The House Oversight Committee said the scope of Michael Cohen’s public testimony would be limited to President Donald Trump’s “payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters.” | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump – Russia Collusion Verdict Out: Americans have made up their minds – Reuters/Ipsos poll

President Trump listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Trump listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The Reuters/Ipsos poll has tracked public opinion of the investigation since Mueller was appointed in May 2017 following Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey, gathering responses from more than 72,000 adults – AIWA! NO!

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Only a small number of Americans have not yet made up their minds about whether Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign coordinated with Russian officials, according to new Reuters/Ipsos polling, which also showed deep divisions in the United States in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

READ RELATED: Trump misrepresents judge in Manafort trial as he claims ‘no collusion’ with Russia

Eight out of 10 Americans decided almost immediately about Trump campaign ties to Moscow and only about two in 10 appear to be undecided, the opinion poll released on Friday showed.

Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia. But the Witch Hunt Hoax continues as you now add these statements to House & Senate Intelligence & Senator Burr. So bad for our Country!


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About half of Americans believe President Trump tried to stop federal investigations into his campaign, the survey found.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his investigation into U.S. allegations that Moscow interfered in the U.S. political process as well as the Trump campaign links and possible obstruction of justice. Moscow and Trump deny the allegations.

Barring bombshell revelations, the survey results suggest the investigation’s influence on voters in the 2020 campaign may already have run its course.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll has tracked public opinion of the investigation since Mueller was appointed in May 2017 following Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey, gathering responses from more than 72,000 adults.

Public opinion appears to have hardened early, changing little over the past two years despite a string of highly publicised criminal charges against people associated with the Trump campaign.

Every time respondents were asked about the investigation, about 8 in 10 Democrats said they thought the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, while 7 in 10 Republicans said they did not.

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The House Oversight Committee said the scope of Michael Cohen’s public testimony would be limited to President Donald Trump’s “payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters.” | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Trump Lawyer Ty Cobb: No ‘Witch Hunt,’ Mueller ‘Is an American Hero’

 The Investigation from ABC News
Former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb on ‘The Investigation’

Ty Cobb calls Mueller ‘American hero,’ says probe is no witch hunt

| White House lawyer Ty Cobb says Mueller didn’t leak questionsBy Kyra PhillipsKatherine FauldersMatthew Mosk and John Santucci; ABC news

Cobb out, Clinton impeachment lawyer in amid more lawyer changes

Former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb sat down for a wide-ranging interview for the latest episode of “The Investigation,” a new ABC News podcast focused on the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ty Cobb, the veteran Washington attorney who represented the White House as special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up his investigation into Russian meddling, said he considers the man leading the probe “an American hero” and does not share President Donald Trump’s view that the Russia inquiry is a politically motivated hoax.

“I don’t feel the same way about Mueller,” Cobb said in an extensive interview for the latest episode of ABC News’ podcast The Investigation. “I don’t feel the investigation is a witch hunt.”

 President Donald Trump returns to the White House, Feb. 8, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
(Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images, FILE)  President Donald Trump returns to the White House, Feb. 8, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

But as Mueller prepares to convey his findings to the U.S. Attorney General, Cobb maintains a belief that his report will spare the president from any serious political harm. Cobb said he believes Mueller has already revealed the bulk of the findings that the investigation will produce through the sentencing memos and “speaking indictments” issued against a group of 34 defendants that include Russian hackers and the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. A so-called speaking indictment sets forth more contextual details on a case than is required by law.

The indictment against the Russian hackers was “highly detailed,” he said. “And there’s no link to Trump or the campaign. The same thing with Manafort — they just filed an 800-page sentencing memorandum, and in 800 pages there’s no reference to collusion,” Cobb said, referring to Manafort, who was convicted last year of tax and bank fraud charges and pleaded guilty in a separate case to conspiracy charges brought by Mueller as part of his probe.(MORE: Here is the indictment against Russian election intrusion)

 Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington D.C., Feb. 14, 2018.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, FILE)  Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington D.C., Feb. 14, 2018.

Cobb, 68 — a distant relative of the Hall of Fame baseball player with the same name — headed the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Baltimore before spending decades in private practice. He joined the White House legal team six months into Trump’s presidency. Unlike some of the other attorneys hired to grapple with the Mueller probe, Cobb’s client was not the president, but “the presidency,” which he considered a subtle but important distinction.

