by WorldTribune Staff, August 29, 2018
Anti-Trump forces within the major media and the nation’s capital are scrambling to get their stories in alignment on “collusion”, reports say.
On July 26, CNN broke a “blockbuster” story which claimed Michael Cohen would inform special counsel Robert Mueller that he was on hand when President Donald Trump was told in advance about his son’s meeting with various Russians at Trump Tower.
Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis, a source for the CNN story, has since said it was false and Cohen had no such knowledge.
“The substance of the CNN story itself regarding Cohen – which made headline news all over all the world … has now been retracted by other news outlets that originally purported to ‘confirm’ CNN’s story,” Glenn Greenwald wrote for The Intercept.
In retracting their stories, The Washington Post and the New York Post said Davis was the anonymous source who had “confirmed” parts of CNN’s report.
“CNN, however, has retracted nothing,” Greenwald noted. “All inquiries to the network are directed to a corporate spokesperson, who simply says: ‘We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it.’ ”
CNN could possibly have had other sources for the story, Greenwald notes, but “it’s hard to see how CNN’s story could be true given that Davis, Cohen’s own lawyer, explicitly says that Cohen has no information that Trump had prior knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting, that Cohen cannot and will not tell Mueller that this happened, and that Davis’ prior claims about Cohen’s knowledge and intentions are false.”
Ben Stein, in a column for The American Spectator, wrote that when Cohen “was desperate, he did not go to just any lawyer. Washington, D.C. has over 90,000 lawyers. There are many more in New York City, where he was charged. No, Cohen went to my former law school classmate, Lanny Davis.
“When the Feds put the vise on Cohen’s gonads, he did not run to a brilliant litigator. He ran to the innermost circle of the Clinton Deep State Machine.”
Stein wrote that “the people in the know understand that the real power pushing the totally phony witch hunt against Trump are the inner circle of the Deep State, those with prosecutorial powers. When Cohen surrendered, he went to the Clintons and begged them for mercy via Lanny Davis (at least that’s how it appears to me). So now we have the Special Prosecutor with his 17 Clinton donors in high places and the Clintons’ private attorney working the same side of the main street of Salem, Massachusetts, lighting bonfires for witches.”
Stein continued: “The brutal truth that the whole anti-Trump crusade is largely revanchism of the Clintons is stripped bare by Cohen throwing himself at the altar of Hillary, via Lanny Davis. The real power lies with the Clintons – still. They’ve got the MSM, the prosecutors, Lanny S. Davis… and these entities can do some serious damage. Trump may ruin someone’s day with a tweet. But he cannot put anyone in prison. For that, we have to look to the Clintons and the prosecutorial Deep State.”
Speaking of the Deep State, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, North Carolina Repubilcan, tweeted on Aug. 28 that “We’ve learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA’s.”
Meadows later said that “We know that some people at the Department of Justice and the FBI actually gave information to the media, then the stories were reported. Then they used those reports to justify further investigations. You know, that’s like saying, we’re going to incriminate on one hand, and be the jury on the other. It just doesn’t work that way.”
The claim by Meadows stemmed in part from FBI intelligence analyst Jonathan Moffa’s closed-door testimony last week before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
“But what exactly Moffa told the committees is a matter of dispute,” Fox News reported.
A source with knowledge of the testimony initially told Fox News that Moffa said FBI personnel would use media reports based on information they leaked to justify applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, echoing Meadows. The source said Moffa, who worked with controversial former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, acknowledged this “had been a practice in the past.”
But an FBI official pushed back, telling Fox News the initial claims about Moffa’s testimony were incorrect.
The source later clarified that Moffa testified the FBI routinely uses media material to corroborate their work product, including FISA materials, but “never said directly ‘we utilize FBI leaks for FISAs.’ ” The source did tell Fox News that the FBI has a “culture of leaking for their own gain” and uses media reports to support their work: “There’s quite a bit of evidence raising concerns that the FBI engages in this without Moffa saying it.”
Republicans have long questioned to what extent leaked information, related to the unverified anti-Trump dossier, was used as a basis for surveillance warrants against former Trump adviser Carter Page.
Cohen, who was also a subject in the dossier authored by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, stated a year ago that he saw no evidence that Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
In light of the Lanny Davis retraction this week, Cohen’s words to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Sept. 19, 2017, “have important meaning today,” security correspondent Rowan Scarborough wrote for The Washington Times on Aug. 27.
Cohen told the Senate committee, “Given my own proximity to the President of the United States as a candidate, let me also say that I never saw anything – not a hint of anything – that demonstrated his involvement in Russian interference in our election or any form of Russian collusion. I emphatically state that I had nothing to do with any Russian involvement in our electoral process.”
Cohen said he never traveled to Prague to execute a computer hacking cover-up, as alleged in the Hillary Clinton/DNC-financed Steele dossier.
Davis, who once expressed confidence in the discredited dossier, said last week that the Prague denial stands – Cohen never went there.
Cohen also told the Senate committee: “Let me be totally clear that I am innocent of the allegations raised against me in the public square, which are based upon misinformation and unnamed or unverifiable sources.
“I have never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or conversed with any member of the Russian Federation or anyone else to hack anyone or any organization. I have never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or conversed with any member of the Russian Federation or anyone else to hack or interfere with the election.
“I have never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or conversed with any member of the Russian Federation or anyone else to hack Democratic Party computers; and I have never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or conversed with any member of the Russian Federation or anyone else to create fake news stories to assist the Trump campaign or to damage the Clinton campaign.”