https://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-19-at-3.50.37-PM.png 176 287 bmaz https://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Logo-Web.png bmaz2019-02-27 00:41:342019-02-27 00:41:34Initial Working Thread on Cohen’s Prepared Testimony
Initial Working Thread on Cohen’s Prepared Testimony
Okay, it is late but people may be interested in getting a jump on reading Michael Cohen’s prepared statement ahead of tomorrow’s hearing in the House Oversight Committee. With no further adieu:
Here is the prepared testimony. And it is pretty juicy!
Have some fun with it!
Holy shit! There are a lot of crazy accusations in there.
He didn’t seem to know about Russia, though. Which is wierd. Weird that he only has “suspicions”. When, you know, he was doing the whole giant phallic tower in Russia deal thing.
And he only has “suspicions” when he was there with a call about WikiLeaks hurting Clinton’s campaign? Dirt hacked by Russians.
How are these only “suspicions”?!
He worked on the “pro quo” but didn’t necessarily know about the “quid.” Meaning, he witnessed and worked on the project–or one of the projects–that constituted Trump’s payoff for toeing Russia’s line. Which makes sense. If nothing else, Trump is savvy enough to compartmentalize information about criminal activities.
Especially because Cohen was his fixer, and fixers are by nature expendable. It’s their job to take the fall when things go south, which tends to open them up to pressure to flip (e.g., the instant case). So a wise mob boss never tells his fixer more than he needs to know to do the fixin’.
It seems likely to me that Manafort was the fixer for the “pro quo” side of this particular collusive equation, arranging the changes to the Republican platform relating to Ukraine and otherwise coordinating the anticipated sanctions relief. It is still unclear to me whether Manafort, Cambridge Analytica, or other actors provided data or other concrete assistance to the Russians which enhanced their interference on Trump’s behalf. If so, that could constitute another item of value offered by the Russians to the Trump team, though I would hazard a guess that Trump was largely indifferent to their interference on his behalf because he didn’t truly want to win.
Stone may also have served as such as fixer, wittingly or unwittingly, by providing the GRU a channel for maximizing the damage caused by the email releases. The GRU almost certainly wanted to hurt Clinton’s credibility independently of any collusive motivation, such as a conspiracy to bolster Trump’s campaign in exchange for sanctions relief, if only to hinder her ability to check Russia as President. Meaning the email releases weren’t a quid pro quo but rather a conspiracy born out of common interest.
In any case, information was compartmentalized between these participants in the conspiracy. Cohen didn’t know what Manafort was doing who didn’t know what Stone was doing who didn’t know what Bannon was doing, etc. etc. The only man this side of the Kremlin with the complete picture was Trump.
Also worth noting Cohen’s “direct evidence” phrasing and the up-front disclaimer that he would not discuss anything implicating on-going investigations, which may limit his ability to describe technically indirect yet still damning evidence. It’s also worth noting that Cohen is clearly a terrible attorney. His assertion that a hidden, several hundred million dollar payoff by the Russians does not constitute direct evidence of collusion calls into question his ability to assess the value of any particular piece of evidence.
I am a little confused, I thought he wasn’t going to talk publicly about Russia at all, according to the official briefing memo (link within)?
Although it seems impossible to talk about “the President’s business practices”… or pretty much anything in the list of allowed topics… without getting into the Russia connections deeply and repeatedly.
Well, “times change”.
Well that’s explosive.
Dang, page 16…sure enough, we can’t even get Cohen to not use the word collusion.
My general feeling here is that he could be more helpful. This is just piling up more dirt onto the filth that already covers trump that doesn’t seem to matter now that we’ve sort of normalized his behavior. I do like the bit about his overhearing Don Jr, and that even SR thinks he is a moron. But unfortunately, without documented evidence, they’ll use his history of lying against him and say he made that up.
Lies that he did to protect Trump, whom he thought would protect him if he got caught lying. The more the WH leans into Cohen’s lying before Congress, the deeper they dig themselves in.
