Michael Cohen

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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:09 am

Michael Cohen Enlists Watergate’s John Dean to Signal He’s Still Willing to Flip
By Margaret Hartmann@MargHartmann

So many ways to say, “I’m flipping.” Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Capping off the most exciting weekend for Watergate aficionados since the premiere of the Slow Burn podcast, on Sunday night, Michael Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, revealed that he’s been consulting with John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency.

“I reached out to my old friend John Dean because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing. I wanted to gain from John’s wisdom,” Davis told Politico.

“I certainly don’t want to raise expectations that Mr. Cohen has anything like the level of deep involvement and detailed knowledge that John Dean had in the Nixon White House as a witness to Nixon’s crimes, but I did see some similarities and wanted to learn from what John went through.”

Dean confirmed that he’s been talking with Davis. He’d already come up this weekend in the drama surrounding Don McGahn, with the New York Times reporting that Trump’s White House counsel has been talking to Russia probe investigators because he didn’t want to wind up like Dean, doing time for obstruction of justice. (Dean became a key witness for the prosecution and he only wound up serving four months in prison.)

While Cohen once said he’d “take a bullet for the president,” in recent months he’s made it quite clear that’s no longer the case. Since the Feds raided Cohen’s office and residence in April, he’s ended his joint defense agreement with Trump, announced in a TV interview that “my wife, my daughter, and my son, and this country have my first loyalty,” and released a secret recording of Trump, which proves he knew about the hush money payments to Karen McDougal.

So why is Cohen’s legal team signaling his willingness to flip once again? A new report from the Times sheds some light on the situation. It was previously reported that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are investigating Cohen for bank and tax fraud, in addition to potential campaign finance violations related the hush payments. The Times revealed that prosecutors are focused on more than $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses owned by Cohen and his family in 2014:

Publicly filed financing statements indicate that Mr. Cohen used 32 taxi medallions as collateral for the Sterling [National Bank] loans. The medallions were then valued at more than $1 million each, and generated more than $1 million a year in income.

The loans were made to 16 separate companies controlled by Mr. Cohen and his family, each company owning two taxi medallions, the person who reviewed the transactions said. Mr. Cohen and his wife also personally guaranteed the loans, according to the filings.

The tax fraud aspect of the investigation has been focused in part on whether Mr. Cohen properly reported the income from the medallions, which was sometimes in cash, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The paper also reported that the investigation has entered its final stage, and prosecutors may file charges by the end of August. It’s unclear if Cohen’s attorneys have already had detailed conversations with federal prosecutors about a plea deal, which would likely also involve Cohen talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If an agreement can’t be finalized by the end of the month, the matter will probably drag on until after the midterms, as the Justice Department has an informal policy of not releasing sensitive information in the weeks before an election (though as we all know, sometimes they ignore that).

Using the last few days of summer vacation to brush up on Watergate is probably good advice for everyone.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 ... -dean.html

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen reportedly investigated for bank fraud exceeding $20 million

Everett Rosenfeld
Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Loews Regency Hotel, May 11, 2018 in New York City.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, is under investigation for bank and tax fraud, and investigators are looking at more than $20 million in loans to a taxi company he owns with his family, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

The value of those scrutinized loans had not been previously reported.

The report, which cited multiple sources familiar with the matter, said authorities are additionally looking into whether the former fixer broke any laws by arranging financial deals with women claiming to have had affairs with Trump. The Times said two of its sources indicated that prosecutors could file charges by the end of August.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment about the report from the Times. The newspaper said Cohen and his lawyers declined to comment for its article. A spokesperson for Davis told NBC News: "Lanny cannot comment on advice of counsel since there is an ongoing investigation."

The bank fraud portion of the investigation centers on whether Cohen misrepresented the value of his holdings in order to secure loans from two New York lenders, Sterling National Bank and the Melrose Credit Union, the report said. The Times added that there's no indication Cohen missed payments or caused losses to either financial institution, which, according to the paper, is usually part of a bank fraud charge.

Politics watchers are tracking Cohen's case because he could potentially reach an agreement with prosecutors that would offer him leniency in exchange for his cooperating with Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russian attempts to skew the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/20/former- ... eport.html
All of this misogyny is making me nostalgic for treason
on trump/russia
"Colluded" is only a word confused people use
The word and crime is conspiracy
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:06 pm


8 felonies

Cohen's plea includes
hush money to women

Cohen said he helped a candidate to violate campaign finance law :P

pleads guilty to 8 counts

trump is NOT going to serve out his term


For the record, a guilty plea was reached pertaining to Trump's sex habits before a guilty plea pertaining to his conspiring with Russia.

Putin probably feels let down.

Stephen Brown
Max sentence he faces on all counts is 65 years.
Stephen Brown
Cohen admits to working “at direction of the candidate” Trump and national enquirer to silence Karen McDougal. He also admits to Stormy Daniels payment that he made “with and at direction of the same candidate.”

Zerlina Maxwell

What are we going to name the Tuesday when the President's campaign chairman is convicted, his personal lawyer reaches a plea agreement with prosecutors and his 1st national security advisor is still needed for the ongoing probe? TuesDay Massacre doesn't seem catchy.

Tuesday Takedown

Taco Tuesday

The Tuesday Turn Up!

Tuesday Traitors

Tipping Point Tuesday

Swamp drainage Day

Rudy Tuesday

Twofer Tuesday!!!


August 21, 2018/2 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
It was a three ring circus among top Trump advisors today: Jurors found Paul Manafort guilty on 8 counts (the jury was hung on the other 10); Michael Cohen pled guilty to 8 counts, and Mueller’s team continued Mike Flynn’s sentencing for 24 days, with a status report due September 17.

The big takeaway, however, is that Trump got named in a criminal information for his extramarital affairs before his conspiring with Russia did. [I’ve restated this headline, replacing “Dick” with “Pecker,” in honor of the National Enquirer’s role and so Democracy Now can show the headline tomorrow when I appear.]


The Cohen plea — which developed quickly and reportedly came under pressure to plead before an indictment got filed this week — covered five tax charges, one false statement to a financial institution, one unlawful corporation contribution tied to Cohen’s quashing of a National Enquirer story on Karen McDougal, and one excessive campaign contribution tied to Cohen’s hush payment to Stormy Daniels. The first reference to Donald Trump — named as Individual 1 — is the 46th word in the in the criminal information.

From in or about 2007 through in or about January 2017, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, was an attorney and employee of a Manhattan-based real estate company (the “Company”). COHEN held the title of “Executive Vice President” and “Special Counsel” to the owner of the Company (“Individual-1”).

Cohen will reportedly face three to five years in prison and substantial fines.

In his plea, Cohen stated that he made the hush payments at the direction of a candidate — Trump was not named — knowing the payments violated campaign finance law.

For all the legal trouble his top aides have gotten in, this is the first time (aside from his cameo calling on Russia to find Hillary’s “missing” emails in the GRU indictment) where Trump has been implicated directly.

Thus the headline: His dick got him in trouble before his conspiring with Russia did.

There was reportedly not cooperation agreement attached to this plea. I suspect he will be or already has cooperated, however.

Contrary to what some of NYT’s hacks say, this doesn’t mean his dick got him in more trouble than he’ll face in the Russian inquiry: just that that will take a bit longer.


Literally at the same time Cohen was pleading guilty, the jury in the Manafort case declared themselves hopelessly at odds on 10 charges, but found Manafort guilty of 8. Like Cohen, he is guilty of 5 counts of tax fraud. He was found guilty on one FBAR charge for not identifying foreign holdings (my suspicion in the other FBAR charges were hung because it was unclear whether the corporations that held the money faced the same liability. And Manafort was found guilty on two of the bank fraud charges. My guess — I’m trying to clarify this — is the jury hung on the one in which he didn’t get a loan (meaning TS Ellis’ criticism about prosecutors focusing on a loan that didn’t go through may have had an effect).

Manafort’s next trial starts in 27 days, and if Mueller wants a retrial on the remaining 10 charges here he could get that. Though he has bigger fish to fry.


While it’s far less sexy than the trouble Trump’s dick got him in, I’m most fascinated by the status report in the Mike Flynn case. While they’re continuing the sentencing process again (meaning he’s still cooperating), they’re asking for a status report on September 17, the same 27 days away as Manafort’s next trial.

That suggests they may be done with whatever they need Flynn to do in the near future.

Things are picking up steam.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/08/21/t ... ussia-did/


Trump's Dick Got Him in Trouble Before His Conspiring with Russia Did

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/08/21/t ... ussia-did/

Donald Trump is named -- as Individual 1 -- in the 46th word in Cohen's criminal information.

[collecting my winnings on for the 5,295,371 predictions I made Trump would get named in a legal doc w/o being indicted]
s ago
This is why those claiming Trump's criminal actions can only be described in a report to Congress should find a new hobby.

trump is now an

and just a reminder who Cohen's best friend is


Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, has surrendered himself to the FBI.

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics ... nr-vpx.cnn


Little known fact re Michael Cohen: Cohen’s relatives by marriage were indirectly tied to Ukrainian/Russian Mafia thru an oligarch who, the FBI says, employed 3 execs who were part of Russian Mafia. One of them was an enforcer for Semion Mogilevich.

is this what taking a bullet for the president looks like?

what the beginning of the end looks like

I have been annoying you all for two years waiting for this headline .....sorry :P




What Michael Cohen’s Plea and Paul Manafort’s Conviction Mean for Trump and the Mueller Investigation

In the history of the American republic, there has never before been a single hour in which, in two separate courts, in cases prosecuted by two separate offices, a president’s former campaign manager and his former lawyer simultaneously joined his former national security adviser as felons—and one of them implicated the president in criminal activity.

Normally, the sort of felonies that Paul Manafort was convicted of Tuesday and to which Michael Cohen pleaded guilty are beyond the scope of what Lawfare covers. Bank fraud and tax evasion are not exactly national security legal issues, and certainly payments to adult film actresses and models in violation of campaign finance law are not the sort of “hard national security choices” that are our bread and butter.

Yet the convictions obtained Tuesday create a remarkable moment, one that interacts inevitably and deeply with major national security investigations—and that places stress on a presidency, and presidential personality, in a fashion that inevitably poses national security concerns.

On Tuesday afternoon, Manafort was found guilty on eight felony counts of tax evasion and bank fraud in the Eastern District of Virginia. The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 counts after the jury deadlocked. Shortly thereafter, in the Southern District of New York, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felonies of his own: five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, and two counts of campaign finance violations involving hush-money payments to the actress Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford) and to Karen McDougal.

Here are seven questions and some related observations pointed up by Tuesday’s events.

Does Donald Trump choose the “best people”?

We didn’t need a raft of criminal convictions to answer this question. The consistent incompetence of Trump’s inner circle is all the answer one needs. That said, the starting place in this conversation must be the degree to which close associates of the president of the United States keep turning out to be felons. Yes, only one portion of Cohen’s criminal conduct and none of the charges on which Manafort was convicted connect directly to President Trump. But the parade of greed and the continuous criminal conduct on the part of two people closely associated with Trump and his campaign sheds disturbing light on who the president regards as appropriate top aides and associates. That Trump himself continues to express sympathy with Manafort, not outrage at his conduct, further undermines confidence in his judgment of character.

Presidential judgment matters. In a week dominated by headlines about the president’s real and threatened revocation of security clearances of current and former officials who have criticized him, take a moment to consider the individuals the president has favored with trust and confidence, as well as those to whom he has denied it.

Do these convictions have implications for L’Affaire Russe?

They may, and in both cases, there is reason to suspect they do, but we don’t know yet know for certain.

With both defendants, there are reasons to suspect the individual may have important information for Robert Mueller’s investigation. And in both cases, the current moment is one in which cooperation would be extremely well advised. In Cohen’s case, cooperation is almost certainly happening, though the plea agreement contains no cooperation provision.

In neither case, however, is it clear what the defendant knows. That is, assuming either Manafort or Cohen or both decided to cooperate, would either of them have anything important to offer Mueller? And at least in Manafort’s case, there is no particular reason to think that conviction on eight counts by a jury of his peers will concentrate his mind any more than the prospect of conviction did. Whether the verdict will cause Manafort to cooperate in order to avoid another trial and to obtain some sentencing leniency is a substantial open question. Embedded within that question is an even larger one: If Manafort and Cohen do cooperate, does either of them hold the keys to any kingdoms?

On MSNBC on Tuesday evening, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis made his client’s feelings plain: "Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows."

But keep in mind that there were high hopes that Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos would be in a position to offer Mueller substantial cooperation after his plea agreement. That turned out not to be the case.

How big a deal is the Manafort verdict?

Pretty big.

It is a big deal first because the failure to obtain it would have been an immense setback to the investigation. Going to trial is always a fraught process. And for the Mueller investigation to have failed to garner a conviction would have risked consequences for the legitimacy of the entire enterprise. A conviction on eight counts and a mistrial on 10 other counts may seem like a split decision—but it is not. The jury found Manafort guilty of substantial criminal conduct, and he faces significant jail time at his sentencing in December. Having the jury hang on some charges and convict on others shows independence and makes it hard to argue that Manafort did not get a fair shake. Mueller’s shop is no doubt satisfied with this outcome.

Tuesday’s verdict is also not the end of the story for Manafort—not even close. He is scheduled to go on trial in Washington, D.C., in September for alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and other charges. While the charges in the Virginia trial were not central to the core questions of the Mueller probe—the foreign conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election—this trial did demonstrate that Manafort was under overwhelming financial stress and deeply indebted to foreign interests at precisely the time he agreed to join the Trump presidential campaign without pay.

What’s more, it is clear that the special counsel’s office believes the Manafort case is important to its mission. The evidence of this is the simple fact that Mueller chose to keep the Manafort prosecution within the office, not to refer it elsewhere. For some reason, Mueller’s team views the tax- and bank-fraud charges against Manafort as connected to the central inquiry, in a way the Michael Cohen case—which it referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York—is for some reason not. That may be because Mueller’s team wants information it believes Manafort has. And that, in turn, makes his conviction, and the pressure on him that it generates, a significant event.

How big a deal is the Cohen plea agreement?

Very big.

The president’s former lawyer has not only confessed to criminal campaign finance violations, but he has also said under oath that he was doing so at the direction of the president himself. It’s hard to say yet what precisely this means. But it is not a small thing. Setting aside the question of whether Cohen will cooperate with Mueller, it remains to be seen whether prosecutors will pursue additional criminal charges against individuals mentioned but not charged in the criminal information.

Cohen’s plea agreement does not contemplate any specific cooperation. However, as Lawfare’s David Kris noted, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allow the court to reduce a sentence within one year of sentencing when the government agrees that the defendant has “provided substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.” That means the question of cooperation, on campaign finance questions or other matters, could remain open possibly even after Cohen’s sentencing. It seems preponderantly likely that Cohen is cooperating—or at least that he will cooperate.

This means that prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have a witness on their hands who was very close to Trump and knows a great deal about a lot of things—some of which he pleaded guilty to Tuesday.

How close is this to the president?

“It doesn’t involve me,” the president said Tuesday afternoon when asked about the Manafort verdict. Setting aside the implications of the Manafort case for the Mueller investigation as a whole, Trump is certainly correct that the specific charges on which Manafort was convicted, and those on which the jury could not reach a verdict, do not involve the president’s conduct. The closest connection is that Manafort’s alleged bank-fraud scheme was ongoing during the time he managed Trump’s presidential campaign.

As we noted above, the story is quite different in the Cohen case. Among the counts to which the president’s former lawyer pleaded guilty are two violations of federal election law: “causing an unlawful corporate contribution,” regarding Cohen’s role in silencing Karen McDougal’s story of an affair with Trump by persuading her to sell the rights to a tabloid that then quashed the story; and “excessive campaign contribution,” regarding Cohen’s payment to Stormy Daniels as part of a hush agreement, for which he was then reimbursed by the Trump Organization.

The criminal information made public Tuesday states that Cohen “caused and made the payments ... in order to influence the 2016 presidential election”—that is, to prevent damaging information about the affairs from surfacing during the campaign. It is the political motive behind the payments that transforms the matter into a question of federal campaign finance law. As former White House counsel Bob Bauer wrote of the Cohen case Tuesday evening, legal constraints on such expenditures are implicated when “motivation[s] materially if not wholly shaped by political objectives” come into play.

The criminal information is not clear on the extent of any coordination between Cohen and Trump personally, though it does state that Cohen “coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.” But in his court hearing Tuesday, Cohen accused Trump of personal involvement in both arrangements in all but name, saying that he acted “in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office.” His lawyer then made the connection even more explicit on Twitter:

Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani declared that, “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen.” That’s not quite right. Although it might not sound as good for the president, the proper formulation would have been that the Justice Department allowed a defendant to plead guilty to crimes on the basis of factual claims and sworn statements that, if true, potentially implicate Trump as well.

Is a second special counsel needed?

This is not a crazy question.

The purpose of the special counsel structure is to remove the normal Justice Department hierarchy from the process of investigating the president. With the Cohen plea, President Trump’s personal conduct is now clearly a matter of investigation in the Southern District of New York. Under normal circumstances, this would be a prototypical case for the appointment of a special counsel.

For a variety of reasons, however, that step would be unwise here. For one thing, there is no reason to question the Southern District prosecutors’ competence or independence here. (The president controversially interviewed Geoffrey Berman for the position he now holds as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, but Berman has recused himself from this case and his office has conducted itself professionally and admirably.) For another thing, a special counsel would—like Mueller—become a lightning rod for presidential anger and is potentially vulnerable to firing. By contrast, it is very hard for the president to shut down a career-level investigation in the Southern District of New York. Trump can’t fire his way out of this problem. Notably, this case began in the special counsel’s shop and was specifically referred to a normal Justice Department office to be handled in the regular order. At least for now, keeping it there is the right course.

Are there dangers here?

Yes. Big ones.

Major investigations that touch the president directly are always dangerous. Trump accentuates those dangers. The general danger is of presidential distraction. The burden of running the country is real—or at least it should be to a president who takes the job seriously. Being under federal investigation would distract almost anyone. And whether or not one likes Donald Trump should not obscure the reality that interfering with a president’s ability to govern and represent the United States globally—by compromising a president’s legitimacy and by distracting him from governance—is dangerous at the best of times with the most focused of presidents.

Trump is not the most focused of presidents. He is also mercurial and angry. With Trump there is the additional risk of his lashing out, taking vindictive action or engaging in irrational behavior—things he does in spades on a daily basis. This sort of behavior is inimical to cohesive national security policy, which requires presidential leadership and direction. The myriad bureaucracies involved with defense, intelligence, foreign affairs, economic security, law enforcement and homeland security all have different institutional needs, interests and missions. Absent policy direction and leadership from the White House, the national security apparatus does not work optimally on autopilot.

This does not mean that the office of the presidency should be above investigation, or that the risks of these particular investigations are too great to justify them. To the contrary, as described above, prosecutors have shown evidence of serious criminal conduct on the part of Trump’s inner circle, and unveiling Russia’s role in election interference is a matter of great importance for American democracy. The consequences of investigating a president may be great, but the consequences of not investigating such matters are far greater.

Most fundamentally, the burden lies with the president himself not to behave in fashions that necessitate such investigations—and, when they are necessary, to handle them in a manner that minimizes the dangers. Perhaps the greatest danger at this moment is that one can have no confidence that Trump understands this.

As the cloud over the president darkens, we are entering a dangerous period.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-michae ... estigation

Michael Cohen wants to tell Robert Mueller what he knows about what Trump knew about Russian hacking leading up to the 2016 election, lawyer says

By janon fisher
Michael Cohen wants to tell Robert Mueller what he knows about what Trump knew about Russian hacking leading up to the 2016 election, lawyer says
Michael Cohen, the personal attorney of president Donald Trump, leaves Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News) (Jefferson Siegel / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
President Trump’s ex-lawyer Micheal Cohen wants to spill his guts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, dishing on what Trump knew about meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower and the hacking of the 2016 Presidential Election, according to Cohen’s lawyer.

Heavy-hitting Democratic legal eagle Lanny Davis told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow Tuesday night that Cohen’s got the dirt on the President and “is more than happy to tell the Special Counsel.”

“I can tell you that Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the Special Counsel,” Davis told Maddow. “The obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election,which the Trump Tower meeting was all about. But also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and whether he cheered it on. We know that he publicly cheered it on, but did he also have private information?”

Davis would not say if his client had met with the Mueller team yet.

Paid Post What Is This?

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court to eight counts of tax fraud and campaign finance violations stemming from hush payments he said he made at the direction of the President to silence porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.

The Trump Tower meeting that Davis referred to happened in the lead up to the presidential election during which the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., the former — and now convicted — campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, met with a Russian lawyer for reasons that are now in dispute. One theory is that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was lobbying the campaign to lift restrictions on Russian adoptions. The more sinister explanation is that the Trump campaign sought compromising information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to gain the advantage in the polls.

In July 2016, Trump made an appeal to the Russians during a campaign event to hack into Clinton’s emails. Davis suggested Tuesday night that those were not just idle words.

The President had adamantly denied that he’s done anything wrong.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny- ... story.html

Cohen lawyer: ‘There is no dispute that Donald Trump committed a crime'

The attorney representing President Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen says that there is now "no dispute" that President Trump committed a crime during the 2016 election.

Interviewed on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Lanny Davis said that Cohen's decision Tuesday to implicate the president in directing him to commit campaign finance violations with relation to his payments to women such as Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels as proof of Trump's wrongdoing.

"Well, let's clear up for some reason in ambiguity the smoke that [Trump attorney] Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump and the people around him are blowing," Davis says.

"Very clearly, there is no dispute that Donald Trump committed a crime," Davis continues. "No dispute, because his own lawyers said to the special counsel in a letter that he directed, that's the word they used, Michael Cohen to make these payments."

Cohen surrendered to FBI agents on Tuesday ahead of reaching a plea agreement on charges of tax and banking fraud, while admitting in court filings that the president had personally directed him to make the payments to Daniels and McDougal, who both claim affairs with the president, weeks before the election.

Prosecutors working with Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation have been probing the payments and their funding for possible criminal activity including campaign finance law violations as part of the ongoing investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Cohen's surrender to authorities on Tuesday came amid the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, being found guilty on 8 charges related to his lobbying work in Ukraine by a judge in Virginia.
http://thehill.com/policy/national-secu ... ed-a-crime

Seth Abramson

(THREAD) So what happens now that Michael Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, has said on MSNBC that Cohen will tell Mueller (a) Trump colluded with the Russians, and (b) his collusion involved knowing about Russian hacking *in advance*? I'll break it down. Hope you'll read and share.

11:48 PM - 21 Aug 2018
2,171 Retweets 3,412 Likes Linda KelleyJulie LapointeLorraine Shawnutter buttersLisa SmithJoanne EObama Girl...kenrentzTim Anderson

1/ First, here's video of what Michael Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, said on MSNBC last night, which was perhaps the most shocking thing anyone has said on TV in the last decade when you think about its implications for this presidency and for the nation:

2/ Second, here's an example of how it's being covered. One question that will be answered today is whether The New York Times and The Washington Post appreciate the import of what Davis said *enough* to report on this story as they *did not do* yesterday:

3/ Third, understand that while Davis (@LannyDavis) is unlikely to walk back what he said to MSNBC, you *should* expect him to *clam up* and realize that revealing what he revealed was a mistake. He wasn't serving his client well and what he did on MSNBC was deeply irresponsible.

4/ What Davis did was irresponsible (and I say this attorney to attorney, as I've tagged Lanny and he follows this feed) because as an attorney you *mustn't* do *anything* that could jeopardize your client beyond the jeopardy they already face. Davis' words were harmful to Cohen.

5/ Cohen needs his value to Mueller to be as high as it can be; revealing what he has in the media damages the value of his information by giving information to potential jurors, the media, and Mueller critics when what Mueller *wants* is to have information others do *not* have.

