When we commented earlier on the latest document leak involving Stormy Daniels’ lawyer and former Rahm Emanuel opposition researcher, Michael Avenatti, who “somehow” had gotten access to Michael Cohen’s wire transfer documents obtained by Richard Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian collusion, we asked just how it was possible that this critical piece of Mueller’s probe had been strategically leaked to the man who is now leading the legal charge against President Trump.
It appears we were not the only ones to ask that question because less than a day after Avenatti unveiled he had access to Cohen’s bank records…
After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 8, 2018
… the WaPo reported that the Treasury Department’s inspector general has begun an investigation whether and how the confidential banking information for Essential Consultants LLC, the company controlled by President Trump’s personal attorney, was leaked.
Rich Delmar, counsel to the inspector general, said that in response to media reports the office is “inquiring into allegations” that Suspicious Activity Reports on Cohen’s banking transactions were “improperly disseminated.”
For those who missed yesterday’s main event, here is another recap from WaPo:
On Twitter, Avenatti circulated a dossier that purports to show that Cohen was hired last year by the U.S.-based affiliate of a Russian company owned by Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian business magnate who attended Trump’s inauguration and was recently subjected to sanctions by the U.S. government. The affiliate, New York investment firm Columbus Nova, confirmed the payment, saying it was for consulting on investments and other matters, but denied any involvement by Vekselberg.
Avenatti’s dossier also alleged that, after Trump’s inauguration, Cohen’s company Essential Consultants had received payments from several others with business considerations before the federal government, including telecommunications giant AT&T, aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries and pharmaceutical company Novartis. All three companies subsequently confirmed the payments.
When he was reached by WaPo, Avenatti predictably refused to disclose his source:
“The source or sources of our information is our work product, and nobody’s business,” Avenatti said. “They can investigate all they want, but what they should be doing is releasing to the American public the three Suspicious Activity Reports filed on Michael Cohen’s account. Why are they hiding this information?”
Amusingly, Avenatti preempted this probe just last night, when he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “There’s been some criticism of our media strategy and how often I’m on CNN and how often I’ve been on your show and other networks. It’s working. It’s working in spades. Because we’re so out front on this, people send us information, people want to help our cause. People contact us with information.”
What was left unsaid is that it was not “people” who sent Avenatti the Cohen bank records, it was most likely someone deep inside Mueller’s probe who is leaking confidential information, making what was already a politicized probe, even more so.
And with the past 1.5 years of the Trump administration marked almost entirely by leaks, traditionally of the NSA/CIA/FBI to WaPo/NYT variety, it was long overdue that someone decided to finally took a look.
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