The Fire Rosenstein Squad among Trump’s Buddies

WSJ has a fascinating story about the advice that former prosecutor and Trump lawyer Jay Goldberg gave the president last week after the Michael Cohen raid. Rather than keeping the advice confidential or even anonymous, Goldberg instead sat down for two hours to tell the WSJ precisely what he told the president in a 15 minute conversation last week.

The newsy bit is that Goldberg told Trump that Cohen would flip on him if he were charged, and might even agree to wear a wire.

One of President Donald Trump’s longtime legal advisers said he warned the president in a phone call Friday that Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and close friend, would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges.

Mr. Trump made the call seeking advicel [sic] from Jay Goldberg, who represented Mr. Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president not to trust Mr. Cohen. On a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, Mr. Cohen “isn’t even a 1,” he said he told Mr. Trump.


[H]e stressed to thje [sic] president that Mr. Cohen could even agree to wear a wire and try to record conversations with Mr. Trump. “You have to be alert,” Mr. Goldberg said he told the president. “I don’t care what Michael says.”

The more troubling revelation is that Goldberg told Trump straight out he should fire Rod Rosenstein.

Prompted by the president for his advice, he also said he recommended Mr. Trump fire Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller.

But here’s the other detail of interest. Goldberg told the WSJ that the Cohen raid puts him at more risk than the Mueller investigation.

Goldberg said the volume of correspondence taken and the potential pressure the government can bring to bear on Mr. Cohen to testify puts the president in more potential peril from the Cohen matter than from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mr. Mueller is examining whether members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russians to affect the 2016 election. Russia officials have denied meddling in the election, and Mr. Trump has denied any collusion took place.

And he said that even while asserting that he doesn’t believe Trump broke the law (in context, I presume this means with Russia, though I’m not certain).

Goldberg recalled the conversation in a two-hour interview in his apartment on New York’s Upper East Side Wednesday, emphasizing that he didn’t believe Mr. Trump had broken the law.

Here’s why I find this so fascinating.

First, clearly Goldberg wants this out, even the details (like that he thinks Cohen might wear a wire) designed to make Trump go nuts. This, then, is presumably another example of a Trump associate trying to speak to him through the press (though why Goldberg chose WSJ instead of Fox, I don’t know — maybe this is an attempt to get booked on Fox, where Trump will see it). Perhaps, too, Goldberg is trying to put pressure on Trump’s legal team, especially Ty Cobb, to let the president fire Rosenstein.

That said, the story will make the legal risk of firing Rosenstein still greater, because it will make the context of all this clear: that firing Rosenstein would be an attempt to prevent Cohen from being charged, which would have the effect of exposing Trump to legal risk. (That analysis seems problematic in any case, because — at least according to my understanding of things — while Rosenstein has to approve any charges Mueller makes, that may not be true of any charges Robert Khuzami would make as acting US Attorney for SDNY, though it’s possible DOJ would demand further approvals because of the political significance of this.)

But the entire premise, if Goldberg is to be believed (and if I’m understanding the context of his comment about Trump not having broken the law), is that Trump is not at legal risk from Mueller but he is at risk for … everything else that Cohen might implicate him in.

Of course, that sentiment was reported last Friday by NYT, in the lead of this story, attributed to “Trump’s advisers” and “people close to Trump” (both descriptions could clearly include Goldberg).

President Trump’s advisers have concluded that a wide-ranging corruption investigation into his personal lawyer poses a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the Special Counsel’s investigation, according to several people close to Mr. Trump.

In other words, it’s highly likely that we’re seeing Goldberg say on the record to the WSJ what he said anonymously to the NYT last week. But in the process, we’re seeing why: Goldberg doesn’t think Trump broke the law in anything he did with regards to Russia. How much does Goldberg really know what Trump did, I wonder? Either he knows all the details, in which case his judgment may be valid, or he has no clue, in which case we shouldn’t necessarily take the opinion as all that reasonable.

