In a severely under-reported interview with Anderson Cooper Thursday night, attorney Lanny Davis recanted some serious allegations he had made against Trump. Davis is representing Michael Cohen in his plea deal with New York prosecutors on bank and fraud charges. Lanny Davis is a Clinton ally and has represented Bill Clinton.
Davis had said that Cohen would testify that Trump knew about the meeting between Don, Jr and a Russian attorney at Trump Tower. He also suggested that Trump knew ahead of time about the Russian hack of the DNC server. The Trump Tower meeting is nothing. Even if Trump had known, the most that would demonstrate is that Trump lied about not knowing. Foreknowledge about the DNC server hack would be significantly problematic for Trump because it could lead to actual Russian collusion charges.
It turns out neither claim was true.
Davis struggled to respond to Cooper’s questioning, saying that “the reporting of the story got mixed up”. But then Davis admitted that Cohen had truthfully testified that “Trump was not aware (of the Trump Tower meeting) ahead of time”. Cooper asked “Michael Cohen does not have information that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting?” Davis responded “No, he does not”.
When Cooper asked about the possibility that Trump knew about the DNC hack ahead of time, Davis tried to say that he had been tentative about that statement in the first place. He then said “It’s not a certainty”. It sounds as though Davis had been trying to get his client a better plea deal, but really had nothing to work with.
When it comes to Cohen coordinating the pay off of Stormy Daniels with the campaign, Davis faltered on that point as well. When pressed by Cooper, he admitted “I can’t say if there is someone in the campaign who coordinated with Cohen.”
Throughout the interview, it almost seemed like Davis either hadn’t discussed the claims with Cohen before making them on TV, or that Cohen had fed him a bunch of baloney to try to get a better plea deal. Davis ended up looking like a deer in the headlights in the Cooper interview. But in the end, it’s clear that Cohen has nothing that would prove Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting or the DNC hack ahead of time. The Cohen story appears to be over. It appears that Cohen was reimbursed from his retainer rather than the campaign too, so there is nothing there.
Here is the interview: