Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Election

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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby RocketMan » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:07 am

The trick to understanding Mueller’s intentions may lie not in his hundreds of pages of previous indictments and filings, but in the material that he has omitted from them. Is the great unwritten story of Russian collusion hiding in plain sight?


This is really becoming a parody of itself. I mean REALLY? Journalists divining the thoughts of the Great Mueller. Absolutely pathetic.

Loved the Tom Tomorrow though, Trump as tragic hero is something very few are brave enough to attempt. :D
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-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:51 pm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTI9xRcuDHE

Behind Paul Manafort's sordid career: Hints of a much larger Trump conspiracy

It wasn't the "big reveal" Mueller junkies hoped for — but 800 pages on Manafort's crimes was just the appetizer

Heather Digby Parton
Most of you probably didn't stay up late on Friday night on pins and needles waiting for the sentencing memorandum in Paul Manafort's case to drop. That would be because you are sane people who have lives. Quite a few journalists and news junkies obviously can't say that, because we sat there in front of our phones and keyboards, checking Twitter every few moments in the vain hope that the "Big Reveal" was finally coming and Robert Mueller was going to lay out whatever he's got.

As it turned out, the memorandum wasn't filed until Saturday afternoon and it turned out to be a richly detailed 800-page document about Paul Manafort's sordid history of criminality. There is little doubt that this man has spent a lifetime consorting with terrible people doing terrible things and making a lot of money at it. You'd think Donald Trump would have done a little bit of research before he tapped such a person to run his campaign, particularly since one of his major campaign promises was that he would only hire the very best people. Considering how many other corrupt, criminal, incompetent hires there have been to his campaign and administration, that clearly cannot be among those "promises kept" he likes to brag about. There has never been a more motley group of misfits populating one presidency in American history.

Unfortunately, as far as the sentencing memo revealing anything more about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign goes, it was a dud. In fact, the most intriguing fact was that some hints we had already seen in previous filings and court transcripts that point to the possibility of a broader conspiracy were left out of this mammoth filing. That's actually quite unusual. Mueller's previous sentencing memos have gone farther than strictly necessary in laying out details, creating a larger narrative that has unfolded in chapters as each case is presented to the courts.

The Washington Post's Philip Bump wrote a fascinating article arguing that Trump has benefited greatly from the "frog slowly boiling in hot water" aspect of the case. He asks us to imagine how differently this story would look today if Mueller had kept everything under wraps for the last two years:

And then, after all of that, they suddenly produced a dozen indictments and plea deals running into hundreds of pages, detailing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s illegal and questionable financial dealings, those of his deputy Rick Gates, full details of Russia’s alleged efforts to influence social media and to steal electronic information from Democratic targets and detailed a half-dozen people who admitted to lying to federal investigators. Imagine if that had landed with a thud on the attorney general’s desk.

The slow-motion revelations, one after the other, have allowed the president and his henchmen, as Bump says, to "lump every new revelation into a big snowball labeled 'no collusion,' parroting the same refrain as the snowball grows." You lose track of it, never really grasping the bigger picture because we lurch from one scandal and one revelation to the next in a sort of fog. But if you step back just a little, it's clear this is a tremendous story of corruption and malfeasance.

Bump credits journalist Marcy Wheeler with making this point for many months, showing dozens of charges and dozens of people, Russians and Americans alike, prison sentences and guilty pleas, all of which overlap "at only one point: Involvement in the 2016 election." In any ordinary administration it's hard to imagine we'd be seeing the president who ran such a corrupt enterprise gearing up for a re-election campaign.

Nonetheless, all that leaves many important aspects of this case still outstanding, even some pertaining to Paul Manafort. This memorandum didn't mention anything about what prosecutor Andrew Weissmann so intriguingly hinted at in the previous week's court transcripts as "the heart of the case" -- the alleged exchange of polling data with a man the FBI believes is associated with Russian intelligence. Rather than laying out all the facts as he has done in previous sentencing memos, Mueller simply wrote:

Manafort’s conduct after he pleaded guilty is pertinent to sentencing. It reflects a hardened adherence to committing crimes and lack of remorse. As the Court is fully familiar with this proof, we do not repeat the evidence herein.

And there were many, many redactions. Some of them had to do with grand jury material, classified information and unindicted people. But close observers like Wheeler suggest that much of it remains hidden because of the ongoing investigation -- and the sense that Mueller perhaps has more faith in the new attorney general, William Barr, than the previous one. In other words, Mueller didn't feel he had to use a sentencing memo to lay out the facts because he's more comfortable laying them out in a future set of indictments or a report. It's all speculation at this point, but that makes as much sense as anything.

Last week at this time journalists were excitedly reporting that because file boxes were being moved out of Mueller's office and sources in the Justice Department were telling reporters that they were "expecting" to receive the Mueller report this week, this saga was wrapping up. The DOJ later released a statement saying that's not happening. It's not clear exactly why. It could be that the State Department asked that it not be done while the president is overseas, although it's hard to see why the delivery of the report would make a difference. And anyway, Barr will presumably take his sweet time before he releases whatever he plans to release. So unless Mueller abruptly closes up shop on the same day, it's not reasonable to believe that any of this is ending soon.

But the fact that Mueller didn't include any details about a larger conspiracy argues for the idea that there's more to come, either in new indictments or that big report. For this week, we'll have to content ourselves with the first major public hearing since James Comey testified in June of 2017. Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen makes his appearance on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee -- on a split screen, while Trump meets with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi. The Trump presidency gets more surreal by the day.
https://www.salon.com/2019/02/25/behind ... onspiracy/



More
My August 2018 oped on Manafort and Cohen: "Why did officials not react with appropriate alarm when two known criminal operatives took on major roles in a presidential campaign?"

This was not a rhetorical question; the public deserves an answer.
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For Paul Manafort, justice is finally served – but is it too late for America?

Published August 21, 2018
Sarah Kendzior is the author of The View From Flyover Country and the host of Gaslit Nation

Paul Manafort is guilty, but we already knew that. We knew he was guilty of lying, when he brazenly denied his and U.S. President Donald Trump’s connections to Russia throughout 2016, despite massive evidence in the public domain indicating otherwise. We knew he was guilty of cruelty, as he dedicated his life to aiding dictators, mafiosos, oligarchs and others who profit off human suffering. What remained uncertain was whether Mr. Manafort would be found guilty in a court of law – because it is uncertain, in the cesspool of corruption that is Mr. Trump’s America, whether rule of law can endure.

