Robert Mueller’s case against Michael Cohen has very little to do with Trump or campaign finance violations

President Trump and the 2016 campaign amount to a footnote in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sentence filings on Michael Cohen, despite the news media’s heavily overstated narrative that the whole thing is about to blow the lid on a White House “felony.”

The documents are almost exclusively an indictment of Cohen as a tax evader and serial liar. The link to Trump, or of any allegation of wrongdoing on his behalf, has nowhere near the clarity liberals want you to believe.

One of Mueller’s filings demonstrates that Cohen repeatedly lied to Congress and to the Justice Department about the timeline of a business deal in Russia that he had pursued on behalf of the Trump Organization.

The other document is much worse for Cohen in detailing his own conduct.

“[T]he crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf),” the document reads at the start.

It goes on to accuse Cohen of evading $1.4 million in federal taxes by way of a taxi medallion scheme and by neglecting to claim sources of revenue, such as $30,000 in profit “from the sale of a rare and highly valuable French handbag.”

Just a reminder that I’m citing a court document on the crimes of Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer for Donald Trump, and not quoting the script of a movie starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.

The Mueller document also lays bare Cohen’s defrauding of banks that loaned him money. He failed to disclose to them millions of dollars of his personal debt and expenses.

Only after those astonishing revelations does the special counsel delve into the 2016 campaign and the payments to two porn actresses who allegedly had separate affairs with Trump. The document says that Cohen “admitted” that he “acted in coordination with and at the direction of [Trump]” and that Cohen “acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election.”

Cohen, with the threat of harsh penalties related to tax evasion and lying to Congress, told prosecutors he committed the campaign finance violations.

[Related: Trump says Michael Cohen should serve a ‘full and complete’ prison sentence]

But Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, maintains that the payments were legal, meant to settle lawsuits unrelated to the campaign, and that at least the one made to Stormy Daniels was the for the purpose of protecting the Trump family. This argument has been used successfully before a jury to justify a candidate’s secret, private payments to a mistress. The defendant in that case was former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

What the Mueller documents make clear is that, in addition to being a tax fraud and liar, Cohen wasn’t much of a fixer. Cohen was able to temporarily quiet affair allegations from two women with more than $200K between them, and yet there’s no evidence either of them would have changed the results of the election if they had been made public.

What’s worse: Separate consensual affairs (which, again, Trump denies) or an audio recording of Trump saying his stardom grants him license to grab women by the crotch? The “Access Hollywood” video came out Oct. 8, 2016. Trump won the election one month later.

What’s worse: Two women who pose nude for a living gleefully selling their stories about Trump’s penis, or the list of nearly 20 women who over the course of the campaign accused Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct? Woman after woman came forward to accuse Trump of assault or general creepiness. Trump still won the election.

Daniels’ story about her supposed affair with Trump was so riveting that InTouch interviewed her about it in 2011 and only remembered seven years later. Incredibly, the interview wasn’t published until May of this year.

Maybe Trump did knowingly and deliberately violate campaign finance rules by using money to hush up two porn stars. But the Cohen documents don’t say that. Instead, they say that Cohen was a tax cheat and a liar. Trump and the campaign are an afterthought.

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