Side note: if I’m Mueller, I’ve already drafted the subpoena for Goldberg, who presumably won’t be able to claim the substance of this conversation with Trump, which he shared with WSJ, is privileged.

All of which leads me to the most shocking part of Friday’s story: that Trump called Cohen that day to “check in.”

Trump called Mr. Cohen on Friday to “check in,” according to two people briefed on the call. Depending on what else was discussed, the call could be problematic, as lawyers typically advise their clients against discussing investigations.

WSJ seems to suggest that, in addition to speaking with Trump, Goldberg also spoke to Cohen, which may be where he got the detailed description of the raid he shared with WSJ.

Mr. Cohen was “shocked,” according to Mr. Goldberg, who also spoke with Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, in recent days.

So what this looks like by reading the two stories together is that, probably before he spoke to Trump on Friday, Goldberg spoke to Cohen. Maybe that’s part of where he derived his opinion that Cohen would flip on Trump. And then Goldberg called Trump to tell him Cohen wouldn’t remain loyal.

Was that before or after Trump called Cohen to “check in”?

Goldberg may be trying to help Trump by pushing him to fire Rosenstein. But I can think of about five ways that this story really fucks Trump, and that’s assuming that Mueller doesn’t give Goldberg a call to invite him in for a chat.

74 replies
  1. Drew says:

    Of course, Goldberg is probably right that Cohen would flip. Especially if Schneiderman get’s his fine tuning of the NY state double jeopardy laws through the legislature.

  2. Jim White says:

    There is no other way to read this than that Goldberg, through direct personal experience representing Trump, knows that Trump’s “business” activities include numerous criminal acts.

    I’d say that not just Mueller, but also SDNY must be preparing a subpoena for Goldberg.

    • harpie says:

      Yes. This is how Mathew Miller put it:

      So telling how the premise that Cohen knows of wrongdoing by the president is just implicitly accepted by even Trump’s defenders. No one ever says “well, I’m sure the president did nothing wrong, so he has nothing to worry about.”

      [Hi, Jim!]

    • Trip says:

      Yes, how much more glaringly obvious can those statements be?  If you’re not a part of a criminal enterprise or involved in something illegal, how can someone flip on you?  Why would you need to fire Rosenstein because of the developments with Mickey Medallions?  This blatantly admits that there was corrupt or criminal activity that Medallions can bring to light. It doesn’t even attempt to camouflage it behind some stupid deep state conspiracy propaganda.

      That’s what is most surprising of all. It’s obvious advice to get away with something that Cohen knows about. Does this make Goldberg an accomplice?


    • orionATL says:

      re jim white’s comment-

      my thoughts exactly.

      his closest associates know for a fact that trump is crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

      but that a “close friend” would make this implied confession of trump crookedness publicly in a major rightwing newspaper?

      with friends like that….

  3. Garrett says:

    Instead of this being Goldberg speaking to Trump through the press (basically repeating what he already said), couldn’t this be Trump and Goldberg speaking to Cohen through the press, instead?

    The White House confirmed the call, which I wouldn’t normally expect of a conversation like this.

    And, for Cohen reading it,

    In the call, Mr. Goldberg, a former prosecutor who represented Mr. Trump in divorce and real-estate matters, said he told the president Mr. Cohen could even agree to wear a wire and try to record conversations with Mr. Trump. “You have to be alert,” Mr. Goldberg said he told the president. “I don’t care what Michael says.”

    ouch. Much more so than from Trump’s side.

    I never feel especially skilled at interpreting this type of skulduggery. But couldn’t this article be a sign that Cohen has been tossed, as too damaging to stick with?

  4. maestro says:

    Goldberg’s statements strike me as less a carefully considered and thought out assessment of the president’s legal exposure, and more a general disclaimer tossed out to try and prevent people from drawing any inferences the wrong way.

  5. maestro says:

    Regardless of the final outcome of Cohen and Trump’s petition regarding the fruits of the Cohen raids, it seems to me that the defense’s tactic has already succeeded in a very significant way. They’ve managed to introduce substantial delay into the process, where now even if a special master were to agree with the government on every disputed privilege claim, it is still going to take months for everything to be processed and reviewed, and there’s no doubt the defense will try to challenge as much material as possible to draw out the process even more.

    If the SDNY had been permitted to use a privilege team, they’d already be done reviewing a large portion of the evidence and the investigative team would be pursuing new leads. As it stands, they have to sit on their hands and wait while the defense gets to try and clean up every loose end before the government can find it.

      • maestro says:

        Well, on the flip side, it seems possible, maybe even likely, that the evidence seized in these raids alone will be enough to sink Cohen. Which would severely limit the utility of further cover-up since Cohen’s cooperation will render that mostly moot.

        Also, effecting further cover-up and destruction of evidence, without leaving a trail, is probably a lot easier said than done. Especially when you’re under a lot of scrutiny.

    • scribe says:

      The document review, analysis and preparation of privilege logs could be done by an outside team working for a putative special master using a team of say a dozen experienced contract attorneys in about 2-3 weeks, once a review paradigm was arrived at.  After that, putting it all in front of the judge and parties could take a week or less to go through the objections and decide them.

      So, you’re talking a month, maybe.  If they don’t push too hard.  I mean, if Cohen is such a non-attorney attorney, how many papers and emails could he have?

      I once worked a project going through most of the executive emails of a decent-sized corporation caught in a control fight.  About 20 of us, and it was done inside of a week.  Overtime, yes, but that’s not a problem.

      Properly handled, this need not take more than a month to dispose of the privilege issues.

      • maestro says:

        In the government’s filing the other day, they stated that if a special master were appointed, the master wouldn’t even be able to start reviewing documents until mid-late June.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      “As it stands, they have to sit on their hands and wait while the defense gets to try and clean up every loose end before the government can find it.”

      And while the defense (and others!), try to clean up, they will be generating Megabytes of Metadata *every day*.

      The Metadata is pure gold.

      Discovery can wait.

  6. Teddy says:

    It must be very confusing in TrumpWorld when the president says, a la African American athletes or gentlemen in Italian-American social clubs, “Get my Jew  lawyer!”  I mean, which one could he possibly mean?

  7. milkshake says:

    I read the Mr. Goldbergs carefully crafted “offhand” remarks about Cohen as a very bizzare attempt to smear Cohen. Without calling him anything offensive directly, he is saying in effect “look, Cohen is such a criminal slimeball that he will flip and try to save his skin by fabricating dirt on otherwise innocent Trump.”

    I don’t think this can possibly work because 1) Why would Trump retain almost exclusive services of this person if he wasn’t involved in shady stuff himself 2) Even if Cohen ethics are in question and he might be trying to cut a deal, what about the seized written records and electronic media that could implicate Trump? – They cannot be interpreted away that easily.

  8. Sabrina says:

    Interesting comment by Garrett that this could be a message for Cohen. No one in Trump’s orbit would talk to the press about anything sensitive without having another angle- someone else they’re really trying to influence. Goldberg, presumably being a Trump ally, would probably talk to Fox News instead of the WSJ if he were trying to get a message across to the president.

    About Cohen: based on his background as not only a “fixer” for trump, but apparently as a bona fide member of the Russian Mafia (with perhaps mafioso of other ethnicities as well; he sounds like he’s befriended a lot of colorful types), makes the oddly noticeable “smoke break” he had with his buddies last week during his court hearing seem like a signal (because isn’t everything a signal with these illegal types). It sounds like a very loud “we’ve got your back, Cohen” message from his mobster friends, meaning that Cohen would sell trump out in a heartbeat. These other guys have been more like family to him, taking him under their wing as he helped them out almost since his formative years, as I understand it. Their ties run deeper than his to Trump. So based on that and the evidence that is clearly out there from the raid on Cohen’s residences, Goldberg is under no illusions that Cohen will sell out his other buddies just so he won’t throw Trump under the bus in regards to whatever criminal charges are coming down the pipeline. I don’t quite know how to wrap this thought up, but its just full of pieces that don’t fit: Goldberg should know not to trust Cohen, and if he’s telegraphing that to Trump, why through the WSJ? It’s possible that he knows a lot of other people read the WSJ and by planting the idea that Cohen is wiretapped, maybe this signal is to other people involved in Cohen’s racketeering schemes, essentially outing him to the world as an informant whom nobody should trust. Not only a message for Trump, but a message for other people who are, as of yet, unknown. Again, because nothing these guys do is straightforward but instead is usually messaging with a deeper (and more sinister) purpose, perhaps Goldberg is trying to sow dissent between Trump (and others who may be relevant here) and Cohen- after all, it’s unlikely that Cohen is wearing a wire, because then why the need for the raids on his properties? I’m sure Goldberg knows this, so this is a lie that is self serving in some way; I’m speculating here that he knows Trump may be a dead man walking at this point, legally, and Goldberg has some ulterior purpose in this highly visible statement to the press.

    Final thought: the Sean Hannity thing still seems quite odd. I wouldn’t be surprised if Goldberg had also represented Hannity in the past, as these Fox personalities seem to be oddly connected in some shady business, and Hannity shares two other lawyers besides Cohen with Trump (though only Cohen and Sekulow are long term advisors). With that info, plus given how the entire circle of right wing commentators are furthering Trump’s cause to a suspiciously illogical degree (I mean, how can anyone keep defending him, let alone with the ardent furvour of someone like Alex Jones or Sean Hannity?), it wouldn’t surprise me at this point if Goldberg was somehow connected with someone else in this saga. Since Goldberg is choosing to put himself out there on the record about an issue that will put his name in the spotlight…to what end? There must be a self serving angle here somewhere. I’m betting we will hear more about Goldberg in the future. It’s odd for someone to surface like this without having a personal stake in what’s going on, and in such odd circumstances (speaking to the WSJ about something regarding Cohen that’s demonstrably false?). Maybe his law office will get raided next; nothing would surprise me anymore with this web of white collar criminals surrounding the president.

    Apolgoies if my thoughts are a bit scattered here, but there is a lot about this story, as well as the Cohn saga of the last few days, that doesn’t fit well together. At this point, if info were being telegraphed through the press, it would be not only a ballsy move, but a necessary one, as everyone who’s caught up in this web of white collar crime would be getting very, very desperate to save themselves as they feel the noose of the FBI close in. Couldn’t have happened to a bunch of nicer people.

    P.S. Marcy, and everyone else affiliated with this blog, thanks for the nightly dose of interesting information and detailed analysis. I just wanted you to know that you are upholding the values embodied by a free press. The cause is a noble one and you are fighting valiantly, with facts and proof rather than speculation, anger, and fear (Breitbart, as one example). Thanks for your tireless work!

    • Trip says:

      I’m sure Goldberg knows this, so this is a lie that is self serving in some way; I’m speculating here that he knows Trump may be a dead man walking at this point, legally, and Goldberg has some ulterior purpose in this highly visible statement to the press.

      This theory has merit. Is he trying to stop the bleeding at Trump, and tourniquet him off from more important actors on the food chain?

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Oh yeah, there are definitely more important actors on the food chain. *You* know.

        Important to keep in mind, the Metadata is extremely important to nail down the other actors.

        Do no assume that one who is portrayed as a bad actor is in fact, actually a bad actor.

        It may appear at times that there is a near infinite supply of bad actors, but some that *appear* to be in that group, in fact, may not.

        Metadata baby. Metadata. It is solid gold.

  9. Bob Conyers says:

    I see this as a sign that there is a spreading agreement among Trump’s supporters that the only way for him out of this is to blow up everything. Fire Sessions, fire Rosenstein, fire Mueller, fire US Attorneys who don’t knuckle under, probably Wray and multiple DOJ officials resign or get fired too.

    Also, pardons, stonewalling the juducial process, defying judges, stonewalling Congress maybe this year or definitely next. Essentially doing anything he can get away with.

    I don’t think they have faith that Trump believes yet that he can get caught and they doubt his resolve. This is about trying to scare him into going for a full melltdown of the system.

    • Trip says:

      Cartoon villainy, but with severe consequences:
      McConnell slams door on Mueller protection bill: ‘We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate’
      Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeated his own view that legislation to protect the special counsel’s position was ‘unnecessary.’

      Why doesn’t anyone in the press ask them about the advice Trump is getting? Dershowitz claiming it’s his right and constitutionally okay to fire them, and Goldberg outright telling him to do it? Why are they always allowed to pretend they don’t read tweets or follow news?  Why doesn’t the press ask if their ignorance harms the US?  They just let it go. Everyone pretends that they have no idea the machinations and statements made by Trump. It’s complete bullshit. And if it’s not, then they are woefully uninformed and don’t deserve to be in positions of power, where their answers are always, “Nanananana, I can’t hear you”. How does this fly when there are adults in this country?

      • Bob Conyers says:

        The media never wants to lose access, so they long ago internalized McConnell and Ryan’s signals when they need to stop pushing a question.

        The GOP leadership plan for a long time is to deny Trump is going to do it, and then once he’s done it, wring their hands and say they wish he hadn’t, but now it’s time to focus on the pressing problems of… overly burdensome regulation of telecoms, or something. They’re counting on the press to follow the signals that it’s time to change subjects.

        One of the miracles of a few in the media during Watergate is that they refused to follow the signals. Woodward and Bernstein and the Washington Post is the most famous example, although to his credit Walter Cronkite decided to in October 1972 to devote an entire broadcast to Watergate.

        We should be so lucky to have anyone anticipate the coming crisis.

      • harpie says:

        McConnell’s in the thick of the criminality:

        Read this thread by  ZarinaZabrisky:  #McConnell refused to bring the legislation to protect #Mueller to the Senate floor. A short thread on #MitchMcConnel and #ElaineChao’s history of corruption. / 1.


      • liberal says:

        Why doesn’t the press…

        Because the people who cut their paychecks like Republican efforts to cut taxes on the filthy rich and gut regulations and anti-trust.

          • orionATL says:

            trip –

            this is a story i would really like to read, but

            the bolded “truth” does nor bring up your citation. i have this problem frequently with bolding substituted for “regular” cites (- those using the copy command to copy from the media source product.

        • orionATL says:

          liberal –

          i think this is precisely the case. the publisher that pays the press calls the tune. of course, no one admits to this reality or that, say, dean baquet is the never-named go-between between the owners and the editors and reporters shading reporting to the politically conservative or the legally cautious side. see the nytimes report of mid-oct, 2016 claiming that the fbi did not think the russians were tryingbto help trump and harm clinton. baquetvwas in 9n all editorial meetings on this one.

    • harpie says:

      “I see this as a sign that there is a spreading agreement among Trump’s supporters that the only way for him out of this is to blow up everything.”


      • orionATL says:

        harpie –

        yeah, blow it up for sure. but as for timing, wasn’t this steve bannon’s publicly stated objective as soon as trump took office?

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It could well be a message to Cohen that his “side” has concerns about his keeping mum, or be a needed reminder to do same.  To be effective, Cohen would also need to perceive it as reminder that his side will be there to pay his bills and to pardon him if necessary.

    Cohen may be a weak link, half Fredo and half Sonny.  But he’s been associated with mob-connected people his entire adult life.  That’s probably one reason he was introduced by his wealthy Ukrainian father-in-law (who got him into the taxi business) to Trump in 2006, who ultimately hired by him.

