At 1:25 p.m. on July 17, 2016, an Alitalia jet carrying Donald Trump’s longtime fixer and attorney Michael Cohen landed in New York, bringing him home after eight days celebrating his 50th birthday in Capri and Rome.
About 2 p.m. on July 20, a helicopter carrying Trump thumped down in a field in downtown Cleveland, delivering the presidential candidate in dramatic style to the Republican National Convention, already underway.
Between those two days — while Trump was in New York and the political world’s attention was trained on Cleveland — Cohen alleges that Trump received an important phone call from his decades-long confidant Roger Stone, alerting him that WikiLeaks was planning within days to release a cache of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton.
By the end of that week, right on the heels of Trump’s acceptance of the GOP nomination and as Democrats gathered in Philadelphia for their convention, WikiLeaks posted online thousands of internal Democratic Party emails that federal prosecutors allege were stolen by Russian operatives.
If true, Cohen’s account, which he provided in sworn testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, would be a dramatic revelation — indicating that Trump misled the public about his knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans and, importantly, provided false written testimony to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
The existence of such a conversation could add critical new clues that could help answer a fundamental question before Mueller: Did Trump or anyone around him have knowledge of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 campaign? [Continue reading…]