Joe Scarborough said yesterday there was “such a culture of corruption there. Somebody yesterday said that (Chris) Collins had to feel picked on when you had Wilbur Ross, in their words, doing insider trading at a pace the guy thought he only had two weeks to live” and reminded viewers “the fish rots from the head.”
“I think Joe hit the nail on the head when he called it a culture of corruption,” Matt Miller said.
“Democrats have the ability now to make this case that there is this culture that starts at the top with Donald Trump and starts with his family members and kind of pervasive throughout his administration and also the Treasury secretary on government planes, under inspector general investigations and now moving it over to a member of congress.
“The problem for other members of Congress — this is not to say every Republican member of Congress is corrupt, of course not. But everyone is allowing this to go unchecked. No one in a leadership position, no one on the Hill is saying we need to stop it and investigate it and shine some sunlight.
“That becomes a political vulnerability for all of them. I think one of the interesting subplots of this Chris Collins thing, he is the second person to literally have committed a crime on the White House grounds. They made that call while he was standing on the White House grounds. It’s the same place where Mike Flynn, in his White House office, sat down with the FBI and lied to the FBI.
“You could make the case that the White House compound now has the highest crime rate, really, of any neighborhood in Washington.”
Four additional Republican congressmen are now implicated in Chris Collins' recent charges-Mike Conaway (TX), Doug Lamborn (CO), Billy Long (MO), and Markwayne Mullin (OK) purchased the stock in Jan 2017 and two are on a Health subcommittee w/ Collins. https://t.co/pQwplsfYPh
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) August 8, 2018
Tom Price will probably be next, since he did the same thing. Remember, Collins is already worth $600 million:
The corruption in Washington is astounding. Yet another reason as a prosecutor I want to go to Congress. We need to clean up the filth in DC. https://t.co/WzzGG5bjAT
— Andrew Janz (@JanzAndrew) August 8, 2018
BREAKING: GOP Rep Chris Collins was arrested by the FBI this morning for insider trading, along with his son and the father of his son’s fiancée. Collins is one of Trump’s biggest supporters and was Trump’s first endorsement. The FBI isn’t afraid to arrest Reps. Cough*Nunes*Cough
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) August 8, 2018
Now why do you think Chris Collins would call for an end to the Mueller investigation? https://t.co/AX7eBfcOrN
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) August 8, 2018
GOP Rep. Chris Collins charged with insider trading today. Here him accusing Democrats of corruption. pic.twitter.com/q90RdmLGgO
— Rogue Melania🍸🍸🍸 (@RogueFirstLady) August 8, 2018
"By lying to the FBI, they compounded their insider trading crime," said US Attorney Geoffrey Berman of Chris Collins and his family, calling it a "criminal coverup"
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) August 8, 2018
Gotta love Chris Collins's son alerting his friend about Innate's imminent collapse so he could implicate his buddy in an insider trading scheme over [checks indictment] $700. pic.twitter.com/LO9ajCrGB1
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) August 8, 2018
By the way, Rep. Chris Collins’s chief of staff had between $1 million and $5 million of Innate stock.
Collins cared enough about his son to alert him about the failed clinical trial, but not his chief.
That’s cold, bruh. pic.twitter.com/45RYEyWM8f
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) August 8, 2018
Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”
O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.
More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.
Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”
Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman declined to be interviewed and fielded questions through a crisis-communications consultant. In a statement, they downplayed their influence, insisting that nobody is obligated to act on their counsel. “At all times, we offered our help and advice on a voluntary basis, seeking nothing at all in return,” they said. “While we were always willing to share our thoughts, we did not make or implement any type of policy, possess any authority over agency decisions, or direct government officials to take any actions… To the extent anyone thought our role was anything other than that, we don’t believe it was the result of anything we said or did.”
VA spokesman Curt Cashour did not answer specific questions but said a “broad range of input from individuals both inside and outside VA has helped us immensely over the last year and a half.” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters also did not answer specific questions and said Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz “have no direct influence over the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
But hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials tell a different story — of a previously unknown triumvirate that hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd spoke with VA officials daily, the documents show, reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions. They prodded the VA to start new programs, and officials travelled to Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense to hear their views. “Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring,” a former administration official said.
