Quantcast
Connect with us

Michael Cohen’s deal is an outright catastrophe for Trump — and he knows it

Published

on

- Commentary

Last June, after Michael Cohen pled guilty to a number of federal crimes, including paying hush money on behalf of the president of the United States, he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he wanted to “do the right thing for his family.” I wrote at the time that Cohen seemed to be contemplating becoming the John Dean of the Trump Russia scandal, quoting Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox reporting that people were coming up to Cohen on the street saying he could be a hero if he stepped up and told the truth.

This article was originally published at Salon

No one really expected him to do that at the time. After all, Cohen had famously said he’d take a bullet for Trump. But it turned out that for all his loyalty, it wasn’t reciprocated. Trump had a fit when the feds served their search warrant on Cohen’s office but almost immediately turned on his old friend, behaving as if he hardly knew him. In truth, Trump had treated Cohen like a lackey for years, denying him respect and refusing to bring him into the White House despite Cohen’s obvious wish to be treated like a member of the family.

Looking at years of jail time and the loss of all your property tends to focus the mind; Cohen wised up. He realized that he had been abandoned and would have to save himself. He hired an old Washington hand, Lanny Davis, and threw himself at special counsel Robert Mueller, practically begging him for a chance to tell everything he knew about Donald Trump’s unethical and/or illegal activities. You can imagine it was a heady feeling to have that kind of power over the man he felt had betrayed him.

Mueller played hard to get. Cohen was not offered one of those cooperation agreements given to Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn. Indeed, prosecutors didn’t seem very interested in what he might have to say. There were sporadic reports of Cohen talking to them, but it almost seemed as if they were indulging a desperate man. That was wrong. They were listening and biding their time. On Thursday, in a move that surprised everyone — including the White House which only got a heads-up just before it happened — Cohen appeared in court and pled guilty to lying to Congress about his dealings with Trump and Russia. This is the first time that Trump has been personally connected to the Russia conspiracy in a court of law.

It was first reported back in 2017 that Trump had been negotiating a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the first few months of the Republican primary campaign. Trump signed a letter of intent in October of 2015, but and supposedly the deal fell through that December.  Last spring Buzzfeed further reported that this negotiation had actually continued all the way through June 2016, after Trump had clinched the nomination. Cohen and Trump denied it and it seemed not to make much of an impression on the public, although it probably should have. On Thursday that story was confirmed.

ADVERTISEMENT

It has been reported that the Trump Organization’s partner in the deal, a fascinating character named Felix Sater, who is an old friend of both Trump’s and Cohen, had bragged to Cohen that he could get to Putin. In one email, he told Cohen that “our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it.” That’s an odd statement, to say the least. Until this week that was widely assumed to be just hyperbole between two buddies. As it turns out, Cohen actually dealt directly with the Kremlin, as well as with a former general with Russian military intelligence, even as his boss was cinching the Republicn presidential nomination. Cohen has now testified that he kept Trump and members of the family (assumed to be Don Jr. and Ivanka) apprised throughout the campaign about how the deal was going.

And that’s not all. Buzzfeed reported on Thursday night that the Trumps had planned to offer Vladimir Putin a $50 million “gift” of a penthouse in the new Moscow building. It’s unclear whether Trump was aware of that but you can bet they would never have followed through on such a thing without his OK. As it happens, the entire Moscow deal was abruptly canceled on the day the Democratic National Committee hack was publicly reported, just before Cohen was slated to fly to Russia, reportedly to prepare for Trump to make the same trip after the Republican convention in order to seal the deal.

Trump told the voters that he knew nothing of Russia. He said it over and over again. Yet his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was $20 million in debt to a Russian oligarch and his oldest buddy, Roger Stone, was allegedly plotting with Russian hackers and WikiLeaks to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Trump’s chief foreign policy adviser, Michael Flynn, was on video cozying up to Putin, and was forced to resign after it was reported that he reassured the Russian ambassador that the Trump regime would lift sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over election interference. Two other Trump aides, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, had strange ties and contacts with Russians during the campaign, and one of them is doing time in jail today for lying to the feds about it.

Now we know that Trump’s personal lawyer was secretly negotiating with the Kremlin for a Moscow Trump Tower development, even as the candidate was fawning over Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail like a moonstruck schoolgirl.

ADVERTISEMENT

Whether or not what Trump did was technically illegal is beside the point. Trump lied to the American people about all of it — and the Kremlin knew he lied. It’s easy to imagine that Trump’s good friend Vladimir Putin may have reminded him about that in those private meetings they like so much. It’s not as sexy as some of the other rumored kompromat, but it’s got teeth.

Trump canceled his scheduled meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires this weekend. The White House has said this was because of the recent skirmishes between Russia and Ukraine. More likely Trump just didn’t want to face Putin. All this was supposed to be their little secret.

In Emily Jane Fox’s latest story about Cohen, she describes him getting into his car outside the courthouse on Thursday as a skateboarder rides by and shouts,  “Yo! That’s Michael Cohen. You’re gonna take down Trump!” Maybe if Trump had shown just a little more loyalty to his consigliere he wouldn’t be in this position. No one with Trump’s ethics should ever turn his lawyer into his enemy.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Right now Donald Trump thinks he’s winning — and he might not be wrong

Published

on

Donald Trump thinks he's winning.

For months, Americans have grown accustomed to Trump in his cornered-rat mode, lashing out defensively and ruminating obsessively over the possibility of impeachment. But his tweets this week have been surprisingly cheerful, suffused with the buoyant spirits of a teenage bully who has successfully swirlied a nerd.

First, like an overexcited child on Christmas Eve who unwraps his presents too soon, Trump — overcome with the pleasures of racist sadism — tweeted on Monday night that "ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens."

Continue Reading

2012

Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

Published

on

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Rick Wilson hilariously ridicules the ‘formal flip-flops’ and ‘dress cargo pants’ worn by Florida Trump supporters

Published

on

Republican strategist Rick Wilson mocked the attire of the Donald Trump supporters who were bused in from around Florida for his official campaign kickoff in Orlando.

Wilson, a Florida man himself, joined MSNBC's Brian Williams for post-rally analysis on "The 11th Hour."

Williams played a clip of a Trump supporter with sleeveless Trump T-shirt identifying her as a "proud member of the basket of deplorables" explaining why she'll vote to re-elect the president in 2020.

"The main reason? Because he’s one of the best presidents we’ve had for a very long time," the woman argued. "Very long time."

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link