If you’ve been following the evolving anti-Trump story surrounding the Steele dossier and alleged Russian collusion by then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, you’ve no doubt heard about an alleged visit to Prague in the Czech Republic by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Except, despite the same allegations re-emerging in the media every few months for the past two years, there is still no independent evidence to support it, and the origin of that story has been traced back to the opposition research team hired by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
The Washington Times just published a sort of timeline of events with regard to the Cohen in Prague tale, which was most recently pushed in an anonymously-sourced McClatchy DC article on Dec. 27. The McClatchy story claimed — but didn’t show — that evidence existed of Cohen’s phone pinging off a cell tower near Prague in 2016.
But no other media outlets have been able to confirm the report’s claims, and “the McClatchy reporters have made it clear that they have no corroborating evidence of their claims and that some of their sources are indirect at best,” the Daily Beast summarized.
The Dec. 27 story was really just an embellished rehash of a similarly anonymously-sourced McClatchy article in April, which in turn had merely been a rehash of the initial claim against Cohen that was included in the Steele dossier. In essence, it claims that Cohen allegedly traveled to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Russian agents and pay them off for hacking and disseminating Democrat emails ahead of the election.
Cohen story originated in Steele dossier
Rewind to the spring of 2016, when the DNC and Clinton campaign — via the law firm Perkins Coie — hired opposition research group Fusion GPS to help dig up dirt against Trump.
Fusion GPS proceeded to contract with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who compiled a collection of questionably-sourced and still unverified memos outlining supposed Trump/Russia collusion throughout 2016 that eventually became known as the Steele dossier.
Elements of the dossier — including the Cohen in Prague claim — had been strategically leaked to media prior to the 2016 election, until Buzzfeed published the entire anti-Trump dossier in Jan. 2017, little more than a week ahead of President Trump’s inauguration.
Repeatedly debunked allegation
Despite the persistence of the Cohen in Prague tale, there is no evidence to support the claim, as opposed to plenty of evidence suggesting it never happened.
Cohen himself has repeatedly denied ever traveling to Prague, his passport shows no stamp for the Czech Republic and he has produced evidence showing he was actually in California at the same time that he was allegedly halfway around the world in Prague.
Making matters worse for those who still cling to the Cohen in Prague claim is that the allegation isn’t mentioned or even hinted at in any of the several legal filings against Cohen as part of the criminal investigations of him by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team or New York prosecutors.
Considering the Cohen in Prague claim is a central plank of the entire Trump/Russia collusion narrative, its complete absence in the criminal cases against Cohen is telling, as it would undoubtedly be featured front-and-center as prima facie evidence of alleged collusion … the entire premise of the Mueller investigation in the first place, in case anybody forgot.