If the bureaucracy resists the trio’s wishes, Perlmutter has a powerful ally: The President of the United States. Trump and Perlmutter regularly talk on the phone and dine together when the president visits Mar-a-Lago. “On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” another former official said. Former administration officials say that VA leaders who were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago Crowd were pushed out or passed over. Included, those officials say, were the secretary (whose ethical lapses also played a role), deputy secretary, chief of staff, acting under secretary for health, deputy under secretary for health, chief information officer, and the director of electronic health records modernization.
At times, Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman have created headaches for VA officials because of their failure to follow government rules and processes. In other cases, they used their influence in ways that could benefit their private interests. They say they never sought or received any financial gain for their advice to the VA.
The arrangement is without parallel in modern presidential history. The Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 provides a mechanism for agencies to consult panels of outside advisers, but such committees are subject to cost controls, public disclosure and government oversight. Other presidents have relied on unofficial “kitchen cabinets,” but never before have outside advisers been so specifically assigned to one agency. During the transition, Trump handed out advisory roles to severalrichassociates, but they’ve all since faded away. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd, however, has deepened its involvement in the VA.
Perlmutter, 75, is painstakingly private — he reportedly wore a glasses-and-mustache disguise to the 2008 premiere of “Iron Man.” One of the few public photographs of him was snapped on Dec. 28, 2016, through a window at Mar-a-Lago. Trump glares warily at the camera. Behind him, Perlmutter smiles knowingly, wearing sunglasses at night.
When Trump asked him for help putting a government together, Perlmutter offered to be an outside adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. Having fought for his native Israel in the 1967 war before he moved to the U.S. and became a citizen, Perlmutter chose veterans as his focus.
Perlmutter enlisted the assistance of his friends Sherman and Moskowitz. Moskowitz, 70, specializes in knowing the world’s top medical expert for any ailment and arranging appointments for clients. He has connections at the country’s top medical centers. Sherman, 63, has houses in West Palm Beach and suburban Baltimore and an office in Washington with the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal. His legal work focuses on financial fraud, white collar investigations and damages disputes. His professional biography lists experience in eight industries, none of them related to health care or veterans.
Moskowitz and Sherman helped Perlmutter convene a council of health care executives on the day of the Trump-Perlmutter photograph, Dec. 28, 2016. Offering more private healthcare to vets was a signature promise of Trump’s campaign, but at that point he hadn’t decided who should lead an effort that would reverse the VA’s longstanding practices.
A new name surfaced in that meeting: David Shulkin, who’d led the VA’s health care division since 2015. Perlmutter then recommended Shulkin to Trump, according to a person familiar with his thinking. (Shulkin did not respond to requests for comment.)
Once nominated, Shulkin flew to Mar-a-Lago in early February 2017 to meet with Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz. In a follow-up email a few days later, Moskowitz elaborated on the terms of their relationship. “We do not need to meet in person monthly, but meet face to face only when necessary,” he wrote. “We will set up phone conference calls at a convenient time.”
Shulkin responded diplomatically. “I know how busy all of you are and having you be there in person, and so present, was truly a gift,” he wrote. “I found the time we spent, the focus that came out of our discussions, and the time we had with the President very meaningful.”
It wasn’t long before the Mar-a-Lago Crowd wore out their welcome with Shulkin. They advised him on how to do his job even though they sometimes seemed to lack a basic understanding of it. Just after their first meeting, Moskowitz emailed Shulkin again to say, “Congratulations i[t] was unanimous.” Shulkin corrected him: “Bruce- this was not the confirmation vote- it was a committee vote- we still need a floor vote.”
Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman acted like board members pounding a CEO to turn around a struggling company, a former administration official said. In email after email, officials sought approval from the trio: for an agenda Shulkin was about to present to Trump for a research effort on suicide prevention and for a plan to recruit experts from academic medical centers. “Everything needs to be run by them,” the first former official said, recalling the process. “They view themselves as making the decisions.”
