreliable witness by definition. Prosecutors can’t just send him to testify in front of the cameras, without corresponding evidence or documents or something to back up what he’s saying.
Right now all Michael Cohen can believably testify about are the payments to Donald Trump’s mistresses, because those have been publicly spelled out in the SDNY’s court filings. But Cohen is supposed to be testifying on Wednesday about Trump’s taxes, Trump’s charity fraud, and much more. Mueller and/or the SDNY has to be planning to make something public before then, even if it’s just followup court filings that reveal big things about Trump’s crimes. Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report