“My legal obligations were to the institution,” he said.

In that role, he said he often endorsed a different strategy than more combative lawyers in Trump’s corner. And over time, he said his view of the probe has diverged from some of his former colleagues on the case. John Dowd, another veteran defense attorney on Trump’s team, told “The Investigation” podcast recently that he considered the special counsel probe “one of the greatest frauds this country’s ever seen.”

“Yeah. I don’t share that view,” Cobb said.(MORE: Former Trump lawyer slams Mueller probe, maintains president will be cleared: ‘Knock it off and get it done’)

“I think Bob Mueller’s an American hero … even though he came from an, arguably, privileged background, he has a backbone of steel. He walked into a firefight in Vietnam to pull out one of his injured colleagues and was appropriately honored for that. I’ve known him for 30 years as a prosecutor and a friend. And I think the world of Bob Mueller. He is a very deliberate guy. But he’s also a class act. And a very justice-oriented person.”

 Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, arrives on Capitol Hill, June 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
(Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)  Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, arrives on Capitol Hill, June 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Cobb said his experience matched with the description offered by many of the people who have interacted with Mueller’s team. “I can’t be critical,” he said. “I never had a bad interaction with Mueller or his staff.”

At times, Cobb clashed with his former White House colleagues over legal strategy, advocating dignified cooperation that led the administration to share thousands of documents with Mueller’s team and made officials available for interviews. But the team only was able to proceed with that strategy because Trump agreed with it, Cobb said.

“I was the one that advised it. But the president did make the decision,” Cobb said.

Those differing strategies ultimately drove a wedge between Cobb on one side, and on the other Dowd and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — as the president gravitated towards a more combative approach. Cobb left the White House after ten months.

“In my first nine-and-a-half months … I was able to prevent the president from going on the attack against Mueller,” Cobb said. “It wasn’t really until Dowd sent out a critical tweet of Mueller and Rudy joined the team that the president felt unleashed.”

Cobb said Trump’s approach shifted in part because he was growing increasingly frustrated by the way the investigation was eating into his presidency, particularly as he sought to pursue a foreign policy agenda. For a time, the instinct of the president’s lawyers was to try and persuade him that the investigations would soon be over, Cobb said.

“But it’s never going to be over,” Cobb said. “I mean, this is going to go through 2020. And if the president is reelected, it’ll go beyond that.”(MORE: It’s impossible for Trump to ‘obstruct justice,’ his lawyer says)

Cobb had a first-hand view at some of the most contentious aspects of the Trump White House. Within minutes of his swearing in, he said, the president dismissed his chief of staff and fired his communications director. “So I was a footnote on day one,” he laughed.

 President Donald Trump arrives at the White House, Feb. 28, 2019.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)  President Donald Trump arrives at the White House, Feb. 28, 2019.

Cobb said he is not certain that Trump has been well served by the chaos around him.

“It would be disingenuous to suggest that the president doesn’t need a better [human resources] team and that some of the people that have been chosen and [been] put in significant roles have not performed as he may have hoped — or as voters may have hoped,” he said.

He believes Trump will need to brace himself as the chaotic turbulence of investigations spirals towards Capitol Hill.

“All these people are hell bent on issuing a lot of subpoenas to get to the administration and perpetuate this investigation,” he said.(MORE: TRANSCRIPT: Former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb’s interview on ABC News’ ‘The Investigation’ podcast)

Trump at CPAC: ‘Lock her up’ chant erupts at CPAC after the president jokes about Russia, Clinton’s emails

CNN Analyst: Trump CPAC Speech Looked Scripted by Putin, ‘Reclaiming Our Heritage’ Talk Sounded Like Hitler

Fox News
President Donald Trump hugs the American flag as he arrives to speak at Conservative Political Action
Fox NewsPresident Donald Trump hugs the American flag as he arrives to speak at Conservative Political Action

Trump at CPAC: ‘Lock her up’ chant erupts at CPAC after the president jokes about Russia, Clinton’s emails


Josh Feldman, MEDIAUTE|CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd said one part of President Donald Trump‘s CPAC speech made her feel “sick” and even said it sounded like Hitler.

