My new Slate piece: on the breaking news about the Russian oligarch’s payments to Michael Cohen starting in January 2017 — right after the Rosneft sale alleged in the Steele Dossier.
These allegations are not just about a hush payment and campaign finance felonies. It’s a big step toward establishing bribery and conspiracy against the United States.
What’s the explanation for a Putin oligarch funneling money to Trump’s lawyer through a fund used to pay hush money to one or more women, just as Trump was benefiting that oligarch? Maybe they have an explanation, but it’s hard to imagine it – or how a jury could be persuaded.
My editors cut my snarky conclusion, and understandably so. But I’ll tweet it: “It also seems obvious that once the Steele Dossier was published, someone savvy like Vekselberg would find a less conspicuous way to pay off Trump associates. Maybe they were assuming the U.S. works like Russia: once you’re in power, and you’re doing the bidding for those in power, you can get away with open corruption. But Vekselberg was not working with Russians. And he wasn’t working with such sharp Americans, either.”