The Mar-a-Lago Crowd bombarded VA officials with demands, many of them inapt or unhelpful. On phone calls with VA officials, Perlmutter would bark at them to move faster, having no patience for bureaucratic explanations about why something has to be done a certain way or take a certain amount of time, former officials said. He issued orders in a thick, Israeli-accented English that can be hard to understand.
In one instance, Perlmutter alerted Shulkin to what he called “another real-life example of the issues our great veterans are suffering with when trying to work with the VA.” The example came from Karen Donnelly, a real estate agent in Palm Beach who manages the tennis courts in the luxury community where Perlmutter lives. Donnelly’s son was having trouble accessing his military medical records. After a month of dead ends, Donnelly said she saw Perlmutter on the tennis court and, knowing his connection to Trump, asked him for help. Perlmutter told her to email him the story because he’s “trying to straighten things out” at the VA, she recalled. (Donnelly separately touched off a nasty legal dispute between Perlmutter and a neighbor, Canadian businessman Harold Peerenboom, who objected to her management of the tennis courts. In a lawsuit, Peerenboom accused Perlmutter of mounting a vicious hate mail campaign against him, which Perlmutter’s lawyer denied.)
Perlmutter forwarded Donnelly’s email to Shulkin, Moskowitz and Sherman. “I know we are making very good progress, but this is an excellent reminder that we are also still very far away from achieving our goals,” Perlmutter wrote.
Shulkin had to explain that they were looking in the wrong place: Since the problem was with military service records, it lay with the Defense Department, not the VA.
Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman defended their intervention, saying, “These were the types of stories of agency dysfunction and individual suffering that drove us to offer our volunteer experience in the first place — veterans who had been left behind by their government. These individual cases helped raise broader issues for government officials in a position to make changes, sometimes leading to assistance for one veteran, sometimes to broader reforms within the system.”
Right after meeting Shulkin, Moskowitz connected him with his friend Michael Zinner, director of the Miami Cancer Institute and a member of the American College of Surgeons’ board of regents. (Zinner declined to comment.) The conversation led to a plan for the American College of Surgeons to evaluate the surgery programs at several VA hospitals. The plan came very close to a formal announcement and contract, internal emails show, but stalled after Shulkin was fired, according to the organization’s director, David Hoyt.
Besides advocating for friends’ interests, some of the Mar-a-Lago Crowd’s interventions served their own purposes. Starting in February 2017, Perlmutter convened a series of conference calls with executives at Johnson & Johnson, leading to the development of a public awareness campaign about veteran suicide. They planned to promote the campaign by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange around the time of Veterans Day.
The event also turned into a promotional opportunity for Perlmutter’s company. Executives from Marvel and its parent company, Disney, joined Johnson & Johnson as sponsors of the Veterans Day event at the stock exchange. Shulkin rang the closing bell standing near a preening and flexing Captain America, with Spider-Man waving from the trading pit, and Marvel swag distributed to some of the attendees. “Generally the VA secretary or defense secretary don’t shill for companies,” the leader of a veterans advocacy group said.
The VA was aware of the ethical questions this event raised because of Shulkin’s relationship with Perlmutter. An aide to Shulkin sought ethics advice from the agency’s lawyers about the appearance. In an email, the aide noted, “the Secretary is friends with the President of Marvel Comics, Mr. Ike Perlmutter, but he will not be in attendance.” The VA redacted the lawyer’s answer, and the agency’s spokesman would not say whether the ethics official approved Shulkin’s participation in the event.
Perlmutter did not answer specific questions about this episode. His joint statement with Moskowitz and Sherman said, “None of us has gained any financial benefit from this volunteer effort, nor was that ever a consideration for us.”
Perlmutter also facilitated a series of conference calls with senior executives from Apple. VA officials were excited about working with the company, but it wasn’t immediately obvious what they had to collaborate on.
As it turned out, Moskowitz wanted Apple and the VA to develop an app for veterans to find nearby medical services. Who did he bring in to advise them on the project? His son, Aaron, who had built a similar app. The proposal made Apple and VA officials uncomfortable, according to two people familiar with the matter, but Moskowitz’s clout kept it alive for months. The VA finally killed the project because Moskowitz was the only one who supported it.