During his speech today, Trump said, “The men and women here today are on the front lines of protecting America’s interests, defending America’s values, and reclaiming our nation’s priceless heritage. With your help, we are reversing decades of blunders and betrayals. These are serious, serious betrayals to our nation and to everything we stand for. It’s been done by the failed ruling class that enriched foreign countries at our expense. It wasn’t America first, in many cases it was America last. Those days are over, long over.”

Trump slams Congress, media, colleges, former cabinet members, Mueller, Comey, Russia probe and more

Vinograd said on CNN this afternoon, “His statement makes me sick, on a personal level, preserving your heritage, reclaiming our heritage, that sounds a lot like a certain leader that killed members of my family and about six million other Jews in the 1940s.”

As for the rest of the speech, she argued it reflected a lot of “Putin’s to-do list”:

“By the way, this whole CPAC speech, how many pieces, parts of President Putin’s to-do list was President Trump trying to accomplish today? He denigrated our institutions, the Department of Justice and U.S. Congress, he spread misinformation and conspiracy theories, he undermined the credibility of several of our institutions, he sewed divisions, he sewed confusion, he was speaking to his base but he was also saying things that really looked like Vladimir Putin scripted his speech. So it helped him perhaps with his base, and politically, while at the same time, making Russia’s job a lot easier.”

The House Oversight Committee said the scope of Michael Cohen’s public testimony would be limited to President Donald Trump’s “payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters.” | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump – Russia Collusion: The revenge of Rod Rosenstein

"The question of the Russian interference and the possibility of collusion by the president and his people has twisted our politics into something unrecognizable for the last two years, including behavior on the part of the president, attacking the FBI, attacking Bob Mueller," Himes said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“ "You know, everything about this has become political. The way to end that, of course, is for the truth to be out there."

“The question of the Russian interference and the possibility of collusion by the president and his people has twisted our politics into something unrecognizable for the last two years, including behaviour on the part of the president, attacking the FBI, attacking Bob Mueller,” Himes said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“ “You know, everything about this has become political. The way to end that, of course, is for the truth to be out there.” – AIWAI! NO!

As special counsel Robert Mueller prepares his final report and Congress ramps up its own investigations, we soon will have answers to questions over collusion, obstruction, and Russian influence. Yet, President Trumpmay answer one of the most intriguing questions of all: Is it better to fight one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? New developments make it likely that Trump will fight a hundred duck-sized horses, in the form of alleged collateral crimes rather than collusion. None appears life threatening in their own right, so the real question here is what they will represent collectively during the next two years of this administration.

When Mueller was appointed, Trump faced a horse-sized duck in the form of Russian collusion allegations. That duck has yet to materialize over the course of dozens of “speaking” indictments and filings. One indictment stated that any contact between Trump officials and Russians was done “unwittingly,” and not one filing or witness has established a link between either Trump or his campaign and Russian hacking of Democratic emails. At most, there is evidence that Trump associates like Roger Stone, as well as Trump himself, wanted to see that material. But many journalists and political operatives were trying to obtain the same material, which had already been teased as forthcoming by WikiLeaks. That itself not a crime.

CNN.com
So, for the first time, CNN produced a documentary that tells the Russia story, from the beginning, and strings together the many threads .
CNN.comSo, for the first time, CNN produced a documentary that tells the Russia story, from the beginning, and strings together the many threads .

Trump also faced a horse-sized duck with the obstruction allegations. The problem is that there is still no clear obstruction by Trump despite a litany of inappropriate comments. He did not fire Mueller. He did not order the end of the special counsel investigation. He also has not been accused of destroying evidence. He has tweeted aplenty but that is more obnoxious than obstructive. None of that changed with the testimony of Michael Cohen, who expressly said he has no evidence of collusion. He offered little more on obstruction beyond saying that he believed Trump wanted him to lie about Trump Tower in Moscow, without Trump ordering him to lie. There is still far more duck than the horse in obstruction theories.