    I agree with Avenatti that Cohen is watery and needs a vessel to keep his shape.  That may be what Goldberg’s doing.  He didn’t need to go public to tell the Trumpeter anything.  Thankfully, especially given the delays over reviewing the search materials, Goldberg’s going public – and sticking his own neck out – gives Mueller or SDNY a reason to subpoena him.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Goldberg represented the Idiot during his divorces, i.e. the time when he was up to his neck with the Italian mob for concrete and casinos. (Goldberg also represented a few mob figures in his time.) So it may imply that the Russian/Ukraine mob era that began with Cohen’s arrival comes with a weaker guarantee of loyalty.

      Part of me wonders if Goldberg wants a subpoena so he can try to read between the lines of what Mueller’s team is looking for. He’s retired (and currently shopping his memoir) but I’m sure he’s curious.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One reason that Goldberg might be saying such nice things about how unlikely Mickey Medallions  is follow the code of omerta is because Goldberg has often represented Italian mob figures.

      Cohen is the son of Polish immigrants and married into Ukrainian money.  His uncle’s “social club,” per Josh Marshall, once housed the head of the Russian mob USA.  (It was also once the favorite caterer for both Italian and Russian mobsters.)  And Felix Sater, a Cohen friend from their teens, apparently ratted out the Mafia and lived to go on to greater things.

      That might lead to a little bad blood between competing franchises.  Goldberg’s perspective might be one-sided, that and he’s 85, which might dull the wits (look at Grassley, Hatch and McConnell).  But he did choose the Don for a client way back.

      • orionATL says:

        earl of h. –

        sater and cohen are friends from childhood? now that’s a nugget to store away fror sure.

        where and how do you get this info? have you hacked into fbi ci?

  11. harpie says:

    New: Cohen drops libel suits against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPSJOSH GERSTEIN 04/19/2018 07:58 AM EDT


    Embattled attorney Michael Cohen has dropped a pair of much-touted libel suits against BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over publication of the so-called dossier detailing alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.


  12. Trip says:

    Last comment:

    Cohen drops libel suits against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS

    Embattled attorney Michael Cohen has dropped a pair of much-touted libel suits against BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over publication of the so-called dossier detailing alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia…Dropping the suits could help Cohen avoid being questioned by lawyers from Fusion GPS or having to turn over evidence related to the case — both steps that could undercut his defense in the criminal probe.The move could also bolster Cohen’s effort to delay a suit brought in Los Angeles by porn star Stormy Daniels…

    Why didn’t he drop the whole thing with Daniels when the going was good? Her story was already out. He dug a hole and is burying himself in it.


  13. Pete says:

    Alex Finley posted this link on Twitter:

    Even a blind squirrel ought to be able to can these nuts.

  14. scribe says:

    In response to this:

    maestro says:
    April 19, 2018 at 10:10 am
    In the government’s filing the other day, they stated that if a special master were appointed, the master wouldn’t even be able to start reviewing documents until mid-late June.


    That timeline would be the government’s fault, dithering with the documents and information, or a part of their gamesmanship to nudge the judge into ruling their way. If they were so concerned with delay, they would put an all-hands team on it and get it done in short order.

    What it also leads to is an inference that, regardless of anything the judge might have ordered, they’re already looking at the documents and imaging the drives so they can poke through things and claiming the 2 month delay to start reviewing the documents to give themselves time. It might be that the CI folks are using that time to do their own review.

    But it’s not like the government has never skewed their analysis of things to favor themselves.

    • bmaz says:

      As I said either below or on another thread, if there is to be a special master, get him appointed and up and running now with his team and receiving the rolling disclosure in real time at the same time as Cohen/Trump. This can be easily sped up if there is a desire to do so.

    • greengiant says:

      First the DOJ filing.   Second,  NOT “mid June”  BUT “until at least June”. Per the filing the most uncertain timeline estimate is the telephone download.  The filing is only two pages.  No need for maestro to modify them to grind an axe.

      • bmaz says:

        Eh, I am kind of with Scribe here, even if there is to be a special master (and I am not conceding the necessity of that), this time table looks inefficient to me.