Moskowitz, in the joint statement, defended his son’s involvement, calling him a “technical expert” who participated in a single phone call alongside others. “Any development efforts, had they occurred, would not have involved Aaron or any of us. There was no product of Dr. Moskowitz’s or Aaron’s that was promoted or recommended in any way during the call,” the trio said. “Again, none of us, including Aaron, stood to receive any financial benefit from the matters discussed during the conversation — and any claims to the contrary are factually incorrect.”
Moskowitz had more success pushing a different pet cause. He has spent years trying to start a national registry for medical devices, allowing patients to be notified of product recalls. Moskowitz set up the Biomedical Research and Education Foundation to encourage medical institutions to keep track of devices for their patients to address what he views as a dangerous hole in oversight across the medical profession. At one point, the foundation built a registry to collect data from doctors and patients. Moskowitz chaired the board, and Perlmutter’s wife was also a member. Moskowitz’s son earned $60,000 a year as the executive director, according to tax disclosures.
Moskowitz pushed the VA to pick up where he left off. He joined officials on weekly 7:30 a.m. conference calls in which officals discussed organizing a summit of experts on device registries and making a public commitment to creating one at the VA. In an email to Shulkin, the VA official in charge of the project referred to it as the “Bruce Moskowitz efforts.”
When the summit arrived, on June 4, Moskowitz and his son did not attend. It’s not clear what role they will have in setting up the VA’s registry going forward — their foundation has shut down, according to its website, and Moskowitz’s son said he’s no longer involved. But in his opening remarks at the summit, Peter O’Rourke, then the acting secretary, offered a special thanks to “Dr. Bruce Moskowitz and Aaron Moskowitz of the Biomedical Research and Education Foundation” as “driving forces” behind it.
Over the course of 2017, there was growing tension within the Trump administration about how much the VA should rely on private medical care. During the campaign, Trump championed letting veterans see any doctor they choose, inside or outside the VA system. But Shulkin warned that such an approach was likely to result in poorer care at a higher cost. His preferred solution was integrating government-run VA care with a network of private providers.
In September 2017, the Mar-a-Lago Crowd weighed in on the side of expanding the use of the private sector. “We think that some of the VA hospitals are delivering some specialty healthcare when they shouldn’t and when referrals to private facilities or other VA centers would be a better option,” Perlmutter wrote in an email to Shulkin and other officials. “Our solution is to make use of academic medical centers and medical trade groups, both of whom have offered to send review teams to the VA hospitals to help this effort.”
In other words, they proposed inviting private health care executives to tell the VA which services they should outsource to private providers like themselves. It was precisely the kind of fox-in-the-henhouse scenario that the VA’s defenders had warned against for years. Shulkin delicately tried to hold off Perlmutter’s proposal, saying the VA was already developing an in-house method of comparing its services to the private sector.
Shulkin also clashed with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd over how to improve the VA’s electronic record-keeping software (the one episode involving the trio that has previously surfaced, in a report by Politico). The contract, with a company called Cerner, would cost more than $10 billion and take a decade to implement. But Moskowitz had used a different Cerner product and didn’t like it. He complained that the software didn’t offer voice recognition, even though newer versions of Cerner’s product do. For months, the Mar-a-Lago Crowd pressured Shulkin to put the contract through additional vetting.
On Feb. 27, 2018, Shulkin flew to Mar-a-Lago — not to see Trump, who was back in Washington, but to meet with Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman. The trip was supposed to close the deal on the Cerner contract, according to two people familiar with the meeting. By then, Shulkin’s stature had been badly diminished by an ethics scandal, and he expected he didn’t have much longer in the job, but he wanted to finish the Cerner deal first.
