Litman:Trump’s candidacy complicates a potential criminal case against him, but it can’t protect him. I’m John Litman at the Washington Post and this is On Politics.
John, why was the investigation into Trump’s business dealings so flawed?
JOHN LITMAN: Look, this is a question we have been asking for years about how prosecutors are going to get to the bottom of this. And of course in this case prosecutors were so concerned about Trump’s ties to Russia that they turned over all the relevant documents before they’d even looked at them. And of course, the documents were then immediately released to a major newspaper, the New York Times. So it was a very problematic case for prosecutors.
The president has been repeatedly called on to answer questions about his business dealings. And now that’s the problem. Because as Michael Cohen told Congress after his guilty plea, he was trying to come clean about the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia and they have a problem with that. And so they’re going to try again to get Trump to turn over documents that could prove he knew about the Russian money laundering. But it does mean that for the president, who is the subject number one of an investigation into his possible criminal activities, it means that he’s now in a situation where he can’t even have records on himself reviewed in his normal business dealings.
MELISSA BLOCK: The other thing I’ll point out is in addition to the fact, and I’m sure Michael Cohen will point this out, that Michael Cohen was in a position to know that all of this was going on, there was that other thing. He was trying to help the president. And he’s not talking about his client, right? That’s not where the problem is. He was trying to help the president.
LITMAN: Right. There are all sorts of things he could have said that would have been damaging to himself. But he didn’t. And that’s what gives his statement an even greater degree of credibility. He didn’t say it. He didn’t do it. And so that’s what makes him credible.
BLOCK: I do want to return to one of those other things he said,