In January 2017, 2 months after Donald Trump won in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence would claim that the Russian government had allegedly interfered during the election under Russian president, Vladimir Putin’s personal order in favor of Trump. Then-senator, Jeff Sessions, had recused himself from this issue regarding him making contact with Sergey Kislyak in 2016. Since then, there has been an investigation regarding this situation in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was once recused, placed Robert Mueller in charge of this investigation to determine whether the Russians really did interfere in the 2016 election. As of November 26, 2018, a new twist may have been added into the investigation from someone who cooperated with Mueller but may have lied.
American lobbyist, political consultant, and lawyer, Paul Manafort, who was indicted and arrested for charges of several federal crimes and federal offenses, had agreed to cooperate in the Mueller investigation. Apparently, it was revealed that Mueller would catch Manafort lying about what he had told them. Prosecutors had discovered that Manafort’s lawyer had repeatedly briefed the president’s lawyers with his client’s discussions in the investigation after Manafort agreed to cooperate, according to The Boston Globe. Also, it was speculated Manafort bid for a presidential pardon with Robert Mueller, hoping for a lighter sentence. The president went on to twitter to lash out on Mueller, tweeting that he’s a “conflicted prosecutor gone rogue”; also tweeting that he’s “doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System”. Of course, things would continue to get worse for his administration.
A couple days later, on the 29th of November, Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, would plead guilty for also lying over the Russian investigation. He too has had a strange history of criminal activity. He even says that he paid Stormy Daniels on Trump’s part for the purpose of “influencing the election”. Cohen admitted to being in talks with Trump over building him a tower in Moscow, Russia heading into the election back in 2016. Coincidentally, after Cohen’s plea in court, the president happened to cancel his meeting with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, for Trump was in Argentina for a world economic meeting, according to The New York Times. According to Trump, he canceled the meeting because of recent hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. Trump even responded to Cohen pleading guilty for lying to Congress, calling him a “weak person” and a liar.
Aside from this “witch hunt”, as the president likes to call it, belittling the Mueller investigation; according to The Guardian, Trump also happened to call his meeting with Putin and Cohen regarding plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow as “very legal and very cool” at the time he was running for president. He even said that he was able to do whatever he wanted during his campaign. Experts such as legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and an opinion column in the Washington Post feel things are coming full circle. Toobin told CNN, “Today is the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office. I think this thing is enormous.” The opinion column was headlined, “Trump should be freaked out right about now.” Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani also stated as Cohen being a liar, and that he’s “doing everything he can to get out of a long-term sentence for serious crimes of bank and tax fraud that had nothing to do with the Trump Organization.”
This excruciating investigation continues for Robert Mueller, as he continues on to determine whether Trump was in collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election or not. So far, there’s been Manafort and Cohen who have confirmed it, but from the looks of things, this may be a long way from being over.
By Brandon Luna, Reporter
Image Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images