6/ When a prosecutor doesn't control the flow of valuable information that's incoming to him—or for all we know, has already come to him—by a witness' proffer, it can slam doors in the faces of his investigators that wouldn't have been slammed if the information was closely held.

7/ For instance, imagine that there's a witness willing to talk to Mueller if s/he believes Mueller does *not* know about Trump's collusion who suddenly will *refuse* to talk to Mueller (or his investigators) if s/he discovers that Mueller *has* been told about Trump's collusion.

8/ Mueller wants to control the information Cohen is going to give him—when it's released, who has it, how it's framed, how it shapes his probe. He doesn't want Cohen's lawyer making those decisions. I suspect that's why Davis had *clammed up* by the time he spoke to @ChrisCuomo.

9/ So don't expect Lanny Davis—who I think, as a Clinton ally, was a bit giddy about being able to stick it to Trump, and let his emotions overrule his professional instincts—to repeat his claim that Cohen can confirm Trump-Russia collusion. But the thing is—he *already said it*.

10/ What that means is that The Washington Post and The New York Times *have* to report what Davis said. They can say, "Well, he *intimated*..." but the fact is, if the Times and Post report what Davis said, *most* Americans will assume Cohen is confirming Trump-Russia collusion.

11/ And let's be clear: Davis *absolutely* confirmed that what Michael Cohen is now offering Mueller is that Trump *did* collude with Russia under *any definition of that word* you might choose to use. And Davis *can't* unring that bell; that information in the public square now.

12/ The question now is, "Did Cohen already talk to Mueller?" If he already spoke to Mueller—gave even a partial proffer of the information he has—I was right to think there was a sub rosa cooperation agreement lying invisibly behind the favorable plea terms that Cohen got today.

13/ If he *didn't* talk to Mueller already one could *argue* Davis was trying to "tease" the proffer to get Mueller interested—but in fact that's unnecessary, you'd just go to Mueller privately. (And the next step would be Cohen meeting with Mueller's team for *scores of hours*).

14/ And that really is what comes next now: Cohen negotiating his *Russia* knowledge into, he hopes, no prison time. The theory? If Mueller knows I'm already going to prison for about five years, he may run any sentence I get *concurrent* to that one or just let me go altogether.

15/ And that *is* one way to read what Cohen did today: he knew he was getting prison time either way, on the campaign finance stuff *or* on Russia, so he needed to begin the narrative Lanny Davis was pushing on TV tonight and begin it *now*: "I'm here to tell America the truth."

16/ Today's theater—a man pleading guilty with no cooperation deal and accepting prison time—is almost certainly, then, just the appetizer for what Cohen *really* has to offer the government, which is Trump-Russia collusion. This *isn't*—in the end—about Stormy Daniels, that is.

17/ So I would expect Davis to claim up; Cohen to basically disappear; Mueller to *not* leak; and the Mueller *investigation* to take the view of Cohen—who is not a witness anyone will build a case around—it *must*: he can help us get the proof we need, but he can't be our case.

18/ So what changed tonight is we know where the story's headed—that *doesn't* mean we're suddenly going to have more *evidence* than we had, besides knowing what Cohen is telling Mueller behind closed doors in broad strokes. But there's something more important than any of this.

19/ I think I know what "hacking" Davis is referring to—and he's only got it partially right. Cohen can confirm Trump heard from Papadopoulos in April 2016 that Russia had the "missing" Clinton emails. Meaning that he knew Russia was claiming to be hacking. But there's a problem.

20/ The problem is, Russia *never had those particular emails*—they gave *fake* Clinton emails to Trump adviser Joe Schmitz and to Trump campaign agent Peter W. Smith, who said he was working with Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sam Clovis, and Kellyanne Conway. So it's complicated.

21/ What I think Davis is *really* saying is that Trump knew Russia was boasting of being behind cyber-intrusions in April—about 50 days before DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. And he responded to that knowledge by furiously working—through his NatSec team—to find those Clinton emails.

22/ Meanwhile, Trump was almost certainly using any backchannel he could to let Russia know he approved of them getting as much Clinton dirt as possible. But did he know about the *DNC* hacking in advance? Davis intimates that he might have, but realize that's *far* less likely.

23/ Simply put, there was *no reason* for *anyone* associated with the Kremlin to risk their IRA/GRU operations by letting a moron like Trump know what they were going to do in advance. They *did* benefit from dangling Clinton emails before Trump because they knew he'd go for it.

24/ That said, *because* Russia *did* make criminal attempts (particularly on July 28, 2016, just one day after "Russia, if you're listening...") to get Clinton's emails, Cohen *is* implicating Trump in Conspiracy to Commit Computer Crimes—as this feed has been saying for a year.

25/ So is there Trump-Russia collusion? I think that's absolutely clear, and Cohen *will* help Mueller *add* to what he's already been told by Flynn, Gates, and Papadopoulos on that score, which I continue to think (particularly as to the first two of those three men) is a *lot*.

CONCLUSION/ The end of this story was all but confirmed tonight—proof of Trump-Russia collusion in the public square and Trump's impeachment or resignation (though resignation would lead to indictment, so he'll avoid that). The question now? *How long it takes to get there*. /end
https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status ... 9510738944

Adam Schiff

The first two members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter Jr., have been indicted for financial crimes and campaign finance violations in the past two weeks.

Gee, I wonder what they saw in Trump?



With Paul Manafort's guilty verdict, now seems like a good time to remember that it was Manafort who pushed Trump into selecting Mike Pence as his running mate and eventual vice president.

New York state investigators subpoena Michael Cohen in Trump Foundation probe

Last Updated Aug 22, 2018 5:14 PM EDT

Investigators in New York state have issued a subpoena to former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen as part of their ongoing criminal probe into the Trump Foundation, a state official confirmed to CBS News' Pat Milton.

The subpoena was issued Wednesday by the New York state's Department of Taxation and Finance seeking "relevant information in light of the public disclosure made yesterday," according to the state official. The news comes a day after Cohen pleaded guilty, in a separate case, to eight counts, including two campaign finance violations. The Cohen subpoena was first reported by the Associated Press.

As a former close Trump confidant, Cohen could potentially be a significant source of information for state investigators looking into whether Mr. Trump or his charity broke state law or lied about their tax liability.