The House Oversight Committee said the scope of Michael Cohen’s public testimony would be limited to President Donald Trump’s “payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters.” | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
The House Oversight Committee said the scope of Michael Cohen’s public testimony would be limited to President Donald Trump’s “payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters.” | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Instead, Cohen in his testimony became a virtual wrangler of duck-sized horses, including portraits bought with charity funds, insurance claims with inflated damages, a bid for a National Football League team with inflated assets, hush money for mistresses, even false medical claims to avoid the draft. Many of these little equines are coming from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, rather than the special counsel in Washington. Yet, these pint-sized horses would make a poor case for impeachment even in the aggregate. Many occurred before Trump became president, and most would fall short of the constitutional standard. Even as criminal matters, presumably in prosecutions after Trump leaves office, this herd is even less threatening than it appears.

Hush money

Of the various legal horses, the most formidable is the allegation that Trump knowingly participated in a violation of campaign finance laws. Cohen produced checks signed by Trump after he became president that were reimbursement for hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. Federal prosecutors had treated the payments as a criminal matter when charging Cohen for his role in this violation. Under the same theory, Trump was also a party to the crime.

Justice Department policy, wrongly in my view, maintains that a sitting president should not be indicted. Prosecutors could pursue a charge on the payments against Trump after he leaves office but this is no easy case to make. The Justice Department failed in such a prosecution against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. The signing of these checks and the alleged directions given to Cohen make the case stronger, but Cohen may have weakened the chances for the prosecution. The most obvious defense for Trump is that he was motivated in making the payments not by the campaign but by his marriage and reputation.

Cohen gave Trump a major lift in that defense in two respects. First, he testified that Trump never thought he was going to win the 2016 election. Many others did not either, and even Trump himself said he continued to pursue business deals in anticipation that he might lose. Second, Cohen recounted how Trump had him speak to the first lady about the payments, to assure her that the stories of affairs were untrue. That would support a defense that Trump was worried about his wife finding out and may have been protecting his marriage and his reputation. This all comes down to motivation, and Cohen supplied Trump with a much stronger defense.

Financial fraud

Cohen has been charged with bank fraud, as has former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Cohen implicated Trump in both insurance fraud and bank fraud in the inflation of damages and assets. Those, too, could be charged as crimes. In business, however, assets often are exaggerated. For example, Trump reportedly gave Deutsche Bank figures on his worth that jumped in one year by $4 billion. Yet, the list of liabilities and assets on the “summary of net worth” seems like a fairly preliminary document.

It might not constitute the type of accounting data that would trigger a fraud claim. The $4 billion is also explained as “brand value.” That might be dismissed as a tangible value for accounting purposes, but Trump clearly indicated the source of this claimed value. Inflated insurance claims can be a cut and dried criminal case if they are outside the range of valuation. However, that is a big “if” as businesses often claim the highest potential value or damage when they seek insurance coverage.

Charity fraud

The best example of the scourge of tiny horses is the controversy over a portrait of Trump. Most of us were transfixed by the notion that Trump would rig an auction with a straw buyer to make sure that his portrait was the most expensive purchase. That is not a crime but he allegedly used money from his charity to buy the portrait, then hung the painting in one of his properties. In July 2013, Trump tweeted about his portrait being the most valuable item. The date is important, since most forms of fraud have a statute of limitations lasting five years. The statute on fraud involving financial institutions can be as long as 10 years. However, these violations are rarely prosecuted criminally anyway. In the worst cases, the charity is disbanded, which is precisely what happened to the Trump Foundation.

These are all examples of why fighting a hundred duck-sized horses is easier but can take more time. Trump will be answering questions and subpoenas on these allegations for the next two years. It is unlikely to be lethal, absent false statements or obstructions, but it is likely to exhaust him and his presidency. His mounting troubles are likely to rekindle his anger at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who will leave the Justice Department in coming weeks. It was Rosenstein who ordered the referral of the Cohen criminal case to the Southern District of New York.

At the time, I wrote that the move made more strategic than legal sense. It made little sense for Mueller to pursue Manafort on unrelated fraud and other crimes but then to send similar claims against Cohen to New York. If anything, Cohen is linked more closely to Trump, as recently shown. Yet, in doing so, Rosenstein has insured that any forced closure of the special counsel investigation would not end all investigations. In other words, if the horse-sized duck toppled in Washington, a stampede of duck-sized horses was coming from New York. Now we will see which one is worse.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.