President Trump on Monday highlighted a contrast between a former ally and a current one, and he hopes the former ally spends a long time in prison. The man he wants to see in jail is Michael Cohen, who is cooperating with Robert Mueller's investigation after taking a plea deal. “Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time," tweeted Trump. "You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term?" He accused Cohen of making up "stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself" and should, "in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence." In the same Twitter stream, Trump drew a contrast to Roger Stone. Details and developments:
- A promise: Trump took note of Stone's weekend vow that he will never testify against the president. "He will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about 'President Trump,'" wrote Trump. "Nice to know that some people still have 'guts!'”
- What Stone said: "There's no circumstance under which I would testify against the president, because I'd have to bear false witness against him," Stone told ABC's This Week, per Fox News. "I'd have to make things up, and I'm not going to do that." Stone insisted he had no contact with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks in regard to the leak of Democratic emails, something Mueller is investigating.
- A slam: Attorney George Conway, a frequent critic of Trump who also is the husband of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, responded to Trump's Stone tweet with one of his own. It referenced sections of the federal criminal code dealing with witness tampering, among other things, reports CNBC.
- The endgame? At USA Today, former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg writes that Mueller's "endgame is drawing near," and it doesn't bode well for Trump. "Mueller is laying out the predicate for a wide-ranging conspiracy case that will likely ensnare the president’s family and, quite likely, Trump himself."
- The report: Everyone is waiting for the Mueller Report to come out, but Garrett M. Graff at Axios has a different take on that: "One of the least-noticed elements of the special counsel's approach is that all along, he has been making his case bit by bit, in public, since his very first court filing," writes Graff. "With his major court filings so far, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the 'Mueller Report.'" What has emerged so far suggests that Mueller has "supreme confidence that he has the goods."
- Not so fast: A post at RealClear Investigations quotes congressional investigators and former prosecutors who think the Cohen plea deal points to exoneration for the president, not trouble. They accuse Mueller of withholding information in the court documents that clear Trump of any Russian collusion. For example, "Mueller omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to Vladimir Putin’s general press mailbox."
- Ditto: At the conservative Power Line blog, Scott Johnson also thinks the coverage of Cohen's plea led to "the usual 'collusion' hysteria." He laid out his points disputing the hype here.
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