NYC Boss

NYC Boss

Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen have gotten themselves into a big mess trying to damage Trump

Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen have gotten themselves into a big mess trying to damage Trump

I don't recall seeing a Beltway establishment insider of the standing of Lanny Davis ever walking back two claims he made to media as an anonymous source.  And I can't think of a single instance in which a major media outlet, in this case CNN, stuck with a story after its anonymous source outed himself and walked back the revelation from him featured in the story.

Quite clearly, Trump Derangement Syndrome is driving the Washington media and political establishments into self-destructive madness.  Blogger Don Surber maintains an ongoing "Trump schadenfreude list" of people who have done themselves harm in their efforts to counter the POTUS and may well be adding lawyers Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen to it soon.

In an analysis in the Washington Post, Aaron Blake laments the damage that he sees Davis and Cohen have inflicted on the case against Trump.  His hypothesis about how a notable, well connected, heavyweight super-lawyer like Davis could get mired in a fiasco like this is persuasive, if you ignore the mandatory shots at Trump and his lawyers.

In a new interview with The Washington Post's Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, Davis is backing off two massive claims he made in recent weeks, including that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has told people he witnessed President Trump being informed of Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer before it happened.

"I should have been more clear – including with you – that I could not independently confirm what happened," Davis said, adding: "I regret my error."

Davis also backed off his claim that Cohen has information suggesting that Trump knew in advance about Russian hacking of Democrats' emails in 2016.

"I am not sure," Davis said.  "There's a possibility that is the case.  But I am not sure."

The first of these claims was put forward anonymously, initially in a report that CNN is standing by.

CNN's refusal is stunning.

Full disclosure: I have had some business dealings with Lanny Davis, and even though I disagree with him, he is a likable person and very, very sharp.


Screen grab from BBC, via Breitbart.

It's hard to believe that he lied on his own initiative.  And what he's claiming now doesn't make any sense at all.  Blake explains:

Davis, for his part, suggests that he was just speculating.  Witness this amazing pair of paragraphs at the end of Hamburger's and Helderman's story:

Davis said that in discussing the hacking allegations last week, he should have emphasized his lack of certainty.  He said he raised the idea that Cohen might have information about Trump's knowledge because he had a strong feeling that might be the case.

"I was giving an instinct that he might have something to say of interest to the special counsel" about hacking, Davis said.  In retrospect, he said, "I am just not sure."

"A strong feeling."  That just doesn't make much sense.  Davis is a lawyer for his client, not a pundit.  He can speak to Cohen about sensitive matters.  His job is literally to speak publicly for Cohen, and getting their story straight is Job No. 1.  The idea that Davis was simply freelancing with a narrative he hadn't run by his client just doesn't ring true.  And if he was, how has Cohen not fired him for so clearly botching his defense?

Blake's supposition:

The most obvious answer would seem to be that Cohen may be the one contradicting himself.  Ever since the CNN story broke, the question has been whether Cohen told congressional investigators the same story when he testified behind closed doors at a time when he was more loyal to Trump.  There were indications that this new version of events wasn't exactly compatible with that testimony, which could open Cohen up to more legal problems.

When Cohen reached a plea deal last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Republican and Democrat made a rare joint, public statement saying they wanted Cohen to continue cooperating with their Russia investigation.  They also said they had contacted Cohen's lawyers after the CNN story broke and asked whether he wanted to amend his testimony.  Cohen has declined to do so.

Cohen may be in big trouble.  I presume he has spoken with the prosecutors in making his deal and may have misled them, which we all now know can itself lead to prosecution and the dropping of the deal.

At a minimum, this makes Cohen much less credible, no matter what story he sticks to.  My guess is that, following his current humiliation, Lanny will get points among D.C. insiders for being a stand-up guy, willing to take heat for his clients.  So long as he remains a source of anti-Trump information, he will still be used as an anonymous source by the Trump-hating 90% of the media.

I don't recall seeing a Beltway establishment insider of the standing of Lanny Davis ever walking back two claims he made to media as an anonymous source.  And I can't think of a single instance in which a major media outlet, in this case CNN, stuck with a story after its anonymous source outed himself and walked back the revelation from him featured in the story.

Quite clearly, Trump Derangement Syndrome is driving the Washington media and political establishments into self-destructive madness.  Blogger Don Surber maintains an ongoing "Trump schadenfreude list" of people who have done themselves harm in their efforts to counter the POTUS and may well be adding lawyers Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen to it soon.

In an analysis in the Washington Post, Aaron Blake laments the damage that he sees Davis and Cohen have inflicted on the case against Trump.  His hypothesis about how a notable, well connected, heavyweight super-lawyer like Davis could get mired in a fiasco like this is persuasive, if you ignore the mandatory shots at Trump and his lawyers.

In a new interview with The Washington Post's Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, Davis is backing off two massive claims he made in recent weeks, including that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has told people he witnessed President Trump being informed of Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer before it happened.

"I should have been more clear – including with you – that I could not independently confirm what happened," Davis said, adding: "I regret my error."

Davis also backed off his claim that Cohen has information suggesting that Trump knew in advance about Russian hacking of Democrats' emails in 2016.

"I am not sure," Davis said.  "There's a possibility that is the case.  But I am not sure."

The first of these claims was put forward anonymously, initially in a report that CNN is standing by.

CNN's refusal is stunning.

Full disclosure: I have had some business dealings with Lanny Davis, and even though I disagree with him, he is a likable person and very, very sharp.


Screen grab from BBC, via Breitbart.

It's hard to believe that he lied on his own initiative.  And what he's claiming now doesn't make any sense at all.  Blake explains:

Davis, for his part, suggests that he was just speculating.  Witness this amazing pair of paragraphs at the end of Hamburger's and Helderman's story:

Davis said that in discussing the hacking allegations last week, he should have emphasized his lack of certainty.  He said he raised the idea that Cohen might have information about Trump's knowledge because he had a strong feeling that might be the case.

"I was giving an instinct that he might have something to say of interest to the special counsel" about hacking, Davis said.  In retrospect, he said, "I am just not sure."

"A strong feeling."  That just doesn't make much sense.  Davis is a lawyer for his client, not a pundit.  He can speak to Cohen about sensitive matters.  His job is literally to speak publicly for Cohen, and getting their story straight is Job No. 1.  The idea that Davis was simply freelancing with a narrative he hadn't run by his client just doesn't ring true.  And if he was, how has Cohen not fired him for so clearly botching his defense?

Blake's supposition:

The most obvious answer would seem to be that Cohen may be the one contradicting himself.  Ever since the CNN story broke, the question has been whether Cohen told congressional investigators the same story when he testified behind closed doors at a time when he was more loyal to Trump.  There were indications that this new version of events wasn't exactly compatible with that testimony, which could open Cohen up to more legal problems.

When Cohen reached a plea deal last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Republican and Democrat made a rare joint, public statement saying they wanted Cohen to continue cooperating with their Russia investigation.  They also said they had contacted Cohen's lawyers after the CNN story broke and asked whether he wanted to amend his testimony.  Cohen has declined to do so.

Cohen may be in big trouble.  I presume he has spoken with the prosecutors in making his deal and may have misled them, which we all now know can itself lead to prosecution and the dropping of the deal.

At a minimum, this makes Cohen much less credible, no matter what story he sticks to.  My guess is that, following his current humiliation, Lanny will get points among D.C. insiders for being a stand-up guy, willing to take heat for his clients.  So long as he remains a source of anti-Trump information, he will still be used as an anonymous source by the Trump-hating 90% of the media.

Published at Tue, 28 Aug 2018 05:00:00 +0000