Politics

Mueller’s Cohen and Manafort Filings: ‘No Evidence’ of Trump-Russia Collusion

A panel on 'The Ingraham Angle' analyzed the special counsel's latest moves

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Friday filings about former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort show that “there’s no evidence” of Russian collusion with President Donald Trump or his campaign officials, former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova said Friday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

As one of the court filings indicated, Cohen (shown above left) claimed he violated federal campaign finance laws to influence the 2016 presidential election at Trump’s direction by making hush-money payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

The other court filing revealed that Mueller thinks Manafort (above right) lied about his contacts with Trump administration officials while he was under indictment.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham noted that if someone were watching “the other networks tonight, you might as well have thought that Donald Trump just came out in … a hammer and sickle T-shirt and said, ‘Look, I’m actually a Russian operative myself.'”

DiGenova said that “what we learned” from Friday’s filings “was that there’s no evidence, again, of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, and certainly nothing with the president personally.”

“We learned that Michael Cohen is a kind of rather unscrupulous individual who sought to enrich himself through the campaign and did some pretty sleazy deals after the campaign,” diGenova noted. “But, in fact, there is no suggestion whatsoever that the president did anything wrong, committed any crimes or certainly had any contact with Russians.”

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“Lot of hype, lot of sound, lot of noises, lot of drama — but no substance in terms of the president of the United States,” diGenova emphasized.

DiGenova also blasted the mainstream media outlets that were hyperventilating and wildly speculating about what Mueller’s filings could mean for potentially ousting Trump.

“So the notion that there was some sort of conspiracy described in [Friday’s] multiple pleadings is false reporting of the worst kind. It is hopeful reporting, it is anticipatory reporting — but it is not actual reporting,” diGenova said.

Byron York, the Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent and a Fox News contributor, said on Friday night, “We should note that Mueller has not charged anybody” with “taking part in a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.”

Although Mueller’s latest filings show no evidence of Russian collusion, York warned that Democrats who are hoping to impeach Trump will “pivot” to a new strategy.

“I think what’s going to come out of what has happened today is a pivot, from talking about Russia to talking about campaign finance violations,” York predicted.

DiGenova said prosecutors would have to be able to prove that Trump purposefully paid the hush-money “to further the campaign,” instead of paying the money “to prevent personal embarrassment and to keep it quiet.”

Related: Special Counsel Recommends ‘Substantial’ but Fair Sentence for Cohen

But former Assistant U.S. Attorney David Katz said to Ingraham, “I think if there really was an intention and if that money was paid and if anything that Michael Cohen says ends up being true, that’s a huge problem” for Trump.

York predicted that “a lot of Democrats will tell you that as of today, they now already have enough to go forward with” impeachment proceedings against Trump — based solely on potential campaign finance law violations, not Russian collusion.

“When Michael Cohen pleaded, he said he had made these payoffs at the president’s direction. But that was just Michael Cohen saying that. Now they’re going to say you have federal prosecutors saying the president committed two felonies … and that is going to be enough” for Democrats, York warned.

York predicted that “a lot of Democrats will tell you that as of today, they now already have enough to go forward with” impeachment proceedings against Trump — based solely on potential campaign finance law violations, not Russian collusion.

“And so I think there’s going to be a serious number of Democrats … who say the case has already been made,” York said, noting that Democrats retook the House majority following the November 2018 midterm elections.

But former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said, “If the Democrats think they’re going to move on impeachment of the president of the United States on the word of Michael Cohen, they will see the repercussions at the ballot box in 2020.”

Check out the discussion in the video clip below:

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