Trump-Russia Roundup: February 21 – 27

Cohen dropped some major Trump-Russia bombshells today. Here’s our breakdown of the key stories:

Today, Trump’s former lawyer and personal “fixer,” Michael Cohen, appeared before Congress in his first public testimony to “tell the truth about Donald J. Trump.”

Here’s what we learned, according to Cohen:

Trump knew about WikiLeaks’ hacked DNC emails before they were released. Cohen says Trump received a call from his longtime associate, Roger Stone, in Cohen’s presence, who not only informed him that he was in touch with the Kremlin-linked organization, but also that they’d begin releasing the hacked emails.

Trump knew about about the infamous Trump Tower meeting before it happened. Cohen says he witnessed firsthand Don Jr. telling his father about the upcoming Trump Tower meeting, in which senior members of the Trump campaign met with Russian spies with the promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Trump wanted Cohen to lie about the Moscow project timeline. Trump’s involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow deal extended far longer than he claims. While Cohen says Trump didn’t directly order him to lie under oath about it, he made it extremely clear that he was expected to.

Republicans don’t want you to know any of that. If you watched today’s hearing, you saw them do everything they could to undermine Cohen’s testimony, bury the truth, and protect Trump.

Their blatant cover-up is why it’s so important to stay on top of the truth.

Read our roundup of coverage from today’s hearing — and other top Trump-Russia stories you need to know right now:

The New York Times: Full Transcript: Michael Cohen’s Opening Statement to Congress
Cohen, the former attorney and fixer for Trump, provided his opening statement to Congress for his public testimony today about the 2016 campaign and Trump’s business practices.

Associated Press: ‘Racist,’ ‘conman’: Cohen assails Trump before Congress
In a damning depiction of Trump, his former lawyer today cast him as a racist and conman who used his inner circle to cover up politically damaging allegations about sex and lied about his business interests in Russia throughout the campaign that sent him to the White House.

The Washington Post: Michael Cohen concludes his testimony: ‘I will not sit back’
Cohen has alleged that Trump knew in advance that the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks planned to publish hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

The New York Times: Michael Cohen Implicates Trump Family Business in Hush Money Payment
Testifying before Congress, Cohen implicated Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., and the chief financial officer of his company, Allen Weisselberg, in the arrangement of a hush money payment before the 2016 election.

The Washington Post: Once Trump’s loyalist in chief, Michael Cohen lifts the curtain on Trump’s actions
Cohen rendered a withering, intimate portrait of Trump, a man for whom he once pledged to take a bullet as evidence of his loyalty.

The New Yorker: Michael Cohen Reminds Us of Trump’s Crimes and His Character
For all that Cohen has said about Trump’s awareness of WikiLeaks’ planned release of hacked emails, his hush money for Stormy Daniels, and his involvement in Trump Moscow negotiations during the 2016 campaign, his descriptions of Trump’s petty lies and outright bigotry have been the most striking parts of his testimony.

The Daily Beast: Cohen Warns Trump-Loving Republicans: You’ll End Up Like Me
The Republican game plan was to impugn Cohen’s nonexistent integrity. Cohen told them that if they continue down their path, they’ll end up as disgraced as he is.

Vox: Republicans can’t defend Trump against the substance of Cohen’s attacks
Their responses overwhelmingly tried to discredit Cohen personally as a liar acting out of self-preservation — pointing out that he has pled guilty to lying to Congress before. One Republican even trotted out a poster of Cohen’s face with the caption “liar, liar, pants on fire.”

USA Today: Investigation opened after Rep. Matt Gaetz tweets apparent threat to Michael Cohen
The Florida Bar opened an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz after the Republican posted what was viewed as a threat to Cohen, just before providing public testimony to Congress.

Politico: Trump butters up Barr amid signs of Mueller conclusion
Facing the possible completion of a special counsel investigation that could upend his presidency, Trump is lashing out at everything and everybody — except his new attorney general, Bill Barr.

Roll Call: Congress to subpoena full Mueller report if AG Barr withholds parts, Blumenthal says
Democrats in Congress will subpoena the full report of special counsel Mueller if the Justice Department only discloses certain parts of it, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said last week.

The New York Times: The Mueller Report Is Coming. Here’s What to Expect.
A concise report will probably act as a “road map” to investigation for the Democratic House — and to further criminal investigation by other prosecutors.

The Guardian: Schiff threatens to call Mueller to testify if Trump-Russia report not made public
A top Democrat threatened last week to call Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill, subpoena documents and take the Trump administration to court if necessary, if the full report on the Russia investigation is not made public.

That’s it (for now!). It’s all real news. Nothing fake here.

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