December 8, 2018

After listening to members of a Special Report panel act as though the sentencing memos for Michael Cohen filed this Friday were yawners, US News & World Report writer David Catanese seemed like he had had enough of the BS.

As Vox explained, Mueller's Cohen memo reveals that Cohen has provided “credible” and “useful” information that should be worrisome to Trump and, potentially, his family, even if no smoking gun about Russia collusion or obstruction of justice was laid out.

Cohen is cooperating on central topics — specifically, “Russia-related matters” that are “core” to the investigation. Trump and the Trump Organization are all over this memo (though they’re called “Individual 1” and “the Company”). And there are suggestions that Cohen is giving information about whether Trump tried to obstruct justice since he became president, as well.


Cohen talked about Russia, the Trump business, the Trump White House, and how he dealt with the congressional Russia investigations. And all of this was “useful” to Mueller. But we don’t know further details.

But you’d never know any of that from watching Fox News’ Special Report’s “All Star” panel that was supposedly providing “Key takeaways from Cohen sentencing memo.”

Panelist Byron York complained we didn’t learn “a lot more new” about Trump from either the special counsel’s memo or from the separate sentencing memo filed by other federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. However, York did admit that hush money paid to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal “could be troublesome” for Trump. “And we heard that maybe Cohen had some contacts that we did not know about,” York acknowledged.

Panelist Mollie Hemingway took on her usual role of Trump Monitor and all but declared the Russia investigation a bust. She said her “cursory review” found “we’re not seeing treasonous collusion with Russia nor anything close to it.”

Well, duh. This was a sentencing memo regarding Cohen, not a final report on Trump or Russia. But with her customary prim smugness, Hemingway suggested that anyone who respects the “rule of law” would stop harassing poor Trump with the investigation.

HEMINGWAY: This is a very high price to pay for Donald Trump winning the election and it’s very important that people care about rule of law. … There is an important issue about the federal government and how it runs and whether it’s OK to win an election, even if it makes certain people very angry.

To his credit, host Bret Baier said he thought Mueller’s Cohen filing was a “coming attraction” as opposed to any kind of definitive statement about Trump and Russia.

Then Catanese finally had his turn. Sounding like he was about to jump out of his seat, he said, “To me, the top line of this whole thing, all these documents, is one thing: It’s that the Southern District Court of New York says the president of the United States engaged in a criminal conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws through those two payments!”

Naturally, that roused Mollie the Monitor to another lecture. Hemingway has no apparent legal credentials but she announced, “I think it’s not an open and shut case.” After sneering that a “very interesting” section of the sentencing memo was “extremely overwritten” and “very dramatic,” she declared, “I don’t think it’s settled whether this would be a campaign election violation.” She continued, “In order to make that case … they basically are going to have to prove that Donald Trump has literally never paid anyone for their silence.”

The fourth guest, law professor Jonathan Turley, called Hemingway’s point “a good one.” But, he added, the allegation is “serious."

Watch the spinning above, from the December 7, 2018 Special Report.

Crossposted at News Hounds.
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