Also, Trump’s argument that Cohen is a liar (and water is wet) so Trump could not have done these things has a huge problem when Cohen shows up with a check (that they mysteriously found in the last couple of days) with Trump’s signature on it — a check that Trump has repeatedly lied about, by saying he has no idea about it; that he certainly never gave Cohen any such money. Unless Cohen has the magic ability to lie and create Trump’s signature on evidence.
So far it’s only Don Jr.’s signature that is in evidence.
Lanny is giving us a hand job. Mueller better have more than this or Trump walks!
First off, Lanny did not “give” squat here; this is Cohen’s testimony. Second, your repeated bleating that there is no evidence makes me believe you do not even read our work. Your comment is meaningless.Lastly, there is quite a lot in Cohen’s statement. Not sure you actually read that either before issuing your latest hollow pablum,.
Well, my attention span is . . limited. Congenital thing no doubt!
Also, lawyers tend to stick up for each other, why? Lanny, Gooliani, that Zelig guy, they seem to bend truth to suit their patrons wishes. Jack Quinn seems a straight-up guy, on TV anyway (his teeth seem to match his age, a sure sign of good character)!
Hey – the reply button SHE WORKS!!
Rationalization is more important than sex. Ever go a week without a rationalization? (h/t, Michael, Big Chill.)
Your comment would have been better if you’d ended it after the first sentence. The rest of it describes human behavior exhibited by spouses, priests, journalists, members of secret societies and armies, politicians of the same party (except Democrats), CEOs, and presidents.
How old are your teeth?
« I have always tried to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity, and compassion…. »
Thanks, bmaz! This is good…still reading… OMG gets better and better
Everybody should be flipping out about —>page 10: Knew about DNC dump ahead, call from Stone after he talked to Assange
(OK, back to reading…)
I am curious on the actual timing, when Trump was in his office both “days before” the DNC _and_ “within a couple of days” before the DNC dump- was this call, then, during the RNC? If (Stone via) Cohen literally means a “couple of days” pre-dump, that would be 7-20. Maybe 7-20 +/-1 days to cover the ‘within’ a couple of days. As I recall, Trump showed up at the RNC on the 21st pm to accept the nom (and that’s accurate best I can tell from the wiki, but I haven’t fact-checked his whereabouts each day or anything). Lordy I hope there are tweets. Night, y’all.
RNC July 18-21
WL dump July 22
DNC July 25-28
Pasting the relevant paragraph from page 10, QUOTE:
In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Still trying to catch up…but this post from the other day may help:
[quote] For example, it doesn’t reveal that — around the time someone “was directed” to get Stone to find out what WikiLeaks had — Stone and Alex Jones met with Nigel Farage at the RNC, which ultimately led to Farage joining Trump at a campaign event. [end quote but continue reading]
And this is a recent tweet from Marcy:
[quote] Cohen’s detail abt Stone knowing WikiLeaks was gonna drop emails for the DNC is a prime example of the key silences of Mueller. / It’s likely he learned this from Nigel Farage. [end quote]
https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1100812958597304323 9:40 AM – 27 Feb 2019 Cohen: Says either 18th or 19th when Stone said the emails were coming. // Totally consistent with it coming from Farage.
This is all fabulous, thanks for finishing it out, harpie.
It was too late to get into it last night and I didn’t want to misspeak.
I’m loving both the ‘was directed’ and (don’t have the link, but I thought) that Trump also said no talk with Stone re WL (in Trump’s written answers). Trying to catch up now… but testimony’s about to resume.
Adding- found the the link:
Two key answers from Trump to Mueller
President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
One source described the President’s answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection.
EW later quoted Rozen thread refining the timeframe:
emptywheel: “This does seem to suggest the Stone call was on July 19 ”
Laura Rozen: “Trump went to Cleveland July 18, returned to NY later 18th, then returned to Cleveland July 20. h/t @MsEnergyHealer
(start of thread) Laura Rozen: “Get Me Roger Stone doc director @morganpehme tells me he his co-director believes Stone met w Farage in Cleveland July 19 or 20.”
Laura Rozen: “So presumably there could have been a meeting at his office in NY on July 19th”
J: “And it looks like first half of the 20th is a possibility as well ”
Laura Rozen: “yes. just cohen said he thought the meeting where he overheard the stone call was july 18 or 19 “
Just to be clear, I didn’t paste the whole thread (more reasoning/details to be found there).
well, now they have Roger’s phones. If Cohen’s story about the phone call re: Wikileaks can be corroborated by Stone’s phone records, Mueller would want to include that evidence in his report (after eliminating any other potential explanations).
Due to the terabytes of data hauled off from Stone’s various hiding places…this would seem to indicate that Mueller ain’t done quite yet…
Also supported by McCabe’s book: if Mueller’s rolling up the bottom feeders one by one, in typical Mafia/ Rico fashion, it would seem premature for Mueller to quit now because Stone hasn’t squealed yet …
Bullshit. Explain how RICO successfully happens here or stop.
RICO: it’s like weeds in the gravel.
And bmaz is the gavel in the weeds, whackamole-style.
If anyone can achieve full eradication, bmaz can.
Thanks for posting this.
Man, it’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow in Congress. The President’s personal lawyers may have coached Cohen about the Moscow deal before his lying to Congress? That should be interesting…
Frankly, Trump’s personal lawyers from that time might be receiving subpoena’s from the House Oversight Committee if there is any meat on this bone. I note that Cohen did not mention those lawyers by name in his statement… although he did mention Roger Stone elsewhere. And he also mentions Don Jr. and Trump and that June meeting too. So, what’s the thoughts about this and who is he talking about? Need to go back and check the timelines…
He gave it his best shot. Stone and Assange will lie. We’ll see if Mueller has corroborating evidence.
As for the rest, he did a pretty good job of making Trump look mean and tawdry. It wasn’t Prague, but it might make a few of less sociopathic congresspeople wonder why they’re supporting such a creep. They’ve heard him say appalling things. All who know Trump recognized him.
Had to laugh at him hiding his grades/SATs, while calling for Obama’s. Isn’t that Trump to a tee?
Why are the “less sociopathic congresspeople” supporting such a creep? From my experience, a majority of Republicans are corporatists who believe in three things: regular, fat paychecks, annual bonuses, and a robust company that takes care of the first two. They really don’t care who runs such a company, Satan, Beelzebub, Dr. Faustus, Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa; it makes no difference to them. Some end up in Congress, and, as long as the economy’s good and the donor checks arrive on time, who cares? (The best years of my life began when I got our of that corporate world.)
Lordy, I love the irony of Cohen’s testimony happening while Trump’s huddled with Kisliak and Kim. Finally, his own, private Vietnam.
So does Cohen:
The snark, it is strong with this one.
The irony is great. It’s almost as if the universe is snarking Trump. Karmic justice.
Just want to thank you, bmaz, for all of your work here at empty wheel. Really makes a difference to have your comments, opinions and explanations. I don’t comment much (just trying to keep up with the intellectuals and experts here!), but I don’t know what state I would be in without all the work shared here — probably my son would say I would otherwise be stark raving mad.
Ditto! You folks are doing God’s work.
So true…keeping us all sane!
So many thanks
Liar, cheat, tax cheat, conman, racist, draft dodger–don’t we all wish Michael Cohen would say what he really thinks?
The Russians must have been impressed when Don Jr. attended the June 2016 meeting.
In the worst possible way for Trump.
I wonder if Cohen has any information about the Access Hollywood tape? Did he hear about it? Was it consistent with the personal behavior Cohen observed?
He did not write about whether the Trump Tower Moscow plans are within the allowed scope or beyond the firewall.
Whatever else, Cohen appears very focused on the physical safety of this family:
“To my Laura, my Sami, and my Jake, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect you.”
