The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Did Trump attorney Michael Cohen meet with a Russian official in Prague during the late summer of 2016, as suggested in the Steele dossier? Cohen has repeatedly said he never visited the Czech capital — and specifically insists he was in California, not Europe, at that time. He has displayed his passport to reporters, showing that it carries no stamps from such a trip.

Cohen’s denials, amplified by Trump’s own remarks and tweets, are understandable, because his presence at the alleged Prague meeting would amount to proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

But last week McClatchy News Service reported that special counsel Robert Mueller possesses evidence indicating that Cohen was in Prague. McClatchy’s Peter Stone and Greg Gordon quoted two unnamed sources who told them that “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany, apparently in August or early September 2016.”  They went on to note that “Cohen wouldn’t have needed a passport for such a trip, because both countries are in the Schengen Area, in which 26 nations have open borders. The disclosure still left a puzzle: The sources did not say whether Cohen took a commercial flight or private jet to Europe, and gave no explanation of why no record of such a trip has surfaced.”

In fact, it is is entirely possible to enter the Schengen Area on a private flight from the United States without getting a passport stamp on entry or exit. I know this because I have done so at least once myself, in January 2009. Since the advent of electronic passport control systems, not every document is stamped at every arrival and departure. I don’t doubt, however, that my passport was scanned electronically by border authorities, whether or not they bothered to stamp it. Which means the absence of a stamp in Cohen’s passport doesn’t mean he never went to Prague — or that Mueller couldn’t obtain a record proving he did.

Of course, this doesn’t constitute proof that he did go, either. Although the McClatchy reporters are highly reliable, not every anonymously-sourced story is accurate. We won’t know whether this one is right unless and until Mueller shows all his cards.

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Steve Bannon
BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

As Republicans cash in on right-wing outrage over the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s winter home Mar-a-Lago — pelting Trump supporters with fundraising emails and pleas for donations — Trump ally Steve Bannon is taking things a step further, leveling bogus accusations against the FBI and invoking the “deep state.”

Bannon, a former Trump White House strategist indicted and then pardoned by Trump, appeared on a recent version of Infowars with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and performed a bogus rant. He accused the FBI of planting evidence against Trump at Mar-a-Lago and claimed that the Biden government had plans to assassinate the ex-president.

Keep reading... Show less

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}