Government scandals have occurred throughout the history of the world and especially in the United States of America; consider examples such as the Teapot Dome Scandal or Watergate. More recently, Robert Mueller III a former Director of the FBI, has been investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether or not foreign countries have influence on our government officials. Being the current leader of the Special Counsel Investigation of Russia interference, Mueller has turned the spotlight onto Michael Cohen yet again. Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer and company employee, gave a testimony on Capitol Hill to the House Oversight Committee in late February. Cohen already has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about Trump’s real estate project in Moscow and to manipulating campaign funds in 2016 to use as “hush-up” money for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
In April of 2018, the FBI raided Cohen’s home which assisted with him being charged with five accounts of tax evasion, one account of making false statements to a financial institution and one account of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution. In turn Cohen was stripped of his license to practice law and was found guilty and sentenced to three years of prison starting May 6, 2019. This sentence was shortened due to the fact that he pleaded guilty and was cooperating with authorities as a plea deal in the more extensive Mueller investigation.
With the Mueller investigation still underway, Cohen’s relationship with President Trump has been reduced to estranged and bitter. Under oath during his testimony to Congress, Cohen stated that Trump encouraged him to lie about the Moscow construction project, in an indirect manner. Cohen said that his statements to Congress were forced in falsified documents; which were altered by members of the Trump family legal team such as President Trump’s then personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, whose changes to the document were approved by Ivanka Trump’s attorney, Abbe Lowell.
Additionally, Cohen filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization in March for allegedly failing to fulfill their contract dues of payment and indemnify him for lawsuits filed against him while working for the organization. This lawsuit against the Trump Organization totals the amount of 3.8 million dollars in sought out damages. This was another reason for Cohen to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee in late February.
“A ton of information has been unseen by the public, such as anything classified or in an active lawsuit,” said Ann Baldwin, Upper School Government Teacher.
“The real question is if Trump was involved with a Russian deal during his presidency.”
Although Trump’s business affairs before his presidency were legal, there is a question of if business deals during his presidency has affected policy or if these deals caused foreign influence on his administration.
“People have the right to know…. do not draw conclusions until actual facts are released,” Baldwin urges.
More information is being released about the Mueller investigation nearly each day. It is pertinent to stay informed about the news in general and especially about the Mueller investigation considering it is a landmark investigation which could lead to being as prevalent in history as Teapot Dome Scandal or Watergate. In late March Mueller officially concluded his investigation and turned over the full report to the Attorney General, William Barr. A brief summary was released to the public which in short, said that there was insufficient evidence to link President Trump to any corruption with Russia. However, there is evidence to support that Russia did interfere in the 2016 Presidential election.