A jury found Mr. Manafort guilty on eight counts on Tuesday, including tax fraud, hiding foreign bank accounts and bank fraud. Their verdict arrived after a contentious trial marked by disturbing incidents, including the judge proclaiming he had been threatened and was surrounding himself with armed security, and a non-sequestered jury that the President of the United States arguably tried to influence through Twitter with sympathetic tweets about Mr. Manafort. The trial combined elements of Mafia-style intimidation with the looming spectre of an unhinged autocrat, making justice seem tenuous. When justice prevailed, it felt like a small miracle.

But the key word here is “small.” Mr. Manafort is the symptom of a broader disease, and his conviction – while significant on a symbolic level – is the first step on a long road to strengthening the rule of law while the Trump administration simultaneously attempts to dismantle it. The crimes for which Mr. Manafort was convicted long predate his role in the 2016 campaign, raising the question of why this mobster multitasker was not stopped by law enforcement earlier.

In 2011, then-FBI director Robert Mueller gave a speech in which he described a new nexus of criminality, centred around the Russian mob but expansive in its adherents. He warned they would likely come to control the U.S. government and economy. “These groups may infiltrate our businesses,” he said. “They may provide logistical support to hostile foreign powers. They may try to manipulate those at the highest levels of government. Indeed, these so-called ‘iron triangles’ of organized criminals, corrupt government officials and business leaders pose a significant national security threat.”

Mr. Manafort, a GOP operative who served foreign oligarchs and dictators while committing a dazzling array of financial crimes, fits the profile Mr. Mueller described to an uncanny degree. Why, then, would such a dangerous figure be allowed to lead a presidential campaign, with little outcry from state officials or the media – indeed, with suspicions over his Kremlin connections derided by many pundits as “hysteria”? How much grief and suffering would vulnerable citizens have been spared if officials had acted on Mr. Mueller’s warning when he gave it?

The same can be said of Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, who pled guilty yesterday to eight counts of criminal activity, including violating campaign-finance law at the direction of a candidate presumed to be Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen’s confession is significant as it directly implicates the President and affects the whole GOP – Mr. Cohen served as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee until June, 2018.

However, like Mr. Manafort, Mr. Cohen’s track record of alleged criminal acts goes back decades and includes threats of physical violence, blackmail and engaging in probable fraud while running a corrupt taxi business. Prior to the election, he boasted of his ties to the Russian mob and of his ability to game the system and bring Mr. Trump to power. Again: Why did officials not react with appropriate alarm to such obvious threats to democracy, particularly when these two took on major roles in a presidential campaign? That is the difficult question we need to ask even as we may rejoice at the wheels of justice finally turning.

The danger is not over: Mr. Trump rules like an autocrat, viewing himself as above the law, and has already flexed his muscle with inappropriate presidential pardons and political purges. He has threatened to end the Mueller probe and a cowardly, complicit GOP has done little to protect the investigation. That needs to be rectified immediately. Officials must take a cold, hard look at both their failure to stop these criminals earlier – and at how to prevent their boss, Mr. Trump, from further abusing his power and stripping away what remains of the path to justice.

A federal jury finds former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort guilty on eight charges of bank and tax fraud, in a major victory for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Andy Sullivan reports. Reuters
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion ... le-of-law/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:57 am

Michael Cohen's testimony will be carried live by the broadcast networks ABC...CBS.....NBC on Wednesday morning.



Michael Cohen Is Trump’s Worst Nightmare: A Loser With Nothing to Lose


The “fixer” is a perfect exemplar of Trump’s world: corrupt and corrupting, venal and vicious, he is the true picture of the “best people” with whom Trump surrounds himself.
Rick Wilson
02.26.19 10:24 PM ET
OPINION
Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Photos from Getty
Wednesday morning, the nation will be riveted to must-see political TV as a liar, lout, thug, bully, scumbag, and admitted criminal takes the stand before the House Oversight Committee to testify about his former client and our liar, lout, thug, bully, scumbag and criminal in chief, who will be tuning in from Vietnam.

As the president’s personal attorney for over a decade, the liar has been a man mixed up in dozens of projects and schemes, not to mention the lout’s roles as a senior member of the president’s campaign and the former finance director of the Republican National Committee. The thug served as the in-the-room guy, who’s accumulated years of memories and documents detailing Donald Trump’s crass and criminal actions.


After he spills his guts to Congress, that bully is going to prison because the Southern District of New York checked his arrogance and criminality hard, using just a minuscule fraction of the evidence gathered in their searches of the scumbag’s home, hotel, office, car, and bodily cavities induced him to both cooperate and accept a jail term. The admitted criminal started talking because he knew he’d be on the hook for the boss’ crimes if he didn’t.

Michael Cohen was one of Donald Trump’s most intimate advisers and implementers, a man trusted with the most unholy of unholies; the payouts, gag orders, and fetid details of his rotating stable of girlfriends, dalliances, hookups, and whatever the hell Trump and his pedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein had been up to. This fixer dealt with the sticky aspects of Trump’s wandering pecker directly with the National Enquirer’s aptly-named David Pecker, and the Stormy Daniels story is about to come back into the national consciousness, bigly.

That man is Michael Cohen, and he knows where the bodies are buried. 40 years after Trump's personal Vietnam during the Studio 54 days, he's now actually there, and Michael Cohen is his Captain Willard, freaked out, but seeing the truth at last, headed upriver to kill his commander.

Cohen knows many of the secrets that comprise the Horcruxes of Donald Voldemort; Trump’s taxes, his shoddy, shady business practices, the extent of Trump’s personal depravity and sexual depredations against many, many women. He knows about business practices they didn’t show on the phony set of Apprentice. He knows all about the roles of Ivanka and Don Jr. and Slow Eric in the business.

He will also reportedly testify that Donald Trump is a flaming racist, for those of you still living in a pre-Charlottesville bubble.