Shulkin brought O’Rourke, an ex-Trump campaign aide who stepped in as chief of staff after the ethics scandal led to the departure of Shulkin’s top aide. O’Rourke took the opportunity to ally himself with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd. “It was an honor to meet you all yesterday,” he wrote in a follow-up email. “I want to ensure that you have my VA and personal contact information.” He then provided his personal cell phone number and email address. (Using personal email to conduct government business can flout federal records laws, as President Trump and his allies relentlessly noted in their attacks on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.) “Thank you for your support of the President, the VA, and me,” O’Rourke wrote. (O’Rourke didn’t answer requests for comment.)
Perlmutter welcomed the overture. “I feel confident that you will be a terrific asset moving forward to get things accomplished,” he replied.
The Mar-a-Lago Crowd grew frustrated with Shulkin, feeling like he wasn’t listening to them, and Perlmutter came to regret recommending Shulkin to Trump in the first place, according to people familiar with his thinking. That aligned them with political appointees in the VA and the White House who started to view Shulkin as out of step with the president’s agenda.
One of these officials, senior adviser Camilo Sandoval, presented himself as Perlmutter’s eyes and ears within the agency, two former officials said. For instance, in an email obtained by ProPublica, Sandoval kept tabs on the Apple project and reported back to Moskowitz and Sherman. “I will update the tracker, and please do let me know if this helps answers [sic] questions around Apple’s efforts or if additional clarification is required,” he wrote. Sandoval, who didn’t answer requests for comment, knew Perlmutter because he worked on the campaign with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is also close with Perlmutter.
In December, White House adviser Jake Leinenkugel sent Sandoval a memo outlining a plan to upend the department’s leadership. Leinenkugel would not say who asked him to write the memo. But it was clearly not intended for Sandoval alone, since it refers to him in the third person. Three people familiar with the situation said the memo was sent to Sandoval as a channel to Perlmutter. The spokeswoman for Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz said they didn’t know about the memo.
The memo recommended easing Shulkin out and relying on Perlmutter for help replacing him. “Put [Shulkin] on notice to exit after major legislation and key POTUS VA initiatives in place,” the memo said. “Utilize outside team (Ike).” Although several factors contributed to Shulkin’s downfall, including the ethics scandal and differences with the White House over legislation on buying private health care, three former officials said it was his friction with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd over the Cerner contract that ultimately did him in.
Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman dispute that contention. “Any decisions of the agency or the president,” they noted in their statement, “as well as the timing of any agency decisions, were independent of our contacts with the VA.”
But it wasn’t just Shulkin — all the officials that the Leinenkugel memo singled out for removal are now gone, replaced with allies of Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz. The memo suggested that Sandoval take charge of the Office of Information and Technology, overseeing the implementation of the Cerner contract; he got the job in April. The memo proposed removing Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman; he left in June, and the post hasn’t been filled. The memo floated Richard Stone for under secretary for health; he got the job on an acting basis in July. Leinenkugel himself took charge of a commission on mental health (the same topic Moskowitz had emailed O’Rourke about). O’Rourke, having hit it off with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd, became acting secretary in May.
Trump initially nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace Shulkin, with Pentagon official Robert Wilkie filling in on a temporary basis. On Wilkie’s first day at the VA, Sherman was waiting for him in his office, according to a calendar record.
Within a few weeks, Wilkie made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago. He tacked it onto a trip to his native North Carolina, and O’Rourke caught up with him in Palm Beach. They visited a VA hospital and rehab facility, then headed to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman, according to agency records.
The Mar-a-Lago Crowd gave Wilkie and O’Rourke rave reviews. “I am sure that I speak for the group, that both you and Peter astounded all of us on how quickly and accurately you assessed the key problems and more importantly the solutions that will be needed to finally move the VA in the right direction,” Moskowitz told Wilkie in a follow-up email.
Perlmutter was similarly thrilled with the new regime. “For the first time in 1½ years we feel everyone is on the same page. Everybody ‘gets it,’” he said in an email. “Again, please know we are available and want to help any possible way 24/7.”
Wilkie replied that the honor was his. “Thank you again for taking time to see me,” he wrote.
Soon after, Jackson’s nomination imploded over allegations of misconduct as White House physician. (Jackson denied the allegations, and they’re still being investigated.) At that point, Perlmutter’s endorsement cleared the way for Trump to nominate Wilkie.
