Trump today canceled, via a tweet, his planned G20 meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Read the rest
It's getting hot in here.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, plead guilty today to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia. Cohen has secured a new plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. Read the rest
The Wall Street Journal [paywall] just published a major expose revealing "several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women." The Wall Street Journal interviewed "three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents." Trump has lied on several previous occasions about the payoffs, saying he played no role in them.
The article reports that Trump met with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and the two struck a deal to pay hush money to women who wanted to publicize their alleged sexual affairs with Trump.
Less than a year later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pecker to quash the story of a former Playboy model who said they’d had an affair. Mr. Pecker’s company soon paid $150,000 to the model, Karen McDougal, to keep her from speaking publicly about it. Mr. Trump later thanked Mr. Pecker for the assistance.
The Wall Street Journal obtained an audio recording of a conversation between Trump and his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, which reveals Trump's sense of loyalty towards people who go out of their way to help him:
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As Mr. Cohen explained his plans, Mr. Trump spoke over him: “So, what are we gonna pay… One-fifty?” Mr. Trump asked. Mr. Cohen paused and replied, “Yes.”
Mr. Cohen said he would be getting “all the stuff,” meaning the other files on Mr. Trump he had been seeking. They discussed the uncertainty about what might become of the files if Mr.
Without the slightest sense of irony or self-awareness, the National Enquirer gives away the secret to its journalistic excellence in this week’s remarkable story under the headline: “How To Lie & Get Away With It.”
In an article that could easily have been penned by Enquirer fan Donald Trump, the rag proclaims: “Face it – honesty isn’t always the best policy!”
Its advice, borne out by decades of experience:
• "Sprinkle in some truth” to make lies “more plausible.”
• “Keep it simple” without too many facts to complicate matters.
• “Play to your audience” by capitalizing on their knowledge and fears.
• “Don’t show remorse or guilt.”
• “Be prepared” and plan your lie in advance, not on the fly.
Following these sterling precepts, the Enquirer tells us that “Evil ISIS Plots Kidnap Horror” for pregnant Duchess of Sussex Meghan, with terrorist plans to cut her “unborn child from her womb!” The “plot” is nothing more than online postings on “terrorist chat forums” – presumably where terrorists gather online to discuss their favorite Star Trek episodes and debate which comic book heroes deserve their own movies. These chat forums allegedly include a photo of Meghan "with a blood red ‘X’ over her stomach.” And we all know what a red “X” means: Cut the baby out! What else could it possibly mean?
The Enquirer piles on to the young Royals with its story “Harry & Meghan Cheat Death in Sabotaged Jet!” Their private jet was struck by lightning last week, and the rag claims: “Terrorists planted device to attract lightning bolts & blow up plane.” Read the rest
Not a good day for the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Read the rest
Why does the Russian embassy want to visit accused hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin so very badly, lawyers ask. Good question. Read the rest
Ken "Popehat" White, a former US Attorney turned criminal defense attorney, notes that the Republican outrage about "flipped" prosecution witnesses is awfully self-serving (given that Trump's bagman Michael Cohen and hushup capo David Pecker have both seemingly turned state's evidence), they have a point, as countless black and brown and poor defendants have discovered in their journey through the American justice system.
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David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer and a 'friend' of Donald Trump, has been granted immunity from prosecution. The Wall Street Journal:
David Pecker, the chief executive of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen and Donald Trump in the criminal investigation into hush-money payments for two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.
In exchange for immunity, Mr. Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc. and a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, has met with prosecutors and shared details about payments Mr. Cohen arranged.
The immunity deal could hold significant consequences for Trump, as Pecker could have as much damaging information about the president as anyone in Trump's orbit.
He and Pecker have been friends since the 1990s, and have appear to remain so after Trump became president — the media mogul even visited the White House last year, according to The New York Times
This is the guy who bought the stories from Trump's mistresses under the false pretext of publishing them as tabloid exposés, thereby fooling them into legal agreements that forbade them from telling anyone else about the relationships. Read the rest
When Lanny Davis announced the launch of the Michael Cohen Truth Fund campaign through GoFundMe, he should have been laughed off of television. Appearing on the Today Show, Davis said his client "needs help from the American people to tell the truth." At that moment, Lanny became less like a lawyer and more like a televangelist. "We can save this nation from the firey pits of hell with the truth that only our dear brother Michael can deliver! Pick up the phone now and give in the name of the Lord Almighty!" Oh, and the cost of that truth? $500,000.
1 in 3 campaigns on GoFundMe are to cover medical expenses. People desperately looking for money to cover a surgery, pay for chemo costs, get a wheelchair for their kid. Money can be raised via GoFundMe for virtually anything. But there's something especially revolting about using it to help the man who once famously said he take a bullet for the President whose shitty health care policies are what has driven a lot of those desperate people to GoFund Me in the first place.
Less than 24 hours after its launch, the Michael Cohen Truth Fund has raised over $133,000. When I saw that amount, I was horrified. This is money that'll go to a man who purchased a $6.7 million dollar apartment FOUR months ago. A man who spent nearly a decade as Donald Trump's personal Ray Donovan. A man who didn't give a flying rat's ass about telling the truth until he realized he was looking at a lengthy prison sentence. Read the rest
"He did nothing wrong," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday about the secret payments Donald Trump made to two women during the 2016 Election via his attorney, who just became a convicted felon. Read the rest
"Michael Cohen knows information that would be of interest to the special counsel regarding both knowledge about a conspiracy to corrupt American democracy by the Russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the FBI," said Lanny Davis, the attorney representing Cohen told MSNBC. Watch the video here.
Yesterday Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and bank fraud. Read the rest
In Trump's first statement since his former lawyer pleaded guilty to eight crimes, explicitly implicating the president in at least one of them, he recommends not hiring the man.
"If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!" he wrote at his page on the popular microblogging service "Twitter".
This is a trivialize everything as kayfabe strategy and it's the best one he's got. But he'll break it in minutes and start ranting anyway. Read the rest
President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen surrendered to the FBI today, and admitted to violating campaign finance laws in relation to payments made to porn performer Stormy Daniels on Donald Trump's orders. Read the rest
As the Cohen and Manafort news blows up, we've got Jackhammer Jill watching the Orange Menace's twitter feed like a hawk. When the blowhard begins to melt down, we'll post tweets and analysis here.
Earlier this afternoon, Michael Cohen, in a courtroom in New York, under oath, declared that President Donald Trump “directed” him to commit a federal crime. Within an hour, Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 felony charges.
When Donald Trump landed in West Virginia, he told press as he exited AF1 that he felt sorry for Paul Manafort, and believed the (partly) guilty verdict Manafort received was “sad.”
It's sad things have to “end this way,” said Trump, referring to Manafort's life and career. One imagines Manafort wouldn't appreciate hearing this as much as he'd appreciate a presidential pardon.
Trump waxed on about Manafort:
“He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for many people, it had nothing to do with Russian collusion, they continue the witch hunt.”
He said nothing about Michael Cohen.
But we're pretty sure a storm is a'coming!
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A possible plea deal in the fraud case of Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen plea deal may come together as soon as today, NBC reports. Read the rest