What Trump Attorney Told the Georgia Grand Jury About Election Interference
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump lawyer, and personal fixer, was called to testify before a grand jury as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign assisted with that interference. According to CNN, Cohen has told associates that he believes Trump knew in advance of the June 2016 meeting in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton—information that could be extremely damaging to the president if it were proven true. On April 8th, Cohen appeared before the U.S.
Why a Special Counsel Was Appointed
Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to lead an independent investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election and related matters on 17 May 2017. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him based on regulations from 1998, which state that a special counsel should be appointed when the criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted.
The appointment followed a decision by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election following his confirmation, per departmental rules. Sessions’ recuse left Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente as Acting Attorney General for this particular case.
Russia’s Efforts to Influence the 2016 Election
Russia has been known for using disinformation, leaks of stolen emails, and other tools in an effort to influence elections in countries around the world, including Germany and France. It is not clear what Russia hoped to achieve by interfering with the U.S. election, but it appears that Russian operatives were trying to sow chaos by sowing doubts about democracy in general. The interference included hacking into email accounts associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
At least one person who worked on President Trump’s campaign has been indicted as a result of Russia’s efforts: George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to lying to federal agents investigating Russia’s election interference and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
Trump Tower Meeting
In July of 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort had a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. She was offering information on Hillary Clinton that would be damaging to her campaign. At first, the President denied this meeting took place but later admitted that it happened. The President said he did not know about the meeting until details came out in press reports about it.
According to The Washington Post, Paul Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing testified before a grand jury about possible election interference. The witness list includes employees from Facebook and Google who were involved in ads for President Trump.
The indictments allege that Manafort and Richard Gates knowingly acted as unregistered agents of Ukraine, as well as generated over $75 million in income which they then hid from U.S. authorities.
According to the indictment, Manafort used this money to buy real estate in the United States, pay off mortgages on properties he owned or had invested in, refinance his mortgage on one of his homes, pay for personal expenses including automobiles, and purchase luxury goods such as expensive clothing items and cars.
Mueller Investigating Possible Obstruction of Justice by President Donald J. Trump
The Special Counsel, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017, is investigating whether there were any links or coordination between Russia and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald J. Trump and whether there were any crimes committed. This includes allegations that Mr. Trump obstructed justice.
The investigation also encompasses any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation – a phrase that is likely to include, for instance, Mr. Cohen’s work on behalf of Mr. Trump during both the campaign and presidency – which could result in criminal charges not related to Russia election interference. The obstruction inquiry began last year as part of an examination into whether Mr.
The Risks for President Trump
President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, but his personal attorney Michael Cohen testified before a grand jury investigating Russian meddling. On October 25, Cohen admitted that he had discussed Russia with Trump on multiple occasions during and after the campaign.
I was trying to collect as much information as I could, said Cohen, who also said he had briefed then-candidate Trump about an offer from a Russian oligarch to provide synergy on a government level with Mr. Trump’s businesses. Cohen also testified that Mr. Trump knew in advance of a damaging release by WikiLeaks of hacked emails belonging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
Link to Sources
Trump attorney and adviser Michael Cohen testified before a grand jury in Athens, Georgia on Friday. He is just one of several people who have been subpoenaed in recent weeks as part of the investigation into election interference by Russia and its allies. The grand jury’s questions focused largely on Cohen’s business dealings with Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, according to NBC News reporter Tom Winter.
It has not yet been confirmed that this case has anything to do with Mueller’s ongoing investigation, but it would make sense given how involved Cohen was in Trump’s presidential campaign. Cohen told NBC News that he had no idea why he was subpoenaed or who might have leaked his testimony to them.