Anyone charged with a state crime could not be pardoned by the president.

Messages the AP left with attorneys for Cohen and Mr. Trump were not immediately returned Wednesday.

In June, New York's acting attorney general Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation over alleged illegal conduct, claiming Mr. Trump used the foundation's charitable assets to pay off his legal obligations, promote his businesses and purchase personal items — including a painting of himself for $10,000 that was displayed at the Trump National Doral in Miami.

A Trump spokesperson at the time of the filing of New York lawsuit called it "politics at its very worst."

The Department of Taxation and Finance cannot prosecute anything on its own. Any potential evidence of wrongdoing found by the investigators at the Department of Taxation and Finance will ultimately be referred to the State Attorney General's office for prosecution, according to a source familiar with the matter.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-york-s ... ion-probe/
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:37 pm

Michael Cohen accused of faking documents to flip rent-stabilized apartments

Housing group claims Cohen tried to drive out tenants in order to hike rents and lied to get construction permits

Erin DurkinLast modified on Mon 27 Aug 2018 15.29 EDT
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, has been accused of filing false documents for three New York City apartment buildings, buying the buildings for $10m and then flipping them for $27m.

According to an investigation by the Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), Cohen and his partners tried to drive out tenants whose rents were kept down by rent stabilization laws so they could hike the rent, the watchdog group said on Monday.

Cohen, through a managing agent, filed for construction permits claiming that the buildings were vacant and had no rent-stabilized tenants – when in fact dozens of such tenants were living there, according to tax records, the group said.

Separately, Cohen pleaded guilty last week in federal court to eight criminal counts including fraud and campaign finance violations, directly implicating the president in a crime.

Tenants working with the same watchdog group brought a lawsuit last month making similar false paperwork allegations against Kushner Companies, the company formerly headed by Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

New York state then launched an investigation into charges the Kushner firm harassed tenants.

“Like the Kushner Cos, Cohen was playing a game of real estate roulette,” said the Housing Rights Initiative executive director, Aaron Carr.

In Cohen’s case, he made a $17m profit selling the three buildings after purchasing them through a shell corporation based out of his condo and owning them for just a few years. During the time he owned the buildings, more than two dozen rent-stabilized tenants moved out, and their apartments were converted to much more lucrative market rate units, the group found.

New York has launched an investigation into charges against the company formerly run by Jared Kushner.
New York has launched an investigation into charges against the company formerly run by Jared Kushner. Photograph: Pablo Martínez Monsiváis/AP
HRI claimed that Cohen’s agent submitted more than 20 documents to the city department of buildings falsely representing that there were no rent-stabilized tenants in the buildings in order to get construction permits.

When construction work was under way, the buildings were hit with multiple tenant complaints and city violations for excessive noise and dust, work done at unauthorized hours, and demolition without a permit.

Carr said the behavior is distressingly common for landlords looking to get rid of low-paying tenants and increase their profits. “A culture of real estate corruption has taken root in New York state,” he said.

A representative for Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Unlike the Kushner firm, Cohen is not being sued over the violations because he no longer owns the buildings. After pleading guilty last week to tax evasion, campaign finance violations and lying to a financial institution, he is set to be sentenced in December.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... are_btn_tw
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:20 pm

Michael Cohen wants to scrap the Stormy Daniels NDA

He wants the $130,000 in hush money back, too. But Michael Avenatti sees it as a way to avoid a deposition.

Emily StewartSep 8, 2018, 10:05am EDT

Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti as they exit the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York in April 2018.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Michael Cohen wants to let Stormy Daniels out of the nondisclosure agreement she signed to keep allegations about her affair with President Donald Trump under wraps — and he wants the $130,000 he paid her to do so back.

Essential Consultants, the company Cohen used to make the hush payment, filed a status report in a Los Angeles federal court on Friday to rescind the 2016 agreement that was meant to keep Daniels from speaking out but has become part of Cohen’s recent legal troubles.

”Today, Essential Consultants LLC and Michael Cohen have effectively put an end to the lawsuits filed against them by Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels,” Brent Blakely, Cohen’s lawyer, told CNN. “The rescission of the Confidential Settlement Agreement will result in Ms. Clifford returning to Essential Consultants the $130,000 she received in consideration, as required by California law.”

Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, in August pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax and bank fraud and campaign finance violations. The campaign finance violations were directly related to the Daniels payment made ahead of the 2016 election. (Cohen also implicated Trump in the illegal payoff.)

The Wall Street Journal in January first reported Trump’s alleged 2006 affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and the $130,000 payout. Daniels in March sued Trump and Essential Consultants, Cohen’s shell company, claiming the hush agreement is void because Trump never signed it.

Friday’s filing would seek to let Daniels off the hook for the nondisclosure agreement — but it’s not a deal she is eager to take, according to her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. In a pair of tweets late Friday, Avenatti said he sees the maneuver as an attempt by Cohen to bar him from deposing the president and Cohen. “My client and I will never settle the cases absent full disclosure and accountability,” he said.

The filing might close one chapter for Cohen — or it might not

Trump and Cohen initially said that Daniels could be liable for damages of up to $20 million if she spoke out, but that didn’t stop her. According to CNN, that’s part of why Cohen wants to rescind the NDA. The porn actress has already said plenty about her alleged affair with Trump, including with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes in March, so trying to block her no longer benefits him. He just wants the $130,000 back.

If the NDA is rescinded, Daniels will be able to speak freely about her alleged affair with Trump without the fear of legal or financial repercussions. As the Wall Street Journal points out, scrapping the agreement wouldn’t end all of Cohen’s and Daniel’s legal entanglements with one another: Daniels also has a defamation claim against Cohen related to his public comments. Both Cohen and Daniels have set up separate crowdfunding pages to help them raise money for their legal battles, including against one another.

The dismissal of the hush agreement lawsuit would likely mean that Avenatti wouldn’t be able to keep trying to depose Trump or Cohen about the payment, and that’s where Avenatti has taken issue. He told the Journal he would be “shocked” if Daniels agreed. “This is a hail Mary to try and avoid [a deposition], that’s my first guess,” Avenatti told CNN.

