The Deeper Story on Cohen-Watnick

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With the big news this evening that Gen. H.R. McMaster was finally allowed to fire Flynn protege Ezra Cohen-Watnick, let me refer you back to what I explained back in April: Cohen-Watnick likely had dirty hands in the Russia cover-up. Specifically, his ‘review’ of intelligence which led to the ‘un-masking’ charade was likely an effort to monitor and perhaps interfere with the on-going Russia probe.

Here are two paragraphs from that April post …

As even Lake concedes, Rice’s alleged actions – if the report is accurate – were almost certainly legal. Most national security experts say they were not only legal but entirely proper. Moreover, the kind of snooping around that Cohen-Watnick was apparently doing could very plausibly be interpreted as an attempt to monitor or interfere with the on-going counter-intelligence probe of Trump associates’ ties to Russia. The White House Counsel’s job is to protect and look after the legal interests of the President. A good lawyer would likely want to shut that kind of freelancing down right away, especially if what Cohen-Watnick had found didn’t amount to anything that helped the President or the White House.

The paragraph above also says Cohen-Watnick was “conducting the review.” But what review was that? It’s not clear this ‘review’ was authorized by anyone and it’s fairly implausible that he just stumbled on this stuff in the first place ‘in the normal course of business’, as he and the White House claim. His review apparently began in February. So if it was authorized it was likely okayed by Mike Flynn – another red flag.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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