Tag Archives: Lying to Congress

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress about being a back channel to Putin’s Russia

President Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty today to an additional count of making false statements to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 presidential election. Criminal Information (.pdf) and Plea Agreement (.pdf). Cohen now admits that he was a back channel between the Trump organization and Putin’s Russia.

Three quick observations. First, this is Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s counterpunch to President Trump and his his shyster lawyer Rudy Giuliani crowing this week about their criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice through former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort acting as their “mole” to impede the Special Counsel’s investigation. They won’t be so cocky when they face criminal charges.

Second, Cohen’s Criminal Information today is Robert Mueller showing only one of the cards that he is holding, and this card hints that more criminal indictments are in the offing.  Cohen identified Donald Trump as “person 1” in open court, and his felon cohort Felix Sater appears to be “person 2” from the   context of the Criminal Information. Cohen briefed Trump family members about the Trump World Tower Moscow Project, potentially implicating them as well.

Cohen has also been cooperating with the Southern District of New York and the Attorney General of New York regarding the Trump Foundation and Trump business interests. He knows everything, and the Special Counsel has all of his files, phone records, emails and secretly recorded conversations.

Finally, this is a warning shot across the bow to other witnesses who have made false statements to Congress, in particular, that smarmy Donald Trump, Jr., and others who have lied to the FBI or Special Counsel including Jerome Corsi, Randy Credico and Roger Stone. Their “time in the barrel” is coming.

“It’s Mueller Time.”

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‘Small lies matter’ and are disqualifying in and of themselves

However you may feel about former FBI Director James Comey, he said something this past week which should be determinative for U.S. senators: “small lies matter.”

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Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” is a legal principle that dictates jurors can rule a witness to be false in everything if he says one thing that is not true.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh has mislead the Senate and has told lies, both big and small, in each of his confirmation hearings over the years for the court of appeals and the Supreme Court. These lies are disqualifying in and of themselves. There should be no doubt after Thursday’s disastrous performance that Judge Kavanaugh is unfit to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, and possibly even remain on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

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Kavanaugh lied to Congress. Why is this not ‘a major problem’ for all 100 senators?

I mentioned this in a comment the other day. Lisa Graves, the former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice, wrote at Slate that I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About:

During the hearings on his nomination to the D.C. Circuit a few months after the Miranda news broke, Kavanaugh actively hid his own involvement, lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee by stating unequivocally that he not only knew nothing of the episode, but also never even received any stolen material.

Even if Kavanaugh could claim that he didn’t have any hint at the time he received the emails that these documents were of suspect provenance—which I personally find implausible—there is no reasonable way for him to assert honestly that he had no idea what they were after the revelation of the theft. Any reasonable person would have realized they had been stolen, and certainly someone as smart as Kavanaugh would have too.

But he lied.

Under oath.

And he did so repeatedly.

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A travesty of justice: GOP stonewalls on Judge Brett Kavanaugh documents while rushing his confirmation hearing

I previously explained that Judge Kavanaugh provided misleading testimony in his previous confirmation hearing.

Kavanaugh testified that he had no role in the Bush administration terrorist interrogation and torture program. A year after his confirmation, NPR reported Brett Kavanaugh may have been less-than-forthright with Congress at a crucial hearing last year to confirm his appointment to a seat on the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.  Federal Judge Downplayed Role in Detainee Cases.

In fact, in 2002, Kavanaugh and a group of top White House lawyers discussed whether the Supreme Court would uphold the Bush administration’s decision to deny lawyers to American enemy combatants. Kavanaugh advised the group that the Supreme Court’s swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would probably reject the president’s assertion that the men were not entitled to counsel. Kavanaugh had worked as a clerk for Kennedy. That meeting was first reported in The Washington Post. NPR independently confirmed the details with multiple sources.

Durbin now says he feels “perilously close to being lied to” at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

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Judge Kavanaugh provided misleading testimony in his previous confirmation hearing

Lost in the media memory hole is the fact that Brett Kavanaugh, then an adviser to President George W. Bush and one of his most controversial judicial appointees, had to go through the nomination process twice because of strenuous objection to his nomination, once in 2004 and again in 2006.

Roll Call recently reported, Democratic Senators Once Accused Potential Trump SCOTUS Pick of Offering Misleading Testimony:

Senators might find themselves debating whether the judge gave false testimony about detainee policy the last time he had a confirmation hearing.

That is in part because the two senators who suggested Kavanaugh may have misled them still serve on the Judiciary Committee.

Kavanaugh’s potential connection to the detention policies in the early 2000s stems from his work as a lawyer in the White House during the George W. Bush administration.

The question of what Kavanaugh knew about the interrogation programs was a topic of discussion during Senate consideration of his nomination to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the current minority whip and a long time member of the Judiciary Committee, asked Kavanaugh back in 2006 what he knew about the involvement of William J. Haynes II, who had been a Bush nominee for a Fourth Circuit seat, in developing detainee policies.

“Senator, I did not — I was not involved and am not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants — and so I do not have the involvement with that,” Kavanaugh said back in May 2006.

Kavanaugh was confirmed. But the following year, news reports established that this answer was misleading at best, and lying to Congress at worst. NPR reported in 2007, Federal Judge Downplayed Role in Detainee Cases:

One of President Bush’s most controversial judicial appointees, Brett Kavanaugh, may have been less-than-forthright with Congress at a crucial hearing last year to confirm his appointment to a seat on the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

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