Cohen is a man with nothing to lose and the benefit of painful hindsight that his role as Trump’s attorney didn’t shield him from the corruption and collapse of anyone who works for Trump.

Cohen will not be asked to testify about candidate Trump’s lust for an eponymous tower project in Moscow. Nor will be he asked about Trump’s ludicrously amateur efforts to bribe Russian President Vladimir Putin with a penthouse there, or about any quid pro quo between the Trump campaign, the Trump organization, and their friends in Moscow. That's not relief for Trump, by the way; the President knows Cohen has already given all that up to Mueller and company.


All this is why the Trump world is in a flaming panic over Cohen’s testimony tomorrow. When Donald Trump Jr.—a man who increasingly looks like a 1980s B-movie villain, all shiny suits and a surfeit of hair product—took to Fox and Friends this week, he was immediately on this dumb message, about how the probe of his pop is “as political as it gets,” as it’s the “dream” of those mean old feds to “try to find something to get Trump.”

Of course, Trump and his allies are taking precisely the wrong approach. Calling Cohen names, or having pals in Congress direct mobster threats at the witness doesn’t discredit him. It makes him more credible because the things he’s saying are things that the Southern District and Mueller have matched up with more legitimate sources. The Feds don't just have Cohen. They have Allen Weisselberg, the Trump organization's accountant and CFO.

As in all mob cases from time immemorial, once you take out the consigliere, you take out the accountant, and then the whole house of cards tumbles down.

Trump’s media allies on Fox and elsewhere have been in overdrive the last few days, shocked that anyone would believe a serial liar like Cohen. For them, truth and character suddenly matter, and any word from Cohen’s mouth is the fruit of the most poisonous tree. Like aides to Stalin being airbrushed out of the picture after being disappeared to the gulag, Cohen’s unpersoning is proceeding apace.


Tuesday afternoon, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Trump’s Colon) launched a Twitter attack on Cohen in the dumbest effort at witness intimidation in modern memory. If you didn’t think this came directly from Trump, I have some beachfront condos in North Korea to sell you.


In a meaningful way, it doesn’t matter what the Trumps say about Cohen, or he says about the Trumps. What matters is that Cohen’s testimony—public, live, and with few restrictions—will open up new, on-the-record venues for investigation, exploration, and, let’s be honest, prosecution.

The President of the United States has been a busy boy obstructing justice (and capital-J Justice) since the moment his corrupt ass plopped down behind the Resolute Desk, and Cohen will reportedly testify to that effect. The record of the perverse, pathetic man the Republican party has fallen behind is coming out home to roost in a very, very public way. The party members who stood by his side during the current crisis over the fakemergency at the border and through every other excess, illegality, and affront to the Constitution, conservatism, and American values will stick with him now. Hell, the iceberg already put a hole in the ship. Might as well have a cigar and a listen to the band play "Proud to be an American" one last time.


Is Michael Cohen a saint? Of course not. Michael Cohen is a perfect exemplar of Trump’s world; corrupt and corrupting, venal and vicious. This is the true picture of the “best people” with whom “billionaire” Donald Trump has always surrounded himself. Michael Cohen isn’t an outlier in Trump world; he’s definitional.

The explosion on the Trump right over Cohen is just getting started, and you can expect any and every piece of Cohen’s personal dirt to be exposed in the coming days. Cohen has hit the hardest of bottoms because of the work he did with and for Trump.

For Cohen, tomorrow will be hard and the attacks tough to take, but for what is probably the first time in his adult life, he’ll be serving the cause of justice rather than subverting it for Donald Trump. The strange new terrain of speaking the truth, admitting to guilt, and revealing the low character and unpleasant history of Trump has to have at least a tiny edge of satisfaction.

Michael Cohen rose to the pinnacle of Trump’s enterprise, and plunged, knife firmly in his back, to the depths. Today, he has a new role as one of the greatest dangers in Donald Trump’s constellation of ill-starred political and legal fortunes.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/michael-c ... e?ref=home





Michael Cohen to accuse Trump of racism, criminal activity at hearing

Updated on: February 26, 2019 / 9:40 AM
President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen will publicly accuse the president of criminal conduct and racism during his public hearing on Wednesday, CBS News has confirmed. Cohen's hearing is related to hush money payments to women who alleged to have affairs with Mr. Trump in the months leading up to the election.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Cohen will provide documents, prepared by Mr. Trump's accountant, that will show the president may have engaged in tax fraud, CBS News correspondent Paula Reid reports. This could be the basis for lawmakers or investigators to pursue Trump's tax returns. The source confirms that Cohen will also accuse the president of using racist language. His comments are described as "chilling" - this language was allegedly used in a series of personal conversations between Mr. Trump and Cohen.

Cohen is set to serve time in prison for lying to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees in 2017. Some Republican lawmakers will likely use that fact to blunt the impact the allegations Cohen has made against the president during Wednesday's appearance before the House Oversight Committee.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement following the release of details of Cohen's testimony, "Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements. Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same,"

Sanders added, "It's laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies."

During a closed-door hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that could last hours, investigators from the Senate Intelligence Committee are expected to grill Cohen about his involvement in plans to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow and whether the president directed him to lie to Congress.

Cohen's closed session testimony, which is hailed as one of the last bastions of bipartisanship in Congress, is part of a series of open and closed-door appearances he is scheduled to make on Capitol Hill this week. The president's former lawyer, who will start his 3-year prison sentence in early May for violating campaign finance law, will likely face fierce questioning by committee staff and senators during Tuesday's hearing, which could last more than 10 hours.

"We will be extremely thorough," Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the committee's chairman, told reporters Tuesday evening, adding that he expects to hear the "truth" from Cohen.

Cohen's appearing before the House panel comes after a delay to his initial testimony citing "threats" to his family by Mr. Trump and the president's attorney Rudy Giuliani. Cohen now cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors on alleged financial crimes and questions about the Trump inaugural committee.
https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/michae ... ssion=true
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby RocketMan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:36 am

Rick Wilson wrote:In a meaningful way, it doesn’t matter what the Trumps say about Cohen, or he says about the Trumps. What matters is that Cohen’s testimony—public, live, and with few restrictions—will open up new, on-the-record venues for investigation, exploration, and, let’s be honest, prosecution.


