The Michael Cohen Show: Another Trump-Russia smoking gun emerges, or not

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday gave cable TV countless more hours of programming with a new plea deal with Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. In a criminal information in federal court, Cohen now says he lied to Congress about his contact with Mr. Trump about his negotiations in 2016 for a possible Trump Organization hotel deal in Moscow.

If you believe the heavy media breathing, Mr. Trump is now, or once again, a goner. At last here is a clear 2016 link between candidate Trump and Russia. Cohen must know more, and it’s only a matter of time before we learn that Mr. Trump was conspiring with Vladimir Putin in return for who knows what.

The reality: Who knows? The Steele dossier was supposed to be the smoking gun, but that turned out to be a fraud. Then the famous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian functionaries was supposed to be proof of collusion, but nothing more has come of that.

On its face, the Cohen court filing is hardly a crime or impeachable evidence. The filing says Cohen explored a hotel deal in Moscow for about six months in 2016, and that Russians with ties to the Kremlin wanted to get Mr. Trump to visit Russia and meet Mr. Putin.

But the deal fell through for reasons that aren’t explained, and Mr. Trump never made the trip. On Thursday President Trump called Cohen a “liar,” which is demonstrably true. Mr. Trump also said there was “nothing wrong” in considering a private business deal when he wasn’t President, which is true in a criminal sense though it was dumb for a presidential candidate.

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