Manafort, Cohen, and Individual-1 are in grave danger

If the Southern District’s fury at Cohen is notable, its explicit accusation that President Trump directed and coordinated campaign finance violations is simply stunning. The prosecutors’ openness suggests they are sure of their evidence and have mostly finished collecting it. It’s a sign of a fully-developed, late-game investigation of the president’s role, one that may soon make its way to Congress.

And that brings us to brief no. 3: Special Counsel Mueller separate sentencing brief in Cohen’s lying-to-Congress case. He does not recommend a sentence but informs the court about the nature of his assistance to his office. Mueller discloses that Cohen has “taken significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct” by pleading guilty to lying to Congress and meeting with the Special Counsel seven times to discuss his own conduct and other “core topics under investigation.” That includes information about multiple contacts between other Trump campaign officials and the Russian government, and about Cohen’s contact with the White House in 2017 and 2018, suggesting an ongoing inquiry into obstruction of justice. Most significant, the Special Counsel indicates Cohen “described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries, while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements within it.” That statement suggests that the Special Counsel believes that someone in the Trump administration knew of, and approved in advance, Cohen’s lies to Congress. That’s explosive, and potentially impeachable if Trump himself is implicated.