Thanks for clearing that up!

The general tone in these pieces is weirdly revved up, almost pornographic. As if they're straining to pin that sinking feeling, "like your father or your dog just died" as Leonard Cohen put it in Everybody Knows, on just one corrupt person or family. Just get rid of those and we're back in the business of running the free world, clean & easy.

I nominate this for the cheesiest, most overwrought passage:

Rick Wilson wrote:That man is Michael Cohen, and he knows where the bodies are buried. 40 years after Trump's personal Vietnam during the Studio 54 days, he's now actually there, and Michael Cohen is his Captain Willard, freaked out, but seeing the truth at last, headed upriver to kill his commander.
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:41 am

Today is the first day of the beginning of the end...WATERGATE on STEROIDS

This is a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government

And we are going to begin to see the evidence of that

MY BROTHER IN LAW is dying right this minute ...he is in constant brutal PAIN because of his time in Vietnam this is personal for me and my family ...Mr. Money Laundering Bonespurs is going to finally be held accountable

Michael Cohen will testify that President Trump knew Roger Stone talked with WikiLeaks about DNC email dump

I guess you are not familiar with Rick Wilson

2D3067A0-DBF9-44F2-BCAA-F7796672FC3F.jpeg

It is going to be a news making day ......

"...................


Michael Cohen’s prepared testimony is stunning and it's just going to get better and better


TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL D. COHEN COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


FEBRUARY 27, 2019
Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today.
I have asked this Committee to ensure that my family be protected from Presidential threats, and that the Committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations. Thank you for your help and for your understanding.
I am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the Committee’s questions truthfully, and to offer the American people what I know about President Trump.
I recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility. It is for this reason that I have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable, and demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and truthful.
Never in a million years did I imagine, when I accepted a job in 2007 to work for Donald Trump, that he would one day run for President, launch a
1

campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance, and actually win. I regret the day I said “yes” to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way.
I am ashamed of my own failings, and I publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the Southern District of New York.
I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty – of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him.
I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience.
I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist.
He is a conman.
He is a cheat.
He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.
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I will explain each in a few moments.
I am providing the Committee today with several documents. These include:
• A copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account – after he became president - to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign;
• Copies of financial statements for 2011 – 2013 that he gave to such institutions as Deutsche Bank;
• A copy of an article with Mr. Trump’s handwriting on it that reported on the auction of a portrait of himself – he arranged for the bidder ahead of time and then reimbursed the bidder from the account of his non-profit charitable foundation, with the picture now hanging in one of his country clubs; and
• Copies of letters I wrote at Mr. Trump’s direction that threatened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores.
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I hope my appearance here today, my guilty plea, and my work with law enforcement agencies are steps along a path of redemption that will restore faith in me and help this country understand our president better.
***
Before going further, I want to apologize to each of you and to Congress as a whole.
The last time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect Mr. Trump. Today, I’m here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump.
I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.
Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates.
In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell
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me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.
There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?” – referring to the Moscow Tower project.
You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.
To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.
And so I lied about it, too – because Mr. Trump had made clear to me, through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie. And he made it
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clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before I gave it to Congress.
****
Over the past two years, I have been smeared as “a rat” by the President of the United States. The truth is much different, and let me take a brief moment to introduce myself.
My name is Michael Dean Cohen.
I am a blessed husband of 24 years and a father to an incredible daughter and son. When I married my wife, I promised her that I would love her, cherish her, and protect her. As my father said countless times throughout my childhood, “you my wife, and you my children, are the air that I breathe.” To my Laura, my Sami, and my Jake, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect you.
I have always tried to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity, and compassion – qualities my parents ingrained in my siblings and me since childhood. My father survived the Holocaust thanks to the compassion and selfless acts of others. He was helped by many who put themselves in harm’s way to do what they knew was right.
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That is why my first instinct has always been to help those in need. Mom and Dad...I am sorry that I let you down.
As many people that know me best would say, I am the person they would call at 3AM if they needed help. I proudly remember being the emergency contact for many of my children’s friends when they were growing up because their parents knew that I would drop everything and care for them as if they were my own.
Yet, last fall I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual #1.
For the record: Individual #1 is President Donald J. Trump.
It is painful to admit that I was motivated by ambition at times. It is even more painful to admit that many times I ignored my conscience and acted loyal to a man when I should not have. Sitting here today, it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong.
For that reason, I have come here to apologize to my family, to the government, and to the American people.
***
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Accordingly, let me now tell you about Mr. Trump.
I got to know him very well, working very closely with him for more than 10 years, as his Executive Vice President and Special Counsel and then personal attorney when he became President. When I first met Mr. Trump, he was a successful entrepreneur, a real estate giant, and an icon. Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself -- that you were somehow changing the world.
I wound up touting the Trump narrative for over a decade. That was my job. Always stay on message. Always defend. It monopolized my life. At first, I worked mostly on real estate developments and other business transactions. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Trump brought me into his personal life and private dealings. Over time, I saw his true character revealed.
Mr. Trump is an enigma. He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.
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Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the “greatest infomercial in political history.”
He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity.
I knew early on in my work for Mr. Trump that he would direct me to lie to further his business interests. I am ashamed to say, that when it was for a real estate mogul in the private sector, I considered it trivial. As the President, I consider it significant and dangerous.
But in the mix, lying for Mr. Trump was normalized, and no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one around him today questions it, either.
A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes.
9

As I earlier stated, Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails.
In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”
Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “shitholes.”
In private, he is even worse.
He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “shithole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.
10

While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way.
And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.
And yet I continued to work for him.
Mr. Trump is a cheat.
As previously stated, I’m giving the Committee today three years of President Trump’s financial statements, from 2011-2013, which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills and to Forbes. These are Exhibits 1a, 1b, and 1c to my testimony.
It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.
I am sharing with you two newspaper articles, side by side, that are examples of Mr. Trump inflating and deflating his assets, as I said, to suit his financial interests. These are Exhibit 2 to my testimony.
11

As I noted, I’m giving the Committee today an article he wrote on, and sent me, that reported on an auction of a portrait of Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 3A to my testimony.
Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself. Please see Exhibit 3B to my testimony.
And it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses, that were owed money for their services and told them no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it.
And yet, I continued to work for him.
12

