* Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Rosalind Helderman report that Robert Mueller had Michael Cohen in his sights longer than we knew:
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III obtained court-approved warrants to search the emails of President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in July 2017 as his office investigated whether Cohen had illegally worked for foreign entities, according to newly unsealed documents illustrating how the investigation moved quickly and quietly to scour the digital trails of the president’s associates.
The search warrants unsealed Tuesday in Cohen’s case offer new insight into how Mueller and his team handed off a key part of the Cohen investigation to federal prosecutors in New York in early 2018, and how much evidence prosecutors already had against Cohen even before they searched his office, home and hotel room in April of that year. They also serve as a detailed reminder of the broad array of wrongdoing of which Cohen was accused and to which he eventually pleaded.
The first warrant obtained by the special counsel’s office was dated July 18, 2017, and sought Cohen’s emails. A second warrant less than a month later sought the cloud backup files related to his phones. A third warrant sought by Mueller’s office sought Cohen emails dating to June 2015.
Investigators were especially interested in how Cohen had apparently lied to banks — claiming he couldn’t pay back loans as quickly as they would have liked — while pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies like AT&T, Novartis and even an investment-management firm linked to a Russian national. Prosecutors in New York have since alleged Cohen was charging enormous sums while performing minimal work.
Isn’t “charging enormous sums while performing minimal work” the American Dream?
* John Wagner reports that the president was in a surly mood today:
President Trump took fresh aim Tuesday at the late senator John McCain, calling his 2017 vote on a health-care bill “a disgrace” and saying he never was and never would be a fan of the Arizona Republican, who died of brain cancer seven months ago.
Trump’s comments came during a meeting in the Oval Office with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in response to a reporter’s questions about his continuing disparagement of McCain, including in multiple tweets over the weekend.
“I’m very unhappy that he didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare, as you know,” Trump said, referring to McCain’s vote against overhauling the Affordable Care Act in July 2017. “He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years, and then he got to a vote, and he said thumbs down.”
Trump asserted that McCain had told the White House hours before his no vote that he would support the president.
“I think that’s a disgrace, plus there are other things,” Trump said. “I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be.”
Trump sure is a role model — remember kids, make sure to be consumed with slights and nurse petty grudges.
* Fred Barbash and Deanna Paul report on why the Trump administration keeps losing in court.
* Ken Dilanian has some important reporting on how the question of whether Trump is compromised by a foreign power could continue to be a major issue, even if Robert Mueller doesn’t bring “collusion” charges.
* Joshua A. Geltzer, Mary B. McCord, and Nicholas Rasmussen examine the globalization of right wing terrorism, a topic that will rightly get more and more attention going forward.
* John Stoehr explains how members of the media unwittingly (or perhaps wittingly) do real damage to our discourse when they try to jam Democrats by asking them whether they think Trump is a racist.
* And Dan Alexander reports that a mystery buyer just gave President Trump $2.9 million for a condo. Move along, nothing to see here.