Voices from inside the West Wing are growing more troubled today as the President journeys to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the global G20 Summit. As Trump prepared to board Marine One for the first leg of his trip, he was forced to address reporters on the White House lawn and field questions regarding his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Early Thursday morning in federal court in New York’s Southern District, Cohen entered a new guilty plea as part of his lengthy legal proceedings; in it, he details lies he told Congress regarding a Trump real estate deal with Moscow that lasted much longer than previously disclosed — including during a period of time in which Trump was publicly claiming not to have any financial dealings with Russia.
The new guilty plea may have been yet another reason for Trump to call a former associate “weak” and a liar, but according to political insider Scott Dworkin, reactions inside the White House were quite a bit more dire than the nonchalance with which Trump attempted to dismiss the news to reporters before he left:
BREAKING: Republican lobbyist just told me White House staffers are “in shock,” saying they weren’t aware Mueller or the FBI could indict witnesses who lied to Congress. A lot of them also never believed Trump had Russian business ties, until Michael Cohen’s plea deal today.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) November 29, 2018
These statements from Trump aides about Russian business ties are basically as believable as Trump’s own claim that he weighs 236 pounds: Total bullshit.
But it is actually pretty likely that any number of them might have been unaware that lying to Congress was a federal crime since it’s not technically a courtroom and there’s no judge or jury. Couple that with the fact that they have definitely watched Donald Trump Jr. lie to Congress and thus far face no arrest or consequences, and it could very well be that they thought nothing was wrong with it.
Now they’d better hope they’re never called to testify.
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