- The Washington Times - Friday, July 27, 2018

Fox News’ Chris Wallace says political analysts may be doing some wishful thinking on Russian collusion when it comes to new claims by President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Reports that Mr. Trump’s former fixer will tell special counsel Robert Mueller that a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower was approved by the billionaire does not shock the “Fox News Sunday” host. He told colleague Sandra Smith on “America’s Newsroom” that even if such a claim were true it means little from a legal perspective.

“It seems to me the worst that you could say, assuming that Cohen is telling the truth now, is that Donald Trump lied back in 2017,” Mr. Wallace said Friday. “But so what? It’s not admirable. You would hope he wouldn’t, but it is not breaking the law — lying to the media. He certainly wouldn’t be the first president, if he did, who had done so.”

The newsman said that a single meeting with a Russian lawyer, President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign-chairman Paul Manafort, and other staffers is a far cry from collusion.

“Even the meeting itself — while it certainly doesn’t seem praise-worthy that American political candidates or their team would be meeting with a Russian lawyer to try to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that was being offered to them — that falls a long way from any hint of collusion between Trump and the Kremlin,” Mr. Wallace said, Mediaite reported.

The president blasted the report on Friday as a continuation of what he sees as a political hit job.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump refutes Michael Cohen’s claim that he knew about Trump Tower meeting with Russians

“I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”

Mr. Cohen now retains Washington lawyer Lanny Davis, a long-time Clinton ally.

The president’s “taxi” comment is a reference to Mr. Cohen’s former business partner, Evgeny “Taxi King” Friedman, who recently pleaded guilty in a New York state court to a charge of tax evasion in a plea deal.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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