It seems to me that while the headlines coming out of today’s testimony will be about Trump’s racism (CNN) or Cohen’s infidelity (FOX), many of the points seem chosen to inflict maximal personal embarrassment on Trump. There are also several pieces of crimes involving payoffs visible here, and the most useful outcome might be to justify the committee pulling further on those threads.
I would just like to point out that the people who thought the Mueller report was only being held to not embarrass trump in Vietnam (and were snotty about it)… well, you look pretty foolish
Feels like Cohen is trying to prod Congress to start the impeachment process.
He is certainly presenting a model for the GOP members to follow, if they are sickened by their own mindless defending of Trump.
Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 involving Don Jr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and an email setting up the meeting with the subject line, “Dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk – which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father
and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: “The meeting is all set.” I remember Mr. Trump saying, “Ok good…let me know.”
I believe every fucking word in his statement.
Call me crazy, but he is not only John Dean but a latter day saint of Charles Colson.
Thank you Michael
It would appear Mr. Trump just heard about Mr. Cohen’s statement.
The way he writes in the third person is always unnerving. And Cohen’s only other client appears to be Sean Hannity.
The way he writes in the third person is always unnerving.
It is strange. Have the feeling that many of his tweets are written for him.
He just approves they are sent.
Many of them are either written, or re-written, by others, before being sent – they aren’t full of misspellings, weird capitalization, or his narcissism.
I recall this piece from WaPo suggesting it may be a long-held habit:
“A recording obtained by The Washington Post captures what New York reporters and editors who covered Trump’s early career experienced in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s: calls from Trump’s Manhattan office that resulted in conversations with “John Miller” or “John Barron” — public-relations men who sound precisely like Trump himself — who indeed are Trump, masquerading as an unusually helpful and boastful advocate for himself, according to the journalists and several of Trump’s top aides.”
Or maybe it’s something deeper:
“So, illeism is not necessarily a bad thing and can actually provide psychological benefits, when used discreetly and in moderation. Or it could just mean that you are a toddler.”
Testimony should be live on C-SPAN at 10AM.
Unlucky me. We have no television service here.
It’s on the Youtube channel. Just google C-SPAN.
Will be located here when it goes live: https://youtu.be/8rKCWG0VOYw
CNN also covering.
Wednesday (today): 1. Cohen meets congress says Trump is liar, cheat, racist. 2. Trump meets Kim says he will help him become a great world leader.
Already this day needs to be alcoholized . . big time.
Oh boy, Cohen is now bringing more checks – signed by Alan Weisselberg, CFO of Trump Org, and DONALD TRUMP JUNIOR!
My god it’s awful to read. Trump really is a walking sack of human waste.
I’m afraid this testimony will change nothing though. Trump’s supporters already know he’s a racist–that’s a feature, not a bug. It’s already been made clear that he’s a cheat who defrauds his creditors. They don’t care that he conspired with the Russians. So the evidence that he was still working on Trump Tower Moscow, while lying about it, won’t matter. They don’t care about hush money payments to sex workers. I don’t understand WHY they don’t care about these things, but it’s clear by now they don’t. On the key claim that Don Jr. told him about the russian meeting, he has no hard evidence. They will attack his credibility–which is admittedly very low, and the charges Cohen makes will be hand waved away,
I hope what we see today is only a small part of what Mueller got. The good of this, I suppose, is that it sets the stage for a fuller account
There are strong hints all over the testimony today that there’s more being investigated by both Southern District of New York US Attorney and the Special Counsel’s office, etc.
Evidence on paper is always a plus.
Question for you Bmaz: Cohen is speaking today, as I understand it, within some narrow guidelines. Yet I’m seeing quite a few accusations in this opening statement (the Stone phone call for example) without him providing any real proof, such as the paper I just mentioned. Voicing these accusations without proof is unwise. How safe is it to assume that the proof of these accusations lies somewhere else, be it with Mueller or the SDNY, or some other credible source? Would the House and Senate have already seen this proof in their closed door sessions?
My guess is he is not making any significant claims that are out of bounds with what the SCO and SDNY believe. Time will tell.