Mr. Trump is a conman.
He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly – and she did not deserve that.
I am giving the Committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to Ms. Clifford’s attorney during the closing days of the presidential campaign that was demanded by Ms. Clifford to maintain her silence about her affair with Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 4 to my testimony.
Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line of Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign. I did that, too – without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do or how it would impact me, my family, or the public.
I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later.
As Exhibit 5 to my testimony shows, I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank
13

account on August 1, 2017 – when he was President of the United States – pursuant to the cover-up, which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me – the word used by Mr. Trump’s TV lawyer -- for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf. This $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year – while he was President.
The President of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. You can find the details of that scheme, directed by Mr. Trump, in the pleadings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
So picture this scene – in February 2017, one month into his presidency, I’m visiting President Trump in the Oval Office for the first time. It’s truly awe-inspiring, he’s showing me around and pointing to different paintings, and he says to me something to the effect of...Don’t worry, Michael, your January and February reimbursement checks are coming. They were Fed- Exed from New York and it takes a while for that to get through the White House system. As he promised, I received the first check for the reimbursement of $70,000 not long thereafter.
14

When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.
As I mentioned, I’m giving the Committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr. Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission. These are Exhibit 6.
The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades. As you can see in Exhibit 7, Mr. Trump declared “Let him show his records” after calling President Obama “a terrible student.”
The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better. In fact, he did the opposite.
When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employees’ salaries in half – including mine – he showed me what he claimed was a $10 million IRS tax refund, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving “someone like him” that much money back.
15

During the campaign, Mr. Trump said he did not consider Vietnam Veteran, and Prisoner of War, Senator John McCain to be “a hero” because he likes people who weren’t captured. At the same time, Mr. Trump tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft.
Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery. He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment.
He finished the conversation with the following comment. “You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”
I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now. And yet, I continued to work for him.
***
Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.
16

Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 involving Don Jr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and an email setting up the meeting with the subject line, “Dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk – which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: “The meeting is all set.” I remember Mr. Trump saying, “Ok good...let me know.”
What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between Don Jr. and his father was, first, that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the
world. And also, that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone – and certainly not without checking with his father.
I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval. So, I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on
17

Hillary with the Russian representative when he walked behind his dad’s desk that day -- and that Mr. Trump knew that was the meeting Don Jr. was talking about when he said, “That’s good...let me know.”
***
Over the past year or so, I have done some real soul searching. I see now that my ambition and the intoxication of Trump power had much to do with the bad decisions I made.
To you, Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, the other members of this Committee, and the other members of the House and Senate, I am sorry for my lies and for lying to Congress.
To our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most.
For those who question my motives for being here today, I understand. I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your “fixer,” Mr. Trump.
I am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that I tried so hard to provide for my family. My testimony certainly does not diminish
18

the pain I caused my family and friends – nothing can do that. And I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.
And, by coming today, I have caused my family to be the target of personal, scurrilous attacks by the President and his lawyer – trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel. Mr. Trump called me a “rat” for choosing to tell the truth – much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government.
As Exhibit 8 shows, I have provided the Committee with copies of Tweets that Mr. Trump posted, attacking me and my family – only someone burying his head in the sand would not recognize them for what they are: encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family.
I never imagined that he would engage in vicious, false attacks on my family – and unleash his TV-lawyer to do the same. I hope this committee and all members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will make it clear: As a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before congress and attacks on family are out of bounds and not acceptable.
I wish to especially thank Speaker Pelosi for her statements in Exhibit 9 to protect this institution and me, and the Chairman of the House Permanent
19

Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff and Chairman Cummings for likewise defending this institution and my family against the attacks by Mr. Trump, and also the many Republicans who have admonished the President as well.
I am not a perfect man. I have done things I am not proud of, and I will live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life.
But today, I get to decide the example I set for my children and how I attempt to change how history will remember me. I may not be able to change the past, but I can do right by the American people here today.
Thank you for your attention. I am happy to answer the Committee’s questions.
#####
20

https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000169 ... b99a790001
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Last edited by seemslikeadream on Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby RocketMan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:05 am

We'll see how it goes and what world-historical developments ensue. Evil will surely be dealt a blow and everything will look so much more hopeful after today.

WATERGATE ON STEROIDS *pantpantpant* pretty much sums up the feelings of one contingent of the populace.
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:08 am

sorry you do not understand

Remember how this hearing was not going to be about the Russia investigation? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


This is a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government

Ivanka is going to get what's coming to her...the whole grifter family is going down


This is more than the Special Counsel, which has access to Cohen, has alleged to date. It covers a critical period right before the first Wikileaks dump; the SCO has never illuminated what was going on within Trump’s world during that time.

Image


And this is stunning...

Says Trump's INTENT for seeking Presidency was based on
"profit motive"

Trump's presidency & his fawning veep with him should be annulled & every piece of his presidency erased.

Every judge replaced.

Every stupid foreign policy decision reversed
.
Image
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:19 am

he says about trump
“He is a racist.
He is a conman.
He is a cheat.
He ... knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks”



a congressional witness (and his legal team) who know the DOJ-negotiated agenda for his open hearing expressly excludes questioning on Russia matters and nevertheless drop bombs on that subject in his pre-released prepared remarks.

Image



Guess. What. Day. It. Is.

It's #CohenCongressionalTestimony
Day! Woooo-woooooo!


Image
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:27 am

RocketMan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:05 am wrote:We'll see how it goes and what world-historical developments ensue. Evil will surely be dealt a blow and everything will look so much more hopeful after today.

WATERGATE ON STEROIDS *pantpantpant* pretty much sums up the feelings of one contingent of the populace.