Daniels and Avenatti are scheduled to appear on ABC’s The View next week, where they’ve teased a “big announcement.”

As for the $130,000, Daniels already offered to pay it back months ago, though it’s unclear who would keep the money if she does return it. Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment after it was made.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... a-avenatti
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:25 pm


Poor Republicans: they're going to be about 2 months behind the more criminal exposed rats fleeing Trump's ship, at which point their taint will be very ugly too.

Michael Cohen Is the Latest Former Trump Ally to Talk to Mueller

In the wake of Manafort’s plea deal, sources confirm that it is now common knowledge among Cohen’s inner circle that Trump’s former lawyer has been in contact with the special counsel’s office.

Emily Jane Fox
September 14, 2018 3:18 pm
The Cohen Files

Attorneys for Donald Trump were dealt another major blow on Friday as Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of a deal that involved pleading guilty to two conspiracy charges. Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor from Mueller’s office, explained to the judge that as part of the deal, all other charges against Manafort will be dropped at sentencing or “at the agreement of successful cooperation.” Under the agreement, Manafort agreed to forfeit four properties and multiple bank accounts, along with cooperating with investigators by participating in interviews, providing documents and testifying in court.

Manafort is one of a number of members of Trump’s inner circle who have cut deals with the special counsel’s office, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Manafort deputy Rick Gates. In recent weeks, it has also become common knowledge among close friends of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, that Cohen is talking to the Mueller team, according to people familiar with the situation. (Cohen did not respond to request for comment, nor did his attorney, Guy Petrillo. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.)

The extent and purpose of those talks is not entirely clear. Last month, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, lying to a bank, and campaign-finance violations. During his allocution in front of a packed courtroom, Cohen read carefully chosen words stating that Trump had directed him to make payments to two women who had alleged affairs with the then-candidate, implicating the president as his co-conspirator. Trump subsequently criticized Cohen, contrasting his disloyalty with the contemporaneous actions of Manafort, who he tweeted had “refused to break” by making up stories in order to get a deal. “Such respect for a brave man!” he added. (Trump has denied sexual relationships with both women, and has maintained that he did nothing wrong.)

For months, Cohen has appeared to signal his willingness to cooperate with the government, both with the Southern District of New York and the special counsel’s office. While prosecutors for the Southern District did not initially approach Cohen about a cooperating agreement before he pleaded guilty, many speculated that he could still cut a deal in the months between the plea and his sentencing in December. Those familiar with Cohen’s thinking were unsure about what he might have to offer prosecutors, but because he had worked so closely with Trump and his family for more than a decade, it was assumed that he could potentially be a useful corroborating witness.

It is a remarkable reversal from a year ago, when Cohen told me he would take a bullet for the president. But Cohen has now been squeezed financially, emotionally, and legally in a way he could not have imagined. Since last month, his primary concern has been his family—what a prison sentence could mean for them, and what his financial situation will look like, given his mounting legal bills and lack of income. He had expressed to friends that he was willing to share what he knows, both because he wants to be on the right side of history, and to spare them. As one longtime friend of Cohen’s put it to me, “He doesn’t feel he needs to go out of his way to protect Trump anymore, particularly because Trump has gone out of his way to hurt Michael.” Earlier this week, Cohen and his attorney sat down with New York state tax-department officials, who subpoenaed him last month as part of their inquiry into the Trump Foundation.

According to people close to him, Cohen closely watched the White House’s reaction to his allocution in court last month. He listened as Trump railed against anyone who makes a plea deal, telling Fox News that cooperating with the government “almost ought to be outlawed.” And he has bristled at the feeling that he has taken the fall for a man who has refused to take any responsibility or face any consequence himself. In conversations with Mueller’s team, he is making good on what he told ABC earlier this summer: that his loyalty to Trump is no longer his lodestar.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/09 ... en-mueller
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:22 am

Michael Cohen is giving Mueller's Russia probe 'critical information' on Trump

Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer says he is providing "critical information" as part special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said Thursday he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.
For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer says he is providing "critical information" as part special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said Thursday he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.

Trump's longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians. For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who had both alleged they had affairs with Trump. It was the first time any Trump associate implicated Trump himself in a crime, though whether — or when — a president can be prosecuted remains a matter of legal dispute.

On Thursday night, Cohen tweeted: "Good for @MichaelCohen212 for providing critical information to the #MuellerInvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his integrity, veracity or loyalty to his family and country over @POTUS @realDonaldTrump."

The tweet was deleted almost immediately and was later reposted by his attorney, Lanny Davis, who said he wrote the tweet for Cohen and asked him to tweet it because he has a "much larger following." Davis said he was delayed posting the tweet on his own account, so Cohen tweeted it first.

ABC News reported earlier Thursday that Cohen has met several times — for several hours — with investigators from the special counsel's office.

The television network, citing sources familiar with the matter, said he was questioned about Trump's dealings with Russia, including whether members of the Trump campaign worked with Russians to try to influence the outcome of the election.

Davis had asserted last month that his client could tell the special counsel that Trump had prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, Trump's son-in-law and Trump's eldest son, who had been told in emails that it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. But Davis later walked back the assertions, saying he could not independently confirm the claims that Cohen witnessed Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.

In the last two weeks, the special counsel secured the cooperation of Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; signaled that he has obtained all the information he needs from former national security adviser Michael Flynn — who was also a government cooperator; and dispensed with the case of the campaign aide who triggered the Russia probe.

The president has continued a very public battle against the Mueller investigation, repeatedly calling it a politically motivated and "rigged witch hunt." He has said he is going to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move that he says will show that the investigation was tainted from the start by bias in the Justice Department and FBI.

https://www.businessinsider.com/cohen-i ... ump-2018-9
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:56 pm

Michael Cohen Says Trump Repeatedly Used Racist Language Before His Presidency

As he awaits sentencing, Trump’s former lawyer says that he wants to clear his conscience and warn voters about what he sees as the president’s true nature in advance of the midterm elections.