I wish I had the free-time that this mess demands in order to follow it accurately and give it the thought needed.
I’m assuming that his opening statement is both just that and a list of things he can and cannot talk about. He’s said he knows nothing about Russia, so that is off the table, but he then mentions Stone, which is tied to Russia, so I’m a bit confused there.
Which prompts another question: If the topic of Roger Stone is on the table, can we assume that Mueller/SDNY/etc have cleared that subject? If so, does this mean that Mueller/SDNY/etc have what they need on/from Stone? Or is this going to be a question-by-question thing? I guess I’ll wait and see who sits down next to Cohen with his elbow cocked and ready.
Seems like he opened up another area that may not have been known before this days testimony. The perjury in the Slater lawsuit from 2013. Cohen spent several minutes implicating the President in perjury with regard to his knowledge of Slater in statements made to a court back then.
Thanks bmaz for the link.
Exposure, exposure and more exposure. “Up close and personal” insight into the conspiracy, corruption and obstruction family business.
Will Trump ever beheld accountable?
Depends on your definition of accountable. Currently the record is growing that he was the head of a criminal conspiracy, whatever the legal outcome is. So the balls are in the air for a lot of things here.
Interesting that Cohen says Trump never expected to win the election, which confirms something I’ve always suspected as it helps explain the haphazard, improvised, ad hoc nature of his campaign, the transition process after the election, and his whole administration. It’s as if it was the night of the big Broadway opening and the star falls ill. Trump, as the understudy, has to fill in at the last minute. The overture plays, the curtains open, and there’s the President standing in the middle of the stage in his underwear.
Agreed, I’ve always thought that Trump didn’t think he was going to win. Probably that’s why he was such an easy mark for the Russians.
Part of me thinks that the plan with Manafort, Stone and Flynn, however, was to make sure he won, because the real quid pro quo was sanctions relief for $$$’s. Which puts Paul’s actions on or about August 2 in a real different light. It is certainly plausible that Trump didn’t know that his campaign folks were conspiring with the Russians to make sure he won. He thought that the deal was make a bunch of noise, serve as a persistent foil for Hillary, scream rigged election, and he’d get his payday. It’s certainly possible that this is what the Russians (or their cutouts) were telling him. He was tweeting that line the week before the election.
I wonder if the above is why Mueller may be having a tough time proving the quid pro quo. My guess is that Flynn has the best info regarding the quid (sanctions relief), but he wanted Manafort to provide the quo (where the $$$’s are, how they would be paid, and how the Russians (and others) rigged the election). Manafort has not budged on that it seems.
viget, that makes so much sense that Manafort, Stone and Flynn might have had a deeper agenda than even Trump knew. Or maybe he knew what was being plotted but wasn’t savvy enough to know all the reasons why. It’s like a David Mamet story, starring Trump Sr. as the ultimate chump.
Either way, I certainly hope today marks the beginning of the end, at least for the GOP’s appetite for acting as a block to shield our president from consequences of his actions. Cohen’s opening statement may at least make it much harder for DT to issue pardons. That dwindling chance might even put more pressure on Stone and Manafort to cooperate. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but today has put some optimism in me.
The conduct of team Trump is the best evidence that the two sets of lies are material to the election results. If the true stories were not going to have a measurable impact, they would not have lied about them.
Nixon’s cover up problems, and Bill Clinton’s personal misconduct, affected each man’s approval. Trump has to ward off similar problems simultaneously.
Questions for Mr Cohen
1. Did you go to Prague or near Prague during 2016?
2. Why did you cancel your proposed trip to Russia on June 14, 2016?
3. Why did you represent Elliott Broidy?
4. Is Broidy a beard for Mr Trump?
5. Are there other women that required payoffs to keep quiet?
6. Are any of the harassment or rape claims true?
7. What can you tell us of the relationship between Trump and the KSA, UAE or Qatar?
8. What do you know about the server in Trump Tower that communicated with Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health?