I am sorry you find the need to make light of my pain but if you think it is funny that I am pant pant pant panting away...be my guest .....make a joke out of it because I guess that's what you do

Americans have a different idea

yes and you can joke and make fun of AMERICANS pain ...go right ahead ...nice you can comment from afar ...this really doesn't effect your real life ...this is real life and we deal with our real lives we deal with the pain every fucking single day .....have fun

MY BROTHER IN LAW is dying right this minute ...he is in constant brutal PAIN because of his time in Vietnam this is personal for me and my family and all the survivors of Nixon...Mr. Money Laundering Bonespurs is going to finally be held accountable

My son's father in law is DYING because of his time in Vietnam


Image
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby RocketMan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:41 am

I just wrote a bunch of text in response, but seriously, what's the use with you. I'm sorry for your brother-in-law's suffering.
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:44 am

I believe there are REAL people posting here ...the words being written here are being written by real people

I am not going to let you degrade ....not today


but go ahead and have your fun..you think this is all a joke and make your snide comments

thanks for the thoughts about my brother.....the whole family is suffering...we have 2 men who are dying in front of our eyes we are looking at death every single day we can not not see it ...their grandchildren are watching them die

for us to have to see that fucker in Vietnam right now is something you will never be able to understand ...I ask at least that you not post about how amusing it is ...at least for today


this is real


I just wrote a bunch of text in response
....yea I know that is how you feel ...just a bunch of text ...how dare I respond to just a bunch of text you chose to post



dying Vietnam Vets do not look very good

Image

One check from the personal account, another from the trust.
Image
Image


Image

paying off the pornstar payoff, while president

Image
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:36 am

Michael Cohen will also reportedly testify that Trump's lawyers "reviewed and edited" his false statements to Congress regarding the Trump Tower Moscow project:

"Mr. Trump had made clear to me ... that he wanted me to lie."


Image
Image


From Michael Cohen's opening remarks: "There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me 'How’s it going in Russia?' – referring to the Moscow Tower project."
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby RocketMan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:56 am

No a bunch of text I deleted. Despite what you may think and imply, I don’t think war, suffering and injustice are ”amusing”. What is tragi-comic is the entire Western ”serious” political commentariat.

And I would very much like Trump brought up on charges, but it will not happen. The lies have gotten too big. The entire ruling class is too corrupt and complicit.

But sure, Michael Cohen may trigger The Justice.
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:02 am

these hearings are being broadcast on all American tv stations all day today ...the American people are going to watch in real time the words coming out of Cohen's mouth and see the proof

trump and his family are in deep trouble.....they are not going to get away with the graft and sleaze and the crimes against the American people


THIS IS A BIG DEAL

THIS IS AN ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND HE METS WITH THE WORLDS WORST DICTATORS AND CALL THEM HIS FRIEND



Scott Dworkin

BREAKING: A GOP lobbyist just told me @realDonaldTrump is in “complete disarray” and that he was “blindsided” by Cohen’s opening statement. Trump feels “betrayed” & is “absolutely furious.” Says Trump even wanted to fly back to US, and also didn’t know Cohen could bring evidence.

More
BREAKING: @TheDemCoalition will be filing a House Ethics complaint on GOP Rep Matt Gaetz today, for his tweet yesterday threatening Michael Cohen. We believe that his actions warrant removal from Congress. It was unforgivable. The DoJ will be copied on our filing.


didn’t know Cohen could bring evidence :D


this isn't a government it is a crime spree...it's a smash and grab


Michael Cohen’s Testimony Portrays President Trump as a Serial Grifter

From business deals in Moscow to payments to porn stars, there seems to be a lot of lying afoot.

Timothy L. O'BrienFebruary 27, 2019, 5:06 AM CST
No more phoning it in.


Photographer: Yana Paskova/Getty Images North America
Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”
Read more opinion Follow @TimOBrien on Twitter
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, self-described “fixer” and convicted fraudster, testifies Wednesday morning before Congress, flotillas of cameras and legions of television viewers in what is likely to be the first installment of a reality TV series the president has spent his entire life avoiding.

On Tuesday night, Bloomberg News published a copy of Cohen’s prepared remarks ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. According to that document, Cohen plans to describe Trump as a “racist,“ a “conman,” and a “cheat” – and someone who knowingly collaborated with Roger Stone, Julian Assange and Wikileaks to secure and distribute emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Cohen also will provide legislators with a copy of a $35,000 check that Trump “personally signed from his personal bank account” in 2017 “when he was President of the United States” to partially reimburse him for $130,000 in illegal hush money he paid a porn star who allegedly had a sexual encounter with Trump.

Cohen’s testimony also will recount Trump maneuvering to keep his academic records private, masking how he got his draft deferments during the Vietnam war, lying about his wealth and, perhaps most glaringly, scrambling to dissemble about his effort to make “hundreds of millions of dollars” on a project in Russia. Although Cohen lied to Congress about the particulars of that project – telling lawmakers that negotiations had stopped in January 2016, when in fact, they “continued for months later during the campaign” – he says in his prepared remarks that Trump didn’t direct him to lie (contradicting a controversial BuzzFeed article that recently said quite the opposite).

Cohen, however, also plans to say that Trump had no problem lying to the public about his business dealings in Russia. “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen will recall. “Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”

And this: “The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better. In fact, he did the opposite.”

For all of that, though, Cohen is a troubled, unreliable narrator. A street fighter who once said he “would take a bullet for the president,” he was nonetheless gradually shunned by the Trump family before he became ensnared in a federal investigation that ultimately found him guilty of lying to Congress about the president’s business forays in Russia, as well as bank fraud, tax fraud, and campaign finance violations. He’s set to serve three years in prison for those crimes and was recently disbarred.

With the strong arm of the law on his shoulder and prison on the horizon late last year, Cohen began cooperating with authorities because, he said, he wanted to protect his family and put “country first.” Yeah, but no. Prosecutors at the U.S Attorney’s office in Manhattan said in December that they didn’t think Cohen's cooperation emerged from “personal resolve.” Rather, they said, Cohen cooperated to save his skin and avoid a harsher prison sentence.

Yet despite Cohen’s comic inadequacies and his operatic taste for financial and political corruption, his congressional testimony is the centerpiece of what may be the broader public’s first vivid exposure to the financial and ethical conflicts, as well as illegalities, that have swirled around Trump and his entourage for a long time. Until now, observers of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Team Trump’s intersection with Russian interests, and the U.S. Attorney’s probe of Cohen and others, have had to rely on news accounts, court documents, and periodic interviews to make sense of things. Television – featuring a real Trump insider interrogated under oath – potentially brings the presidential probes into viewers’ homes in a very human, apprehensible way.

