The biggest allegation from the famed Trump dossier leaked by BuzzFeed is undoubtedly the pee tape rumor. It’s salacious. It’s humiliating. It’s gross. It’s everything we think about Trump. Unfortunately, the credibility of the dossier took a big hit today in Michael Cohen’s testimony, meaning that it’s even less likely that the pee tape is real. First, what the dossier said about Michael Cohen:
Speaking to a compatriot and friend on 19 October 2016, a Kremlin insider provided further details of reported clandestine meeting/s between Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and Kremlin representatives in August 2016. Although the communication between them had to be cryptic for security reasons, the Kremlin insider clearly indicated to his/her friend that the reported contact/s took place in Prague, Czech Republic.
Cohen had denied this allegation before, but today he was under oath and said “I’ve never been to Prague. I’ve never been to the Czech Republic.” After saying he had gone to Europe with his daughter, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) asked Cohen “you did not meet with any Russians? [in Europe]” to which Cohen simply replied “No.”
This whole situation is confusing because not only did McClatchy report in April 2018 that “Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016,” but there is evidence literally sitting on the web right now, as this Cohen passage from my March 2017 deep dive on Trump-Russia still largely remains true to this day (save for my certainty that he intentionally lied):
Cohen told The Atlantic that he was in Los Angeles from August 23rd to August 29th during the campaign. This is an easily provable lie. How do I know? I went through every single one of his tweets from the month of August (and yes, I have far less brain cells than when I started), and his own actions contradict himself.
Weekends are a bit more subdued [than his frequent weekday posting], but you can typically tell that he’s putting in a full day of work when he sticks to his 6-8 and 10-midnight tweeting habit. Saturday August 13th and Sunday the 14th were two such examples where he stuck to a regular schedule, whereas the last weekend in August was relatively quiet, but it is the weekend in between those two which raises suspicions. Between Saturday and Sunday, the 20th and 21st, he did not tweet and only retweeted four tweets. That alone isn’t anything too outside the norm, although he typically tries to reply to as many people who tweet at him as possible (always with a period in front of the @ sign so everyone can see his reply).
What raises alarm bells is the relative inactivity the following work days, combined with the fact that the few tweets he did send out were not geotagged, unlike nearly every single one from the entire month of August and beyond.
Cohen Told The Atlantic he was in Los Angeles when this tweet sent from his account is geotagged from New Jersey.
Now this could just be another lie in a mountain of them. Remember, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that he would lie here, or again to Congress today—although it is nearly impossible to see what motivation he could have to continue to protect Trump at this point—especially since his testimony did offer plenty of damning revelations for Trump.
So chalk up Cohen’s geotagging mess to a faulty memory, or maybe it turns out he wasn’t even the one controlling his Twitter account. Regardless, the man whom the dossier placed in Prague in August 2016 said under oath that he has never been to Prague, which means that the credibility of the dossier, and the pee tape along with it, must take a significant hit.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.