Emily Jane FoxNovember 2, 2018 2:30 pm
The Cohen Files

Trump rallies in Columbia, Missouri on November 1, 2018.
By Scott Olson/Getty Images.
On Tuesday, mourners gathered in Pittsburgh to honor the victims of the harrowing attack on the Tree of Life synagogue. Days earlier, as they observed Shabbat, 11 Jews were murdered. Robert Bowers, the alleged suspect, later told a SWAT officer that he wanted all Jews to die. (Bowers has since pleaded not guilty.) The tragedy united thousands of Jews in Pittsburgh, who peacefully protested Donald Trump’s visit to the synagogue earlier this week. It also consumed a far larger constituency, which remained aghast that the alleged killer was motivated by fear fanned by the president of the United States.

Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, was among those closely following the story. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Cohen has remained largely silent since the F.B.I. executed search warrants on his home, hotel room, and office this past spring. In August, he pleaded guilty to charges related to campaign-finance violations and tax fraud, and at the advice of counsel, he has not spoken publicly about his case or his relationship with the president ever since. Privately, he has been cooperating with investigators in the Southern District of New York, the special counsel’s office, and New York State. (He faces sentencing in the Southern District next month.) Yet Cohen wanted to express himself in the wake of the tragedy. Shortly after the sun rose on Tuesday, he tweeted, “In honor of those sadly being buried today resulting from #AntiSemitism #PittsburghSynagogueShooting, let’s follow the wisdom and thoughtful words of #RabbiJeffreyMyers ‘it can’t just be to say we need to stop hate. We need to do, we need to act to tone down rhetoric.’”

Like many, Cohen has observed the president’s scorched-earth campaign tactics as the midterm elections approach, and as the prospect of a Democratic House majority beckons, with its attendant promise of investigations and inquiries. He has heard Trump’s constant invocation of the migrant caravan moving through Central America; he’s noticed the president threaten to revoke birthright citizenship; he’s noted Trump’s tweet calling Florida’s African-American gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, a “thief,” without any evidence. He also watched Trump shirk responsibility after it was discovered that Bowers invoked the caravan in posts online ahead of the mass murder in Pittsburgh, and after one of his ardent supporters was charged last week with mailing pipe bombs to notable Democrats and other frequent Trumpian targets. (The suspect plans to plead not guilty.) On Twitter and during rallies, Trump has referred to the media as “the enemy of the people,” blaming the free press for “the anger we see today in our society.”

That message rang hollow to those most familiar with the president and his language, including Cohen, who said he has spent the last several months quietly reflecting on his former boss and his own role in the Trump Organization. Amid the president’s recent tirades, Cohen has re-registered as a Democrat and urged people on Twitter to vote in the midterm elections, calling it possibly “the most important vote in our lifetime.” He said that events also activated within him an urge to reveal details from his tenure at the Trump Organization, during which he said the president privately uttered chilling, racist language in one-on-one conversations. On Tuesday, the day of the first funerals in Pittsburgh, he shared some of these memories.

Certainly, Cohen is aggrieved, and his credibility has been questioned by the president, his lawyers, and others. His allegations could inflame the very divisions that he’s said he wants to diffuse. Through the president’s public attacks against him, he stayed silent, as his lawyers advised, and he’s taken a risk in sharing these recollections on the record. When I asked him why he was coming forward now with such uncomfortable claims, Cohen was clear: he knew that the president’s private comments were worse than his public rhetoric, and he wanted to offer potential voters what he believed was evidence of Trump’s character in advance of the midterm elections.

During our conversation, Cohen recalled a discussion at Trump Tower, following the then-candidate’s return from a campaign rally during the 2016 election cycle. Cohen had watched the rally on TV and noticed that the crowd was largely Caucasian. He offered this observation to his boss. “I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, ‘That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.’” (The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

This conversation, he noted, was reminiscent of an exchange that the two men had engaged in years earlier, after Nelson Mandela’s death. “[Trump] said to me, ‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole,’ and then he added, ‘Name one city,’” Cohen recalled, a statement that echoed the president’s alleged comments about African nations earlier this year. (White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied those comments at the time. She added that “no one here is going to pretend like the president is always politically correct—he isn’t.” She subsequently noted that it was “one of the reasons the American people love him.”)

Cohen also recounted a conversation he had with Trump in the late 2000s, while they were traveling to Chicago for a Trump International Hotel board meeting. “We were going from the airport to the hotel, and we drove through what looked like a rougher neighborhood. Trump made a comment to me, saying that only the blacks could live like this.” After the first few seasons of The Apprentice, Cohen recalled how he and Trump were discussing the reality show and past season winners. The conversation wended its way back to the show’s first season, which ended in a head-to-head between two contestants, Bill Rancic and Kwame Jackson. “Trump was explaining his back-and-forth about not picking Jackson,” an African-American investment manager who had graduated from Harvard Business School. “He said, ‘There’s no way I can let this black f-g win.’” (Jackson told me that he had heard that the president made such a comment. “My response to President Trump is simple and Wakandan,” he said, referring to the fictional African country where Black Panther hails from. “‘Not today, colonizer!’”)

In retrospect, Cohen told me that he wishes he had quit the Trump Organization when he heard these offensive remarks. “I should have been a bigger person, and I should have left,” he said. He didn’t, he said, because he grew numb to the language and, in awe of the job, forgave his boss’s sins. Cohen, in fact, even defended the president publicly against charges of racism. Last year, he explicitly tweeted as much. Cohen explained that he defended the president because he thought the magnitude of the office would eventually force him to be more judicious with his words. “I truly thought the office would change him,” he said. But it hasn’t, Cohen continued. In fact, he said, it has exacerbated his rhetoric.

Cohen’s claims would damage most presidents. Trump, however, survived the Access Hollywood tape in the run-up to the presidential election in 2016. His supporters stayed with him after his jarring “both sides” comment regarding the racial violence in Charlottesville, and didn’t bend when Omarosa Manigault Newman accused him of using vile racial language after she left the White House. (Trump referred to her as “that dog” after her book came out.) When Trump portrayed Brett Kavanaugh as a man under siege, his poll numbers went up. Trump seems to perform best with his base when he appears like his back is up against the wall. For Cohen’s part, he said he is hoping that people bear his words in mind as they cast their ballots on Tuesday. He will.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/11 ... al_twitter
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