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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) What's happening with the McClatchy story about Cohen going to Prague is what happened with the Kavanaugh hearings: journalists are using a tortured definition of corroboration, ignoring reams of evidence supporting the McClatchy story. I hope you'll read on and retweet.
1/ For the McClatchy story to be true, it's not just that its superficial content must be true, it's that a host of prerequisite conditions must *also* be true. So corroborating McClatchy's reporting is about much *more* than cell phone towers and Eastern European intel agencies.
2/ McClatchy says (below) it has *four* sources who *independently* got (or heard from reliable sources) information about intercepts of Kremlin agents discussing Cohen being in Prague in late summer 2016 and cell phone tower records seeming to confirm it.…
3/ But since the four independent sources McClatchy used didn't witness Cohen in Prague themselves—indeed, may only have talked to people who talked to others with first-hand information on that question—reporters are tossing all critical thinking aside and questioning the story.
4/ But the first assessment of a story's credibility is to see if it contradicts a much larger stock of info than just the bare-bones data found in the McClatchy story: namely, the *massive* number of prerequisites that would have to be true for McClatchy's reporting to be right.
5/ The reason an investigator would go to these prerequisites first is (a) there are *so many*, (b) they're *already* part of our stock of corroborated information and (c) if even *one* of them is contravened by the McClatchy reporting, it may bring the whole house of cards down.
6/ And when we assess the McClatchy story in this way—as an investigator, rather than a professionally jealous journalistic peer, would—we find that every necessary prerequisite for McClatchy's reporting to be accurate is present, so much so it lends great credence to its report.
7/ So here we go:

1. Was Cohen one of Trump's top agents? Yes.
2. Was he a top agent on Russia-related business? Yes.
3. Was he in fact *the* top agent for *all* Russia-related business? Yes.
4. Was some of that business covert? Yes.
5. Was in fact nearly all of it covert? Yes.

6. Did Cohen lie about the Russia business he did for Trump? Yes.
7. Did he lie about it repeatedly? Yes.
8. Did he take great risks to lie about it? Yes.
9. Was some of the Trump-Russia business Cohen worked on illegal? Yes.
10. Did any of it involve Russian IC agents? Yes.

11. Did Cohen ever travel on Trump-Russia business for Trump? Yes.
12. Has he tried to hide or minimize that travel? Yes.
13. Has Cohen ever been urged by a Russian IC-linked person to go to abroad for a clandestine meeting on Trump-Russia business? Yes. (See the next tweet.)
10/ We know ex-Russian mobster and Kremlin/Russian IC-linked Mueller suspect Felix Sater urged Cohen to travel to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June '16 to meet with Putin and Peskov to discuss Trump and that Cohen at first *agreed to do so*. The meetings would be private.
11/ Continuing:

14. Was the secret trip a Kremlin agent pitched to Cohen a mid-2016 trip? Yes.
15. When Cohen didn't make the trip, did he lie about why? Yes.
16. So Cohen lied about a mid-2016, Trump-Russia, Kremlin-pitched trip? Yes.

Now let's look at the *nature* of the lie.
12/ Cohen falsely said that he couldn't visit Putin and Peskov in Moscow in June or July 2016 (which would've been secret meetings regarding Trump business) because he had to be in Cleveland to support his boss (Trump) at the RNC. What did he in fact do pre-RNC? Go on *vacation*.

17. Cohen's mid-'16 vacation was when he said he'd be doing Trump work? Yes.
18. Did Cohen really go to Europe in for this "vacation"? Yes.
19. Do we have evidence suggesting the vacation was a secret Trump trip? Yes.
20. Is it because Cohen *lied* about where he went? Yes.
14/ Cohen said he went to Italy (NB: the same country Mueller suspect Jerome Corsi "vacationed" in, the same country with top entities involved in the Rosneft deal, the same country Trump aide Papadopoulos met with a Kremlin agent in more than once), going to Capri specifically.

21. Did Cohen lie about being in Capri with Steve van Zandt? Yes.
22. Was this "vacation" during the crucial ten days pre-RNC when we *know* Paul Manafort was negotiating Trump's Ukraine policy with Kremlin agent Kilimnick? Yes.
23. Do we know where Cohen went in Europe? No.

24. Has Cohen committed crimes at Trump's direction? Yes.
25. Is Cohen Trump's fixer? Yes.
26. When Cohen told Hannity onair he'd never been to Prague, did he show Hannity the passport he was waving around? No.
27. Have Trump aides been known to have multiple passports? Yes.

28. Can you go from Italy to Prague without a passport stamp? Yes.
29. Was Hannity secretly Cohen's *client* when he interviewed him onair? Yes.
30. Did Cohen tell the WSJ that he went to Prague in 2001? Yes.
31. Did Cohen tell Mother Jones he went to Prague in 2002-3? Yes.

32. So Cohen was lying when he said on Twitter he's never been to Prague? Yes.
33. So even after signing a deal with federal prosecutors, Cohen lied publicly about travel to Prague? Yes.
34. Can a man who has lied professionally for 25 years simply stop lying on a dime? No.

35. Is there a dossier compiled by a top international Russia expert—former Russia Desk Chief at MI6—saying Cohen went to Prague? Yes.

Q: So why has full-time media—in expressly so *fulsomely* its many doubts about the McClatchy story—not *also* noted these key facts?
A: ?
19/ Quality news reporting is rendered reliable in part by *known facts* that *never appear in the story itself*. For instance, if McClatchy said it had four sources stating that Trump's a bisexual, you might doubt not just the sources but the lack of any *corroborating context*.
20/ Besides the story having 4 independent sources, *everything* McClatchy wrote jibes with *everything* we know about Trump, Cohen, Cohen's work for Trump, Trump's Russia dealings, Cohen's travel for Trump, and more. Media does McClatchy a grave disservice in ignoring that. /end
PS/ By simply saying the McClatchy story has "no corroboration"—by which it means, no firsthand sources—the media gives ammunition to every Trumpist crank who now says, "You'd have to be a moron to believe that story!" No—anyone who understands evidence would *suspect* it's true.
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