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Matt Osborne @OsborneInk
, 18 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Michael Cohen is in serious trouble. Stormy Daniels is the least of the reasons why. Nevertheless, Robert Mueller is probably looking for leverage to flip Cohen and have him confirm a key detail of the Steel dossier. Thread.…
Unlike many of the marginal characters in this sordid saga, Cohen is a real player. He appears to have been instrumental in bringing Russian oligarch money to Trump's businesses for the last decade…
Cohen developed those ties by way of Ukraine, so it was not really surprising that he became the go-between for that attempted "peace plan" in January 2017, or that he was named as a person of interest in the FBI's counterintelligence investigation…
As Trump's longtime fixer, Cohen had been expected to take a plum job in the new administration. But he was never appointed. Why not? Because he was under serious FBI investigation long before Stormy Daniels became a household name.…
Which is not surprising, since Cohen was at the center of efforts to build a Trump Tower Moscow during the first months of the campaign.…
Which brings us back to the dossier. Cohen specifically denies meeting a Russian senator named Konstantin Kosachev in Prague. He has sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over that specific detail of the Steele dossier.…
Note that Kosachev was just added to the Treasury Department's list of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, though the reasons for that determination were not explained in any detail.…
Also, note that Bill Browder accuses Kosachev of being one of the original gangsters behind the Magnitsky affair cover-up.

Kosachev has been a prominent Kremlin spokesman on Syria, Trump, and official denials of 2016 election interference…
Again, Cohen adamantly denies ever meeting Kosachev in Prague. We are told it was "another Michael Cohen" who visited Prague at that time...using an Israeli passport...with his exact same birthdate. What a coincidence!

When he met with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Cohen -- who is Jewish -- specifically denied holding an Israeli passport. Surely he would never ever ever lie to Congress, surely!…
After all, it's not as if other key figures in this scandal have turned out to be holding multiple passports, right?…
And then there is the deliberately-vague story about a Baltic ally of the United States recording unnamed people from the Trump organization (Cohen?) communicating with unspecified Russian government officials (Kosachev?)…
If such intercepts exist, Mueller has them. He would rather not use them, though, both because our ally doesn't want Russian retaliation and because wiretaps aren't always good courtroom evidence.

OTOH, a witness who confirms a Prague meeting took place? That is courtroom gold
As with Manafort, expect Michael Cohen's shady past behavior -- including his role in witness intimidation, sex silence slush funds, AND sketchy Ukrainian or Russian investors -- to become leverage for Mueller.

Expect Cohen to change his tune about that Prague meeting.
Mueller understands that if just one witness confirms any key detail of the Steele dossier, everyone will stop calling it "unsubstantiated," "uncorroborated," "dodgy," etc., and the conversation will shift to "HOW MUCH of the dossier is true?"
Mueller has always seen Michael Cohen as a far more important witness than is generally understood. And as I explained before, Mueller is savvier about the impact of public opinion on the success of his investigation than most of us appreciate.


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