We haven’t seen anything like this since Watergate:
Full audio: Presidential candidate Trump is heard on tape discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier, according to the audio recording "https://t.co/YmC0QuDqTx pic.twitter.com/fBbq7r1Lq9
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) July 25, 2018
During the presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid’s articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication, according to three people with knowledge of the matter — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company.
Although the company strongly denies ever sharing such material before publication, these three individuals say the sharing of material continued after Trump took office.
“Since Trump’s become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine,” said one of the people with knowledge of the practice.
During the campaign, “if it was a story specifically about Trump, then it was sent over to Michael, and as long as there were no objections from him, the story could be published,” this person added.
Looks like Michael Cohen is going to cooperate:
As attorneys for Michael Cohen rush to meet Judge Kimba Wood’s Friday deadline to complete a privilege review of over 3.7 million documents seized in the April 9 raids of Cohen’s New York properties and law office, a source representing this matter has disclosed to ABC News that the law firm handling the case for Cohen is not expected to represent him going forward.
To date, Cohen has been represented by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of the Washington and New York firm, McDermott, Will & Emery LLP.
No replacement counsel has been identified as of this time.
Cohen, now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the White House, family members, staffers and counsels hard.
Person close to Cohen says he hasn’t flipped yet, “he’s sending up a smoke signal to Trump: I need help.”
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) June 13, 2018
Right now @KatyTurNBC reporting SDNY has told Michael Cohen’s former lawyers they are right now preparing paperwork for arrest and it is imminent.
— G Michael (@UsVsThemRedux) June 13, 2018
However fucked up the various people around Trump are, I can’t believe that Michael Cohen doesn’t understand that Trump doesn’t care about anybody by himself. The sooner he gets arrested and cooperates, the better it will be for everyone:
NEW: Michael Cohen has told friends that he expects to be arrested any day now, according to a source close to Trump’s former lawyer https://t.co/VJEQgQy2Qe
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) June 12, 2018
Curt Weldon (left) was the congressman in the county I covered as a journalist, back in the 1980s. Even then, I heard stories about him taking payoffs from a Russian oil company, but could never prove it. Someone tipped me off months ago that Dianne Feinstein was requesting any correspondence with or related to Weldon from Michael Cohen, Trump’s erstwhile lawyer.
I figured he was going to pop up in this investigation sooner or later. From The Atlantic:
Weldon, who has known Artemenko, the Ukrainian politician, for more than a decade, was furious that The New York Times had learned about the meeting, according to a person who spoke with him at a separate gathering last March, two weeks after the story in the Times had been published. “We were so close,” Weldon complained, this source recalled. Then Weldon dropped a bombshell: “He said [he and Artemenko] had already secured funding for the promotion of the plan from Viktor Vekselberg’s fund in New York City.”
Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch who attended Trump’s inauguration, was questioned by Mueller’s team late last year, according to The New York Times. The peace plan would have benefited Vekselberg: He has been doing business in the United States since at least 1990, when he co-founded the conglomerate Renova Group as a joint U.S.–Russian venture. Attempts to reach Vekselberg through his business were unsuccessful.
The New York City fund Weldon was allegedly referring to was Columbus Nova, the lone U.S. investment arm of Renova, according to the source who spoke to Weldon in March. Months later, given recent developments in the Russia Probe, the detail about Columbus Nova is shocking. When this source relayed the conversation with Weldon to me earlier this year, it had not yet been reported that Columbus Nova gave more than $500,000 to Cohen’s LLC, Essential Consultants, over a seven-month period in 2017. Weldon’s alleged reference to Columbus Nova, and his comment about Vekselberg’s role in funding the plan’s promotion, renews questions about what that $500,000 was actually for.
I don’t know how much more proof some people will need of this administration’s corruption, but some people believe in Trump fairies and will always clap their hands. Via the BBC:
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.
The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.
The meeting at the White House was last June.
Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko’s administration described what happened before the visit to the White House.
Mr Cohen was brought in, he said, because Ukraine’s registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Mr Trump. Mr Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as “talks”.
This senior official’s account is as follows – Mr Poroshenko decided to establish a back channel to Mr Trump. The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help.
He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in New York state, Chabad of Port Washington. This eventually led to Michael Cohen, the president’s lawyer and trusted fixer. Mr Cohen was paid $400,000.
There is no suggestion that Mr Trump knew about the payment.
PAUSE HERE FOR HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER – Then how did they know which SARs reports to steal?
Continue reading “The smoking gun”
We get more info from Stormy Daniels’ lawyer than we do from the Trump administration:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that banking records of President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen appear to have been leaked from a database maintained by his department.
“Our inspector general is reviewing the issue of leaks. There is the appearance that some of the information may have gone out,” Mnuchin told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. “There is no excuse whatsoever for anybody who has access to these important systems to release information on an unauthorized basis.”
The New Yorker reported last week that a law enforcement official provided Suspicious Activity Reports on Cohen’s accounts from Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to several media organizations.
Details of those transactions were also released by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for the porn actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006 and is in litigation with Cohen. The New Yorker said the official was alarmed that some records of Cohen’s transactions didn’t appear in a FinCEN database and he feared they were being withheld from law enforcement agencies.