President Trump, Donald Trump, Michael Cohen discussed on The Takeaway
Hi everyone. It's the takeaway I'm Amy Walter here at the end of the week with you On Thursday night the country learned that according to Michael Cohen President Donald Trump new in advance of the now infamous of June two thousand sixteen. Meeting in Trump Tower that meeting where Russians were expected, to offer dirt. On Hillary Clinton's campaign the meeting that. Donald Trump junior and other administration officials including the president all said Trump knew nothing. About CNN. I reportedly allegations. Last night and they've since been backed up by other media outlets So let's unpack all of this, with Ryan Goodman he's the editor in. Chief of just security in a former special counsel to the department of defense, he says who knew what and when is the big thing to find out so what we don't know is whether or not. The president himself was aware of the meeting, taking place and, approved of it that's been the kind of big question because it would tie him to the meeting and then the meeting itself we know actually quite a bit. About so the meeting is explicitly offered to the Trump, campaign through Don, Donald Trump junior as being something so. That the Russian government can assist the Trump campaign by offering dirt on Hillary Clinton That's on record. It's in emails even done junior himself says that. They in meeting with the Russians he assembled the top brass of. The campaigns have Paul Manafort as. The campaign chair and Jared Kushner? And done junior has already said that at the. Meeting he quote unquote presses the Russian lawyer for dirt on Hillary Clinton so that's part of what. We know, and the big? Issue is the president's connection to this kind of. Incriminating meeting so the president this morning tweeting out I did not know the meeting with my son Don Jr. it sounds to. Me like someone's trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam taxicabs maybe, he even retained Bill and crooked Hillary's. Lawyer I wonder if they helped him make the choice so the president clearly, saying he did not know of this meeting let me ask you this Ryan does it matter whether or not He knew about this meeting in the bigger scheme of things and if he lied about it what does this mean. In the fuller. Investigation about. Russia's meddling and this idea of collusion or any other. Sort of crimes I think there's every reason. For the president who wanted to ni- his knowledge, of the meeting. Because it really does significantly raise the stakes, would say three different dimensions I it means that he might be. Tied to the conspiracy on the part. Of the Russians to interfere in the election because the Russians were offering help. To the campaign and this would mean, that he was aware of it and approved of getting that help that's important and then the second is it does set up issues of perjury because Michael Collins allegation seems to be. That there were multiple people at this meeting with. President Trump who knew that he was aware of. An approved the meeting with the Russians if any of those individuals. Have already testified to congress or. The FBI and lied about it They would be in trouble That. Probably implicates Donald Trump junior he did till the Senate that he did not inform, his father of the meeting which is hard to. Believe very hard to believe but now there's evidence that seems to be coming to the fore from, Michael Cohen that in fact. He had informed his father this also could double. Back on the president himself it's not just that those individuals would have lied and potentially. Committed perjury to federal authorities, but the bigger question is was there a conspiracy to lie was their coordination on. Their part because it's unusual there's something deeply suspicious about all of them making these statements and that could implicate the person was he involved in what would be called suborning perjury or conspiracy. To lie to federal authorities. So that's the second vector and then the third. One is obstruction of, Justice a former, federal prosecutor Harvard law professor Alex, whiting has written about this which is the the point is that the way federal prosecutors think of charging obstruction is that you basically have to have. Some, kind of underlying wrongdoing otherwise it's. Hard to convince a jury That the return obstruct something if there wasn't something hidden that they were trying to avoid being exposed, so the greater degree to. Which we have evidence that the president was involved. In wrongdoing in association with the Russians it would strengthen the case for the prosecutors to. Bring an obstruction charge do, you think we are now at a turning point in this investigation with where Michael. Cohen is in where he's going I think it is a turning point in the investigation if Michael Cohen flips and then cooperates with the Muller team and I think last night in a. Certain sense is a turning. Point because the broader lesson we can tell from. Last night is Michael, Cohen has information, that he is willing to divulge, I think that's the big taken point he is the president's former lawyer and fixer and has been that way for years the amount of information that. He, has is potentially quite significant and When? We look back in that the question is almost like John dean the White House counsel to president Nixon was the. Undoing of Nixon he couldn't survive John dean's testifying there's something similar in scale with the president's personal attorney and fixer flipping and potentially testifying against him it's hard to see how the president. So easily survives Michael Cohen Ryan Goodman. Thank you so much for joining us thank you Ryan Goodman is editor in chief. Of just security and former special counsel to the department of defense.