The Cohen hearing also marks the moment when the center of gravity of the various Trump investigations moves away from law enforcement and into the halls of Congress, sped along by television’s reach. Spectacle is spectacle, and the president, a creature of television and digital ubiquity, surely understands the potential long-term political and legal damage the Cohen show and the others that are sure to follow might inflict. Although Trump is trapped at a diplomatic summit in Vietnam while Cohen trolls him back home in epic, Trumpian strokes, the president has already hit back on Twitter and has allies leaping into the fray.

“It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday morning. On Tuesday evening, Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, attacked Cohen on Twitter, asking him if his “wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” and wondering if Cohen’s wife will “remain faithful when you’re in prison.” Gaetz deleted the tweet after coming under fire for possibly engaging in witness tampering, but it was reminiscent of a threat Trump himself had made to Cohen in January during an appearance on Fox News.

If the White House and the president’s compatriots in the GOP had nothing to fear from Cohen’s testimony, they wouldn’t be going out of their way to try to impugn him before the fireworks even begin. That they are is surely because they – and the president – recognize the twin perils that Cohen embodies, especially when his testimony will portray the president as the architect of most of the wrongdoing.

The first of these threats get to core issues that have informed federal prosecutors’ investigations of Trump and his world almost from their respective launches. Was Trump’s potentially lucrative Moscow project a payoff of sorts for any potential collaboration before, during or after the 2016 election – and in exchange for possible promises to the Kremlin, like lifting U.S. economic sanctions on Russia or changing the country’s policy in Ukraine? At a minimum, the very possibility of this scenario casts a shadow over Trump’s stewardship of the U.S.’s national security.

Cohen also has something to say about Trump’s potential participation in a crime that may have taken place in the Oval Office: paying off an alleged paramour to lie about an affair. This one needn’t rely solely on Cohen’s verbal testimony at all – because there are tapes of the president and Cohen discussing some of this, as well as lengthy court filings. It’s also certain that the prosecutors examining Cohen’s role in these events haven’t relied solely on his testimony. There will be other witnesses and more documentation, and possibly a lot of both.

The second set of threats that will emerge from Cohen’s testimony will be directed at the Trump Organization itself and will certainly, unlike the Mueller probe, be centered on New York, where the relevant federal law enforcement offices are based. Any reporter who has covered Trump knows that his obsession with wealth and his elastic definition of his net worth is ever-present. The portions of Cohen’s testimony about Trump and his money ring true. (Trump sued me in 2006 when I was a reporter with the New York Times, claiming that a biography I wrote with his extensive cooperation, “TrumpNation,” misrepresented his wealth and track record as a businessman; he lost the suit in 2011.)

While the media has occasionally portrayed Cohen as someone with deep insight into the Trump Organization’s finances, he has only been with the company since 2006 and was largely kept at bay. The Trump family’s longtime accountant and current chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has decades more experience with Trump than Cohen and truly knows where many of the financial bodies are buried. Weisselberg is mentioned on at least one of the Trump-Cohen tapes and has been cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cohen’s testimony before Congress will outline Weisselberg’s efforts to draft misleading financial statements for the president which “inflated or deflated his net worth for business and personal purposes, including avoiding paying property taxes.” Cohen’s prepared statement indicates that some of those bogus financial statements may have been given to Deutsche Bank AG, a troubled German lender that has been the president’s primary bank for business for years. The Journal also noted that Weisselberg directed that hush money payments given to Cohen be accounted for as “legal fees” on the Trump Organization’s books, even though no such services were provided.

Weisselberg currently runs the Trump Organization with Trump’s two eldest sons, and over the years he has looked after the president’s personal tax returns and helped to oversee the company’s key deals. If Cohen’s testimony makes the CFO an even greater person of interest to congressional investigators or prosecutors, then it will put the probes more firmly on a path Trump has repeatedly warned authorities to avoid: the money trail.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/artic ... -a-grifter




Eric Holder


Constitution does not anticipate allowing a president who used fraud to obtain the office to remain in power. Executive branch paralysis during the criminal process is not a compelling argument- consider 25th Amendment. A sitting president can be indicted.



Constitution rules out immunity for sitting presidents

December 10, 2018

Our country’s governing document makes good on the promise that no one is above the law.
Only President Trump seems not to have noticed — or at least refuses to acknowledge — that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in his Dec. 7 memo regarding Michael Cohen’s sentencing, has laid the predicate for indicting the president for feloniously “directing” a scheme to defraud the public into voting for him under false pretenses.

Trump’s lawyers may well have advised him not to worry about that minor matter because the Justice Department policy of not indicting a sitting president will presumably be followed by all Justice Department prosecutors, including both special counsel Robert Mueller and the prosecutors of the Southern District.

But what nobody seems to have noticed is that the policy in question is probably unconstitutional.

Here’s why: Our Constitution’s framers were openly concerned with the possibility that a corrupt politician might contrive to win the presidency by treason, bribery, fraud, or other criminal means. They said so. And they were explicit about creating the impeachment power as the one and only means of removing such a criminal president. They opposed the imposition of criminal punishment through legislative trials, which accounts for the ban on bills of attainder at either the state or federal level. It also accounts for the specific language limiting the Senate’s power upon convicting an impeached officer to “removal from office” and “disqualification” to hold any future federal office — while leaving any such removed official “liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”


Those who say this set-up presupposes delaying any indictment of a president for crimes committed in winning the presidency are wrong. Worse than that, they’ve gotten things upside-down.


Just think about it: The president and vice president run as a ticket. No president selects a vice president who wouldn’t strongly consider doing for him exactly what Vice President Gerald Ford did for President Richard Nixon: namely, give the president a full pardon shortly after he becomes the former president — whether that sudden reversal of fortune occurs upon the president’s being turned out by the voters, or upon his being impeached and removed, or upon his resigning under the threat of such ignominious removal.

It’s crazy to assume that the framers of the impeachment power would have created a system in which even the most criminally corrupt president could permanently escape full accountability. Immunized from criminal trial while serving in office (as the ostensible Justice Department policy would require), such a president could count on receiving a get-out-of-jail-free card upon his exit. For he would leave behind him a newly minted (albeit unelected) president wielding the power to pardon any and all “offenses against the United States.”