Wilkie, who was sworn in on July 30, now faces a choice between asserting his own authority over the VA or taking cues from the Mar-a-Lago Crowd. Wilkie reportedly wants to sideline O’Rourke and Sandoval and restock the agency leadership with his own people. But people familiar with the situation said the Mar-a-Lago Crowd’s allies are pushing back on Wilkie’s efforts to rein them in. As his predecessor learned the hard way, anyone who crosses the Mar-a-Lago Crowd does so at his own risk.
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) July 29, 2018
WATCH: "We heard from top congressional leaders who met with him this past week that they weren't going to have this fight," @edokeefe tells @margbrennan of the president's shutdown threat https://t.co/cqANqDKibS pic.twitter.com/amIpGNLBkO
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 29, 2018
A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump’s latest effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments.
The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., will allow the plaintiffs in the case — the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia — to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated the Constitution’s little-used emoluments clause.
The plaintiffs now want to interview Trump Organization employees and search company records to determine which foreign countries have spent money at Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington
Are they really that afraid of him? I guess so:
Companies buying back their own shares is the only thing keeping the stock market afloat right now.
Companies set a record for share buybacks in the second quarter, while investors set their own record for selling stock-based funds in June.
On the corporate side, officials are finding that repurchases are the best use for investor cash now, while individual investors are fearful that a trade war could offset strong economic momentum this year.
All in all, the corporate buying has won out, keeping the S&P 500 slightly positive for the year.
They ignore the law and Republicans won’t stop them:
@tedbarrettcnn spots Flood entering the Senate for the Gang of Eight meeting. The WH attorney dealing with Russia probe attended both briefings today for at least part of the time, despite the WH saying this week no WH official would attend pic.twitter.com/4RUbGg7E6r
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 24, 2018
Breaking News: Reports are that Emmett Flood, Trump's atty, went to DOJ meeting with Republicans about informant. Not clear yet how much of the meeting he was allowed to participate in. Completely inappropriate for him being there even a minute.
— Jill Wine-Banks (@JillWineBanks) May 24, 2018
Time to open ANOTHER Special counsel on unauthorized disclosure of classified information and Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. Flood should have known better. ACLU should file to Disbar him. https://t.co/hVLgN8gRAz
— Malcolm USS John McCain Nance (@MalcolmNance) May 24, 2018
The @WhiteHouse said this has to do with congressional requests to @TheJusticeDept. Having Emmet Flood, the lawyer for @realDonaldTrump, in the meeting is highly inappropriate. https://t.co/z3gM3eR7z6
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 24, 2018
So it looks like that Essential Consulting LLC set up by Michael Cohen to pay Stormy Daniels was also used to collect large sums for influence peddling — excuse me, consulting fees — from corporations with pending government cases. Hmm. I wonder if there’s a connection? Ha ha, just kidding! This was out-and-out graft.
I think this is your answer right here >>> https://t.co/DT453FRCZL
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 9, 2018
— Emily Flitter (@FlitterOnFraud) May 8, 2018
— Adrienne LaFrance (@AdrienneLaF) May 8, 2018
Just received a statement from an anti-money laundering expert regarding the Vekselberg/Cohen payments: "Cohen's exposure is DEFCON 1 based on the alleged bank fraud violations and receiving funds from $500,000 from Viktor Vekselberg, a now sanctioned individual."
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) May 8, 2018
— 🇺🇸TXSnark7🇺🇸 (@TXsnark7) May 8, 2018
From the Avenatti document:
"Hungary: Mr. Cohen received two wire transfers totaling $10,980 from KOBE EVA KERESKEDELMI to an account in Singapore…."
"The remittances reference an invoice and a 'Ms. Nikolett Vadja'."
Hm. Nikolett Vadja?
Google Translate, here to help: pic.twitter.com/zOwOe5cU6l
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) May 8, 2018
Is that the sound of Michael Cohen flipping?
For sexual harassment suits. Are they saying they can’t control themselves?