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‘Hyperventilating’ Media Are Obsessed by Cohen Plea Deal, Observes WSJ Editorial Board

Talking heads should not jump to conclusions on whether Mueller probe news means Trump won't finish first term

The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) editorial board on Thursday slammed “cable TV” for “hyperventilating” over former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea in response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s court charge.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to lying to Congress about his business dealings with Russia and the Trump Organization during President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Cohen previously claimed that discussions about the proposed Moscow project concluded before the Iowa caucuses in January 2016. Cohen now admits he made false statements.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a member of Trump’s legal team, said in a statement Thursday obtained by NBC News that the president has been “completely open and transparent” with the special counsel about the Trump Organization’s proposed hotel in Moscow.

As Trump’s personal lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen once insisted in a Vanity Fair interview that he “would take a bullet for the president.”

Cohen reached a plea deal with prosecutors in August on eight felony counts — two of which concerned campaign finance law violations.

He pleaded guilty to facilitating payments to two women who claimed to have engaged in affairs with Trump, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. It isn’t clear whether any current campaign finance law or regulation would apply to the Daniels or McDougal situations.

The Cohen news came the same week that Mueller’s team accused embattled former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of repeatedly lying to them. And on Friday — just as Trump was traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the G20 summit — Mueller’s team revealed it is considering whether or not to retry Manafort with new charges, including obstruction of justice.

“That determination has not been made,” said special counsel attorney Andrew Weissmann, Politico reported.

Though the original purpose of Mueller’s probe was to discern whether Trump or any of his campaign officials colluded with Russians to sway the presidential election in his favor against Democrat Hillary Clinton, the investigation has now focused on allegations of obstruction of justice by Trump, perjury by others — and the president’s prior business interests.

But many mainstream media members practically salivated over the latest Mueller probe news and Cohen drama as they speculated about whether Trump would serve out his full first term in office as a result.

This did not sit well with the WSJ editorial board.

WSJ noted that Mueller “gave cable TV countless more hours of programming” with the latest Cohen plea deal.

“If you believe the heavy media breathing, Mr. Trump is now, or once again, a goner,” the board wrote.

“At last here is a clear 2016 link between candidate Trump and Russia. Cohen must know more, and it’s only a matter of time before we learn that Mr. Trump was conspiring with Vladimir Putin in return for who knows what.”

Related: Giuliani: Timing of Mueller’s Cohen Bombshell Meant to Sabotage Trump’s G20 Trip

“The reality: Who knows?” the board added, noting that the original “smoking gun” was supposed to be the infamous Trump-Russia Steele dossier that “turned out to be a fraud.”

Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) funded the dossier through Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump.

Although the media obsessed over the Cohen plea deal, the act itself “hardly” represents “a crime or an impeachable offense” on Trump’s part, the WSJ board argued.

“As usual, the best posture is to avoid hyperventilating and size up the evidence as it emerges,” the board said.

“There is still no public evidence proving a Trump-Russia campaign conspiracy.”

Check out Trump’s response to the Cohen plea deal in the video below:

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].