9. Do you believe that Trump has been laundering money for Russians in many of the real estate transactions over the years?
10. What was the Ukraine peace plan?
11. If adoptions were code for sanctions, were there other code words used in Trump world?
12. Is it surprising that Trump could not get a Trump Tower Moscow built in over 30 years of trying?
13. Do you have any knowledge of Trump being an FBI informant?
Here’s what blows my mind. African American kid sells some weed. Compare to “this”??? I am certain to be caught if I go 10 miles over the speed limit. I can’t get over the sheer volume of unethical and illegal behavior. I remember the first client I worked with who did not have to work because he had several million in his bank account from his drug dealing days. I really thought such humans were unicorns. I’ve since met others, but it’s unnerving that an anti social person, can build a good facade, and basically get away with a lifetime of law breaking. That’s the f-ing power behind power and control. I read a stat once, can’t find it now, that said with more wealth comes more law breaking. I would have thought with poverty comes more lawbreaking! But I see now, the wealthy have the power to hide it. The power. At the time, I thought, “no way”. I realize that the rich guy at the top will get away with it so much longer, and will be breaking the law in an insidiously consistent way. As a way of life.
Just mind boggling. Power is truly addictive!!
One could argue that that’s why they’re rich—they were able to get away with it longer and on a much bigger scale. And, of course, it does explain power dynamics. It’s why we have to have good citizen oversight of our police and legal institutions. Without it, money will talk more and more until the sembelence of a fair society as even a dim possibility is completely extinguished. What you see in this hearing is the battle between those who believe that power is something to hold and those who believe in holding it for the betterment of the vast majority of us. Trump doesn’t care, nor do his supporters, about anything more than power and control. Maybe a few of them are fooling themselves but the brightest are onboard with Generalissmo Trump for the power and control that they believe that they themselves will attain.
Well said, and important.
I’m not from the US, but have still been following these developments avidly. And tbh, the most upsetting part of Cohen’s statement to me was when he related DJT’s fake exclusion from serving in Vietnam. I fully support anyone who refused to serve on ideological grounds. But if it is true that your President said he would be ‘stupid’ to go to Vietnam.
I truly hope that every family member of anyone who was unfortunate enough to serve in Vietnam reads that sentence and sees it for what it is. An absolute travesty.
“Stupid to go to Vietnam?” I hate to say it, but he’s not wrong. Utterly insensitive (to his own privilege,) but not wrong.
Just an FYI that this will be a full committee hearing: https://oversight.house.gov/members
Unsure how many Freshpersons are on the committee, but AOC and Katie Hill are. For the most part the fresh persons have shown very good questioning skills in other committees.
[quote] Reupping my and @rgoodlaw’s tip sheet for journalists and committee members on how to ask questions about “collusion.” Let’s nail this thing down today, people [end quote]
[links to:] Stop Using the Word “Collusion”—How to Frame the Critical Question at the Heart of Trump-Russia
It’s not clear from the statement how the check to Cohen endorsed by Tangerine Nightmare represents reimbursement for paying off Stormy.
It’s also not clear how the 2011-2013 financial statements, in isolation, would evidence criminality. They would have to be compared to Trump’s tax returns and other financials to be meaningful.
That is not necessarily true in the least. First, Cohen ious testifying under oath on the subject. Second the government sentencing memos take the general position this is what happened. And, no, it is possible to discern some things from the financials on their own. I really do wish people could get a grip on the difference between hard evidence and proof b beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial.
Mind your condescending tone. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve handled these kinds of cases myself.
So have I. Thanks. But was not trying to be condescending, just factual. Welcome to Emptywheel.
Speaking of being under oath, that does preclude Trump bringing a case against Cohen for libel or anything like that? Just to harass him…?
Correct, testimony is privileged; it is immune to defamation claims.
No, that’s not entirely true.
It is, however, generally the hard presumption:
If Team T proves Cohen is a liar, that’s fine. The lies go back a long time. Most of the things Cohen has done with Trump and for Trump, turn out to be lies, and attempts to conceal.
