Reason Roundup

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached Over a Hotel? Reason Roundup

BuzzFeed report says president personally told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow project.



Insert the "It's Happening" gif here, folks. Maybe. A story dropped by BuzzFeed last night about President Donald Trump's directives to Michael Cohen has the internet and airwaves ablaze with talk of imminent impeachment.

As always, such talk should come with about a hundred caveats, but caution and prudence aren't this era's strong suits.

Whatever political stakes may come, however, perhaps the most truly profound part of this story is how mundane Trump's motives reportedly were. His alleged dealings with Vladimir Putin's people and, later, alleged orders for Cohen to lie to Congress about it come down to securing the right to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow, Buzzfeed's sources say.

For all the cries of collusion, treason, and kompromat; all the speculating about sinister political motives; all the high hysteria we've been subjected to from Democrats, cable news, and supposedly serious thinkers…well, here we are: Trump wanted Trump Tower Moscow. He had long wanted to build a hotel there, and when progress on that front finally started happening he wasn't going to give it up just because he was running for president—a bid that at that point Trump and his campaign did not actually expect him to win.

The "Moscow Project" has been public for a while, thanks to Cohen's prosecution for lying about it. (Cohen claimed that work securing Russian authorities' approval for the hotel ended in January 2016, though it continued at least through that June.) BuzzFeed's biggest new reveal is that Trump personally told Cohen that he should lie about it to Congress, according "to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter."

BuzzFeed also reports that, contrary to his debate claims, Trump was directly egging on the hotel deal during part of his campaign, and that the Trump children were much more involved in the hotel project than they have let on.

To quote Reason's Scott Shackford, "despite all the crazy conspiracy theorizing, everything that's coming out about Trump is very, very Occam's Razor simplest explanation." Trump likes shiny towers with his name on them, he blurts things out, and he expects everyone around him to cover for him when these things aren't true.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's response to the new allegations: "If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge."

The House Intelligence Committee says it will begin an investigation.



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