As I have noted previously, the most explosive items about Michael Cohen contained in the Steele dossier are the allegations that he took over management of the Trump-Russia conspiracy when Paul Manafort was fired from the campaign and that he travelled to Prague in the summer of 2016 to meet with his Russian counterparts.
On Sunday, Lanny Davis—who has provided Cohen with legal advice—denied that Cohen had ever been to Prague.
Cohen himself hasn’t spoken to the issue since he reached a plea agreement. But back when the dossier was first made public, this is what he told Buzzfeed about his whereabouts during the time in question:
Cohen…said credit card receipts would prove he stayed in Capri, an island off the Italian coast, but he declined to make those receipts available. Cohen was with family and friends, he said, including the musician and actor Steve Van Zandt. Van Zandt did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
But here is what sources have told Roger Friedman:
Sources tell me that Maureen van Zandt, Steve’s wife, has confirmed that even though she was in Rome with her husband at the time for work, they know nothing about Cohen or his statement. They weren’t in Capri…
The source confirms: “The E Street band did play in Rome July 16, 2016. But there was no trip to Capri. The band stayed in Rome a few days after the show until the band had to travel to the next gig. The van Zandts never left the city.”
If true, Cohen just lost his alibi. Additionally, if he lied about where he was and who he was with, his previous statements denying that he traveled to Prague are all called into question.
On the broader issue of the Steele dossier, Sarah Grant and Chuck Rosenberg have provided a helpful rundown of what has and hasn’t been corroborated. Contrary to what Trump and his enablers want us to believe, here are the facts:
The dossier holds up well over time, and none of it, to our knowledge, has been disproven.
According to what is known publicly, whether Cohen traveled to Prague has not been disproven, and so far, Mueller has been silent on the question. But if he lied about his alibi, the scales just tipped in the direction of the allegation being true.