More damaging, if its a test of credibility, every lie T has ever told becomes impeachment.
It certainly goes directly towards Trump’s judgment and begs the question of how and why he picks certain people to surround himself with.
One thing that puzzles me, at least from Cohen’s statement, is the Trump had no expectation of winning the primary and no expectation on winning the general election. Why did Trump pursue or let others pursue Russian involvement/assistance in the election?
Was it as simple as loose the election and collect $300 million?
You’d have to assume that Drump and Putin were on the same page and had the same goals. Putin may have told Drump that they would help him, but that he wouldn’t win, while at the same time working to make it so. Remember, Trump is the amateur/puppet in this game, while Putin is the seasoned pro.
Just ask yourself which scenario was more advantageous to Putin, Drump as president or a losing candidate, and the rest falls into place. I think Putin’s only mistake is underestimating the incompetence of his puppet.
I do think we might be under-imagining the damage Trump could inflict on Clinton as a losing presidential candidate. The whole “rigged election” “illegals voting” “frauuuuuuuuud” storyline could have been loudly perpetuated by Trump *after* the election as a way to delegitimize Clinton’s presidency, delegitimize her Supreme Court picks, delegitimize all her executive actions, and legitimize a general racism and/or violence on the right. (Think of everything Gore *didn’t* do in 2000… then imagine the most menacing version of all those things.) Republicans held the House and Senate going into 2016, and were guaranteed to keep at least the House for 2017, so no major legislation was going to be passed by a Clinton Administration regardless. About all they had was judicial and executive action, and a losing Trump, with or without a Trump TV network, would have been able to really degrade the faith of 40% of America in its institutions… especially DOJ, the judiciary, the intelligence community, even the security state, all of Russia’s real enemies. Plus Russia really evidently wants to see a race war here, and Trump has no trouble pushing those buttons. A losing Trump and a winning Clinton would have been an interesting nightmare of its own… Trump’s brand of division is a winning play for Putin whether Trump is president or not.
And finally… all of this criminality would have been swept under the rug, because a Clinton DOJ investigating Team Trump’s crimes would have been reeeeeeeeally difficult. Criminal probes of the losing candidate are pretty unheard of, and I kindof think Team Trump was planning on that as they recklessly left all this evidence. (Just a personal thought, I am no expert by no means on nuthin!)
Yeah, if HRC had won, there really might have been blood in the streets thanks to all the propaganda, aggressive rallies and fomentation of hatred on the right. Her presidency would have been kneecapped by instant domestic insurrection and a lasting taint of illegitimacy. Which would have also suited Putin’s aims of weakening the US.
Yes, there was no downside for Putin for helping Trump. Similarly, Trump could see no downside to losing the 2016 election. He was upping his brand value daily as the election progressed while the GOP fell apart and lost its way…such that it is/was.
“…Trump’s brand of division is a winning play for Putin whether Trump is president or not.”
True, but with Drump in office Putin now has what amounts to direct control in order to obtain all the items you listed, whereas with HRC in office he could only influence things indirectly to obtain those same goals. I have no doubt that Putin’s goals were the same regardless of who won the election. Drump winning forced him to skip ahead in his playbook.
The last two years were not the plan, they are the contingency plan.
For one thing, Trump adores the ego trip of being President. He’s the best ever, an A+, haven’t you heard? All of his whining about how the rigged system would never let him win was preemptive sour grapes.
For another, you’d better believe Putin would have worked a Trump loss to his advantage, too. It’s not like Trump would have taken a vow of silence and gone on a meditative pilgrimage to Outer Mongolia.
It was win/win for both of them, even if some wins would have been bigger.
I assume Cohen is the first in a series of witnesses.
If Cohen has credibility problems, how would you role out witnesses to build a credible case that furthers the truth and confidence in US institutions?
Or does this process just divide the American public?
The American public is already divided.
