02.28.2019 0

Michael Cohen testifies he was never in Prague, proving Steele dossier alleging Trump-Russia collusion was a hoax all along

By Robert Romano

“I’ve never been to Prague. I’ve never been to the Czech Republic.”

That was Michael Cohen, one-time lawyer for President Donald Trump, stating once again for the record before the House Oversight Committee that allegations by former British spy Christopher Steele that in August or September of 2016 Cohen was in Prague meeting with Russian agents could not possibly be true.

Those Steele allegations, paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, stated that the supposed purpose of the meeting was to, according the Steele dossier, “in order to clean up the mess left behind by western media revelations of Trump ex-campaign manager [Paul] Manafort’s corrupt relationship with the former pro-Russian [Viktor] Yanukovych regime in Ukraine and Trump foreign policy advisor, Carter Page’s secret meetings in Moscow with senior regime figures in July 2016” where the Trump campaign according to Steele allegedly coordinated with Moscow to put the Democratic National Committee emails on Wikileaks.

And, it was to “cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of Trump’s relationship with Russia being exposed” and the “overall objective had been to ‘to sweep it all under the carpet and make sure no connections could be fully established or proven’”.

But, if Cohen was never in Prague, then he very well could not have been there mopping up the fallout of the Trump campaign coordinating with Russia on the DNC email hacks and Wikileaks publication. Because the meeting never happened.

Meaning, Steele might have been taking what he thought were Cohen’s travel records — Jake Tapper reported in Jan. 2017 that there was another Michael Cohen who was in Prague at the time — and either he or his sources filled in the blanks with garbage.

Not only that, but Cohen says he has no knowledge of such a conspiracy. Cohen stated before the committee, “Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not…”

Other parts of Cohen’s testimony also appeared to confirm that President Trump had no advance knowledge of the DNC hacks, contradicting another key Steele allegation that Russia hacking the DNC had been with “the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team.”

According to Cohen, he alleges that Trump found out about the emails just days before the Democratic National Convention in July 2016 when Roger Stone called Trump indicating there would be, in Cohen’s description, “a massive dump of emails [on Wikileaks] that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” Cohen testified that Trump’s reaction was to say, “Wouldn’t that be great?”

But by then, that the DNC had been hacked and the emails given to Wikileaks were already public knowledge.  On June 11, 2016 Julian Assange told ITV that Wikileaks had emails related to Hillary Clinton: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication, that is correct.” This was an apparent reference to the John Podesta emails that would publish later that year.

Then, on June 14, 2016, the Washington Post had published its story on the DNC hack by Russia.

On June 15, 2016, seven days prior to when Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleges Wikileaks contacted Guccifer 2.0, the WordPress blog by Guccifer 2.0 appeared, taking credit for the DNC hack, and saying everything had already been given to Wikileaks. Guccifer 2.0 claimed, “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to Wikileaks. They will publish them soon.”

In his indictment of Russian intelligence officers for the DNC and John Podesta hacks, Special Counsel Robert Mueller laid out the timeline for when the government says the hacks took place. The Podesta emails were hacked in March 2016, and the DNC emails were hacked in May and June 2016 and then delivered to Wikileaks in July 2016.

So, if Trump did not learn about the emails until they were about to be published, in July 2016, when the fact that they were going to be published was already public knowledge for a month, then he couldn’t have known about the hacks before they happened and in concert with Russia, as Steele had alleged.

Attorney General William Barr should be cleaning house at the Justice Department. This investigation — which is tearing this country apart — was just wrong. A national disgrace.

There was no advance knowledge of the hacks. No clandestine meetings in Prague. No conspiracy by Trump with Russia.

Oh, and as an aside, Trump never directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow real estate deal. Readers will remember the breathless reporting on that subject, only to be debunked by none other than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Cohen put that allegation to rest, saying, “Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress.”

The bottom line is that the FBI took the Steele dossier as gospel when it launched the investigation into the Trump and his campaign, using it to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants and carrying over the investigation into the transition and then after Trump was inaugurated. None of it is panning out. Because it was a lie.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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