        • scribe says:

          This is the kind of work I do – I kinda know what’s involved.  I think the DOJ argument is designed buy time to (a) let the CI people do their own review and get on with their work and (b) let the results of what the CI people see get parallel constructed over to the criminal side.  DoJ seems to like to look at everyone’s cards and feels lost when they can’t.

          Remember, the mere fact Cohen is in contact with the President – regardless of what’s being discussed – makes him a target of our CI. And doubtless our CI folks have been monitoring all Cohen’s comms for some time now. Not to mention foreign powers trying to do the same, and maybe succeeding.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Overall, totally agree, except…

            Why would any parallel construction even be needed?

            If CI can review the evidence, they can maybe find some more dots to track, and follow the Metadata fron there.

            In other words, I would not assume there is any huge CI smoking gun in the evidence seized from Cohen.

            There certainly is stuff of importance, but I would not assume that *everything* can be found in *that* pot.

            The Metadata being generated today will lead to investigations in the future. Investigations that most can not imagine.

          • bmaz says:

            I know what you do. But I do not think this is being run by CI at all at this point. I DO, however, think you are spot on that this extended time framing is not necessary.

  15. SteveB says:

    Sorry nesting on seems to work for me ocassionally.

    Re Goldberg using WSJ to send a message to Cohen.

    It has struck me that Goldberg chose a very particular and quotable phrasiology to ostensibly convey that Cohen is not to be trusted . In the course of a lengthy interview, the gobbit was almost certainly going to withstand editing for length of the piece, but other than being thought of as a colourful turn of phrase might not be scrutinized.

    ” on a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, Mr Cohen is not even a 1″
    Strkes me as a very odd way to choose to express distrust.

    I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I suspect a cryptanalyst might take note of something like this.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Well he used the qualifier ‘fully’.

      So, if not a ‘1’ on ‘1’ to ‘100’ scale, and assuming no decimal point allowed, he basically said:

      ‘Trump should not trust him fully’.

      And I am certain that would not be anything that Trump has not thought over before (even sans Big Macs).

      That does not mean he (Cohen) is fully untrustable. Hell, Trump may actually be getting useful ‘stuff’ *from* Cohen.

      I think Goldberg is actually looking forward to getting more than one subpoena.

  16. WinningerR says:

    Personally, I favor the Occam’s Razor explanation. Goldberg is running his mouth because his ego tells him he’s a far better lawyer than anyone in Trump’s circus, and he couldn’t resist the opportunity to “prove it” by blathering on to the WSJ about what *he* would do. Same impulse explains Dershowitz.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Nostalgic for the days when he was able to guide the Idiot through his legal struggles.

      (He’s 85, a few months older than fellow Brooklyn native Justice Ginsburg. He won’t be getting any further involved than gassing to the WSJ and plugging his memoir.)

    • milkshake says:

      Except that lawyers are trained not to run their mouths, especially not about their current clients. I do subscribe to the theory that he is sending some very specific signal – either to the public, about Trump and Cohen, or to some key individual(s) through the media, to people with whom he cannot make a direct contact without compromising himself because of the feds. Maybe he is publicly warning some Trump associates currently under investigation to take precautions because Cohen already flipped, or is about to.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        I believe he is sending a signal to a certain group, not the public *or* the media.

        But if you try to guess the group, you may be very likely way off of the trail.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Do believe he is sending a message to a group (not an individual), and it is not a message for the public or the media.

        But, if you guess the group, odds are strong that your guess will be wrong.

  17. orionATL says:

    “oh, what a tangled…”

    oh, what the hell:

    The Fix, Analysis, Aaron Blake, The first domino just fell after the Michael Cohen raid. wapo 4/18.*


    “…Karen McDougal is now free to talk, and she may have the raid of Michael Cohen to thank.

    The former Playboy playmate reached a settlement Wednesday with American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer, in a deal that allows her to spill about her alleged months-long affair with President Trump. And importantly, the terms of the deal appear quite favorable to McDougal. One possible reason, according to reports and experts: The Cohen raid bolstered her case…”

    * when trying to copy for the usual citation i get this garbage:

    “… this HTML class. Value is https://www.washingt…” rather than the usual html-ready citation.

    and this is not the first time i’ve had this problem. anybody know what’s going on? is this an emptywheel site cite :) problem?