For the GOP to harp on the “liar-personal gain to make money” trope is amazing that they want to take that risk as a strategy because as MC has pointed out, they are acting as he did when he was Trump’s lawyer and their trope is a reflection of their whole effort to shut down any investigation of Trump – The GOP personally gain – and they know it.
“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great.”
“He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election.” — Cohen.
A possible scenario: while the Trump Crime Family is treating the election as a “marketing opportunity,” their Russian (and Middle Eastern?) handlers are busy doing everything they can in order to rig the primaries and general election in Trump’s favor. And often with tacit and overt help from people and organizations affiliated with the GOP. So that when Trump won, he and his said, “Oh shit! Now what?”
Quick! Get Putin on my iPhone!
THAT DOES sound very much like the situation. Putin gave him the orders and the rest is history and the end of the U.S.A. as we knew it.
As to Cohen not knowing if there was collusion, its possible. People like Trump keep things in compartments and he may have trusted Cohn with specific things. He may well have kept Cohen out of the loop for political issues.
“With no further adieu: Here is the prepared testimony.”
Bmaz, as always I appreciate your many astute and informative contributions here.
However, I think the word you were looking for was “ado,” rather than “adieu.”
As in Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing,” the word “ado” implies fuss, bother, or (excessive) activity.
“Adieu,” on the other hand, is the French word for “goodbye.”
I’ve been hearing the French word being used increasingly recently instead of the English word, and just couldn’t take it one more time.
So, without further ado, adieu, and keep up the great work.
Guessing from the comments he did not say he paid off other women for the actions of his slimiest self.
” once a john, always a john. ” Every breath he takes proves what scum he is. I would like to know the truth about the Epstein horror. The world needs to know . His supporters need to know they elected a pedophile.
IT is his worse sin.
This is for Bmaz primarily, at what point, or what are the relevant legal aspects that would bring this to a RICO prosecution?
It won’t be RICO.
OK, but why or why not would this be the case? And, what (why) would RICO add to, detract from, or be (ir)relevant?
Google the Daily Beast for an article by Barbara McQuade called “New Trump Probe Looks a Lot Like a RICO Investigation”
It was published February 8, 2019.
Thanks, I’ll take a look.
What a load of crap. Please point to the specifics and explain how they fit into a “RICO” prosecution. Please, I beg you, take your best shot. Otherwise, shut up about RICO. And I do not give a shit about what McQuade says. Bring it. Make it good. Right here. Right now. I’ll be waiting.
And this applies to “X” above. Tell me how and why you are going to win a RICO criminal prosecution. Again, I will be waiting. You ever been involved in even a civil RICO case, much less a criminal one? If not, where does you opinion come from?
I’m figuring they can get the lot for various kinds of financial fraud, at the least.
(If I were going to try RICO (IANAL), I’d want to go for the GOP-T if the were any way to make it work: they’ve shown way too many signs of racketeering.)
I’m going to give Alan Charbonneau, X and any other folks that magically think RICO is the answer this cite:
Lawsplainer: IT’S NOT RICO, DAMMIT
That is from my friend Ken. Frankly, I think he was a little soft on people screaming “RICO”. But there it is. While I grow very weary of dealing with this nonsense, if you can work your way around it (you cannot), I’ll try to address it further.
>I’m going to give Alan Charbonneau, X >and any other folks that magically think >RICO is the answer this cite:
i don’t have any idea about RICO being any kind of a magical solution. Hey, I’m a retired finance guy – I have no idea if RICO is applicable.
But I did recall reading McQuade’s recent article in which she opined that the SDNY investigation into the inaugural committee sounded, to her, like a RICO investigation.
But thanks for the Lawsplainer link.
This is exactly my question, as IANAL but it seems important to many commenters here and equally scorn inducing from Bmaz, what defines a RICO? I ask out of ignorance and want to understand.
Gosh, Mikey was such a swell guy – right up until Trump corrupted him!
Seriously, his statements about Trump ring true, but trying to paint himself as some kind of choirboy is laughable. The guy has been a two-bit hoodlum all of his life.