SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – The latest court filings concerning Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and lawyer Michael Cohen have a Bay Area congresswoman getting ready to flex her subpoena power.
“I know nothing about Russia. I know — I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia,” said then-candidate Donald Trump during a presidential debate on October, 2016. “I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.”
But Mr. Trump and his agents were in discussions with Russians about a real estate deal, referred to as the ‘Moscow Project,’ until at least June 2016, according to recent court filings.
The President’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has pled guilty to a number of federal crimes and has been informally cooperating with federal law enforcement for several months. He’s set to be sentenced to jail on December 12.
In anticipation of that sentencing, U.S. Attorneys in New York and Washington, D.C. submitted memoranda informing the judge about the extent of Cohen’s cooperation.
Initially, Cohen lied to congressional intelligence committees, telling them the discussions about the Moscow Project ended in January 2016, before any Republican caucuses or primaries.
According to the memos, Cohen changed his story, telling Feds about, “contacts with Russian government officials, and discussions during the first half of 2016 about the possibility of travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project.”
Cohen also said he, “continued to work on the project and discuss it with Individual 1 well into the campaign.” (“Individual 1” is widely believed to be the President.)
The Feds wrote that such information was important “particularly because it occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.”
Congresswoman Jackie Speier represents San Mateo. She was in the committee hearing when Cohen lied.
Speier is livid at the cavalier manner witnesses like Cohen treat the hearings.
“There have been a number of people we have interviewed who have absolutely lied to us and you cannot lie to Congress,” she said. “It is a felony.”
Democrats will be in the majority in the House of Representatives once new members are sworn in on January 3. Speier says, when that happens, the House Intelligence Committee, on which she sits, will start issuing subpoenas the Republicans had previously blocked.
“All of the phone bills and phone calls that were made, all of the direct messages, all of the emails that were never subpoenaed need to be subpoenaed for the primary persons that were part of the Trump orbit and campaign,” said Speier.
President Trump has brushed aside questions about the memos.
“There was no collusion whatsoever; there never has been,” Trump said before boarding Marine One Saturday. “The last thing I want is help from Russia on a campaign.”
The President did not comment about other issues revealed in the filing, including Cohen’s claim that the President directed payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal totaling $280,000.
Before the election, Cohen arranged “hush money” payments to the two women who claim they had affairs with the President.
In April 2018, the President was asked, “Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?” and he replied, “No.”
According to the filings, “Cohen has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1 (the President).”