  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jake Tapper on Mike Pompeo for SecState, to Mark Warner:  “What’s wrong with him?”  “If not Mike Pompeo, who?”  Asked as if Pompeo is the best of a bad lot.

    Academic credentials are not a sufficient criterion for top government service.  Pompeo, for example, was first in his class at Westpoint and graduated from HLS.  He has also been a government employee most of his career, and a career-long beneficiary of Koch Bros. largesse.  Needless to say, he’s hard right, not given to diplomacy, agrees with the Koch priorities, and is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump.  And he wants to be SecState.  Tillerson was a better choice, and he acted as a lone wolf, with a small staff he hired on.  The State Department was just where he had an office, he gutted the rest of it.

    One would think Kris Kobach’s recent “defense” of his voter suppression efforts in Kansas elegantly established that academic success is an insufficient predictor of professional competence.  Kobach graduated summa from Harvard College, was an editor of the Yale Law Review, and has a doctorate from Oxford.  He’s also a lousy Kansas SecState, a voter suppression specialist, and a desperately piss poor litigator.  Then there was Lewis Libby: Phillips Andover, Yale, Columbia Law, and convicted felon.

    Not that competence has much to do with what this Senate is willing to approve or object to.  It’s quite happy, it seems, with Donald Trump.

    • JD12 says:

      Pompeo is not a diplomat at all, only Tom Cotton would be worse for that job. He can barely  keep up the pretense. His meeting with North Korea is an obvious attempt to make him look diplomatic. Senators have been praising him for it, they have to do that in public, but hopefully they aren’t really falling for it. He already tricked them into confirming him once, but the CIA job at least fits him. He still wants war with Iran, that won’t change no matter what happens with Kim.

      His credentials really are impressive but that can be a problem for people with huge egos. He’s so sure he’s better than everyone so he doesn’t need their ideas. Supposedly he’s one of those people that you like him if you meet him, but it certainly doesn’t look that way from the outside. He has the same contemptuous smirk that Rumsfeld had.

      • Rugger9 says:

        One of the things that concerned me is that apparently the palace sees the DPRK initiative as a way to make the Kaiser into a great man.  Just like we do when Caesar Disgustus talks with Vlad, we must wonder what he will sell out to score a cheap and temporary “victory”.

        Pray for the planet, Trump thinks his “Great Man” moment has arrived on April 19 (scroll down at

        • Trip says:

          I wonder how it’s all genuinely tied together. The NK meet and greet might be another blackmail item from the Kremlin since they have been providing a huge assist to NK.

          • JD12 says:

            I think China has something to do with it too. Xi has a good read on Trump, he and Kim can probably get a good deal for them while letting Trump think it was all his idea (he’s said numerous times that the Olympics were going to be canceled until he got involved, all because of a routine thank you from President Moon). He’s had many bad deals in his business career that he claims victory on. Mar-a-Lago was never meant to be a club, it was supposed to be his winter house but he couldn’t afford it. I believe Trump is desperate, either for a political win or for a deal that he can say is better than Obama’s Iran deal. Xi, Kim, and Putin all know how to take advantage of that desperation.

  19. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Rudy 911, the man who may have been getting leaks from the anti-Hillary corner of the FBI’s NYC field office. You can’t make this shit up.

    (It’s probably to go after SDNY stuff — perhaps through insiders there? — more than Russia stuff.)

  20. Rugger9 says:

    Apparently Rudy (noun, verb, 9-11) Giuliani hasn’t argued a case in something like 30 years.  Given the team and the evidence Mueller and Schneiderman (etc., et al) have that we already know about, the palace really needs a real attorney (like Dowd tried to be).  However, for me the silver lining will be that the Kaiser will take Rudy with him into the trash heap of history.

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