To be sure, that new president, if proved to have struck a corrupt bargain with the former president in exchange for his own ascendancy, could be impeached and removed for that bribery, but the president who had criminally put the duo into power — and who had put himself in a position to do untold damage to the nation while wielding the powers of commander in chief and of chief executive — would be free to return to private life, his riches perhaps enhanced in the interim by his use of the highest office in the land to receive unconstitutional emoluments from foreign powers.


Such a bailout by the person who would owe his or her sudden presidency to the ousted president would be constitutionally unthinkable. It would mean that someone who had disgraced the nation’s highest office and had accordingly been forever disqualified from holding “any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States” could nonetheless forever escape the legal accountability that Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 expressly says is to remain available.

Others have argued that the Department of Justice “policy” against indicting a sitting president was never unambiguously established, did not in any event have the force of law, and rested on the odd theory that a sitting president is just too busy to meet the demands of an ordinary criminal trial but not too busy to stand trial in the US Senate on impeachment charges.


All that is true. But there is more: What my analysis adds is the basic point that no such policy could possibly be squared with the Constitution. For any attorney general to signal to subordinates that they cannot pursue the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president, regardless of the evidence against him, would subvert the way our Constitution makes good on the promise that, under our system of government and indeed in any constitutional democracy, no one is above the law.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/201 ... story.html



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MICHAEL COHEN’S TESTIMONY: METACOMMENTARY

February 27, 2019/4 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, emptywheel, Mueller Probe /by empty wheel

Michael Cohen’s statement to the House Oversight Committee is here. I’d like to make three meta-comments about what he says about the Russian investigation (which is technically outside the scope of today’s hearing but what the fuck, he’s going to prison anyway…).

WHY COHEN CLAIMED HE KNEW THAT TRUMP KNEW OF THE JUNE 9 MEETING AHEAD OF TIME

After he pled guilty, Cohen claimed he was a meeting where Trump spoke of the June 9 meeting ahead of time. Later, he backed off any claim of knowing about the meeting in advance.

Here’s what he based that initial claim on:

Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 involving Don Jr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and an email setting up the meeting with the subject line, “Dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk – which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: “The meeting is all set.” I remember Mr. Trump saying, “Ok good…let me know.”

What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between Don Jr. and his father was, first, that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone – and certainly not without checking with his father. I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval. So, I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representative when he walked behind his dad’s desk that day — and that Mr. Trump knew that was the meeting Don Jr. was talking about when he said, “That’s good…let me know.”

Particularly absent a real date, all this exchange tells us is that Don Jr was setting up really sensitive meetings that Trump knew about. It’s possible it was an entirely different criminal meeting. Or it’s possible that this was about the June 9 meeting.

Ultimately, if Mueller wants to charge a conspiracy, he doesn’t need to prove that Trump knew in advance, because Trump took so many other overt acts that made it clear he was part of this conspiracy, including coordinating a public statement about it with Vladimir Putin.

But Trump probably knew in advance.

HOW TO SUBORN PERJURY

In the wake of the BuzzFeed article and Peter Carr “correction” — which I suggested reflected different priorities about the role of Trump in lying about the Trump Tower Moscow deal –I suggested that Trump’s flunkies don’t need to be told to lie by him. They just do it.

Cohen’s statement confirms that’s what happened.

I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign. Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie. There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?” – referring to the Moscow Tower project. You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it. To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.


There’s still more that needs to be told about the response to the BuzzFeed story, most notably why Mueller’s office chose to issue a “correction” when they hadn’t for more egregiously erroneous reporting. Hopefully, the outlets that credulously repeated the DOJ line will chase that down. Hopefully, too, the Big Dick Toilet Salesman will be asked to explain his own role in that “correction” when he takes a Mulligan on telling the truth to Congress.

MUELLER ISN’T TELLING US EVERYTHING

Cohen will testify that he was in Trump’s office one day, before the DNC Convention, when Roger Stone was put through and Trump put the rat-fucker on the speaker phone.

In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”


Likely, Stone was once again overselling his access to Assange. Likely, this came via a cut-out. It’s likely Stone learned about this from his meeting with Nigel Farage at the RNC.

But it is an example of the kinds of details that Mueller — in spite of his speaking indictment of Stone — was trying to keep secret. It shifts Stone’s knowledge of WikiLeaks earlier than the indictment. It also makes it far more likely that Trump is the one who ordered someone to find out from Stone what more was coming.

The biggest takeaway from seeing clarifications about what a Mueller witness said is this: Mueller is working to preserve the credibility of a bunch of sleazy sources. And the sources likely don’t understand that they don’t have to place Trump with a smoking gun. Because of the way conspiracy law works. it’s enough to show that Trump willingly entered into the conspiracy and took many overt acts to pursue the objects of the conspiracy.

Cohen’s more accurate testimony does that.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/02/27/m ... ommentary/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Trumpublicons: Foreign Influence/Grifting in '16 US Elec

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:37 am

"trump's personal attorneys edited my statement before I submitted it to Congress." - Michael Cohen.

This won't be the last time we hear this statement.

trump told Mueller, in writin’, that Roger Stone never spoke to him about WikiLeaks.

Michael Cohen will testify today that is false.

Since Cohen is cooperatin’ with Mueller and wouldn’t make that statement without Mueller’s approval, it’s clear trump perjured himself.

trump: Cohen “is lying in order to reduce his prison time.”

Actually, Cohen’s DC cooperation agreement could be deemed breached by perjury; and in SDNY, SCO less likely to inform sentencing judge of his substantial assistance if he’s gone out and lied.

The 2012 financials report similar net worth and liabilities.


Trump claimed to have a total liabilities and net worth of more than $4.5 billion in 2011, per the document
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However, the 2013 financial report lists more than $9 billion in assets and more than $500 million in liabilities. It details a new category of asset that was not in the prior years: "Brand Value"= $4 billion.
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Stmts Trump submitted to Deutsche Bank, provided by Cohen.
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To corroborate his claims that Trump manipulated financial stmts to inflate or deflate his worth, Cohen presents 2 reports:
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Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

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