F.B.I. Raids Office Of Longtime Trump Attorney Michael Cohen

In a move apparently connected to the Stormy Daniels affair, Federal authorities have raided the office of longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

The New York Times is reporting that the F.B.I. has raided the office of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime attorney who is in the middle of the Stormy Daniels affair and the payment made to her to remain silent about her relationship with Trump on the eve of the 2016 election:

The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.

“Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” said Stephen Ryan, his lawyer. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Mr. Cohen plays a role in aspects of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also recently said he paid $130,000 to a pornographic-film actress, Stephanie Clifford, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. Ms. Clifford is known as Stormy Daniels.

Mr. Ryan said Mr. Cohen has cooperated with authorities and turned over thousands of documents to congressional investigators looking into Russian election meddling.

According to reports, among the documents seized include records of communications between Trump and Cohen, which is significant because of the fact that, as Trump’s attorney, many of the communications between the two men could be protected by the attorney/client privilege. This means that the documents in question would have to be reviewed by a special team of agents unconnected to the underlying investigation to determine which of the documents may be protected by the privilege and which documents may be unrelated to that investigation. It’s also possible that some, if not all, of these documents, may need to be reviewed by the Federal Judge who issued the warrant for an independent determination of what documents investigators can have access to and which must remain confidential. This may be one reason why the warrant that was executed in this raid was referred to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, although there could be other reasons for that as well.

While we can’t know for sure what was seized, initial reports indicate that it included documents related to the agreement that Cohen entered into, via a limited liability company, with adult film actress Stormy Daniels under which he arranged for the payment of $130,000 to Daniels in exchange for her silence regarding her relationship with then-candidate Trump. It’s unclear, though, if there were also other documents seized in the course of the raid. Given the fact that Cohen has acted as Trump’s lawyer for decades, and was reportedly involved in negotiations in the years prior to the time Trump entered into the race regarding the construction of a Trump hotel in Moscow. While that project ultimately fell through, it had been relatively well known that it was a deal that Trump himself had been pursuing for years and one that he had a personal interest in. This could be relevant to questions of connections between Trump and his business entities and Russian banks or oligarchs who are close to Vladimir Putin and the rest of the Russian government.

Based on other reporting, though, it seems clear that this raid was not part of Robert Mueller’s investigation but was related to matters outside of the current scope of that investigation. Those reports also seem to indicate that the material was at least in part uncovered by Mueller’s investigators. However, because it fell outside the scope of the mandate that Mueller had received from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he was appointed last year, the decision was made to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s office that would have jurisdiction over the matter, which in this case is the office in the Southern District of New York since that is where Cohen’s Manhattan office is located. This would suggest that it is this part of the Justice Department that is investigating the payment to Daniels and the significant legal issues that it raises.

As Ken White, a former Federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney in California notes this is a very big deal:

1. According to Cohen’s own lawyer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (widely regarded within itself as being the most important and prestigious U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country) secured the search warrants for the FBI,based on a referral from Robert Mueller’s office. Assuming this report is correct, that means that a very mainstream U.S. Attorney’s Office — not just Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office — thought that there was enough for a search warrant here.

2. Moreover, it’s not just that the office thought that there was enough for a search warrant. They thought there was enough for a search warrant of an attorney’s office for that attorney’s client communications. That’s a very fraught and extraordinary move that requires multiple levels of authorization within the Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Manual (USAM)—at Section 9-13.320—contains the relevant policies and procedures. The highlights:

The feds are only supposed to raid a law firm if less intrusive measures won’t work. As the USAM puts it:

In order to avoid impinging on valid attorney-client relationships, prosecutors are expected to take the least intrusive approach consistent with vigorous and effective law enforcement when evidence is sought from an attorney actively engaged in the practice of law. Consideration should be given to obtaining information from other sources or through the use of a subpoena, unless such efforts could compromise the criminal investigation or prosecution, or could result in the obstruction or destruction of evidence, or would otherwise be ineffective.

Such a search requires high-level approval. The USAM requires such a search warrant to be approved by the U.S. Attorney—the head of the office, a Presidential appointee—and requires “consultation” with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This is not a couple of rogue AUSAs sneaking in a warrant.

Such a search requires an elaborate review process. The basic rule is that the government may not deliberately seize, or review, attorney-client communications. The USAM—and relevant caselaw—therefore require the feds to set up a review process. That process might involve a judge reviewing the materials to separate out what is privileged (or what might fall within an exception to the privilege), or else set up a “dirty team” that does the review but is insulated from the “clean team” running the investigation. Another option is a “special master,” an experienced and qualified third-party attorney to do the review. Sometimes the reviewing team will only be identifying and protecting privileged material. Sometimes the reviewing team will be preparing to seek, or to implement, a court ruling that the documents are not privileged. (Robert Mueller is aggressive on this sort of thing; he already sought and obtained a court ruling that some of Paul Manafort’s communications with his lawyers were not privileged because they were undertaken for the purpose of fraud — the so-called “crime-fraud exception” to the attorney-client privilege.

3. A Magistrate Judge signed off on this. Federal magistrate judges (appointed by local district judges, not by the President) review search warrant applications. A Magistrate Judge therefore reviewed this application and found probable cause — that is, probable cause to believe that the subject premises (Cohen’s office) contains specified evidence of a specified federal crime. Now, Magistrate Judges sometimes are a little too rubber-stampy for my taste(notably, recall the time that a Magistrate Judge signed off on a truly ludicrous gag order forbidding Reason from revealing that it had been served with a subpoena for information identifying commenters). But here, where the Magistrate Judge knew that this would become one of the most scrutinized search warrant applications ever, and because the nature of the warrant of an attorney’s office is unusual, you can expect that the Magistrate Judge felt pretty confident that there was enough there.

4. The search warrant application (the lengthy narrative from the FBI agent setting for the evidence) is almost certainly still under seal, and even Michael Cohen doesn’t get to see it [yet]. But the FBI would have left the warrant itself — and that shows (1) the federal criminal statutes they were investigating, and (2) the list of items they wanted to seize. Much can be learned for those. Assuming Michael Cohen doesn’t release it, watch for it to be leaked.

Executing a search warrant on an attorneys office is not an everyday occurrence for obvious reasons, and it’s even less common for investigators to do so utilizing a warrant that authorizes them to carry out the raid without needing to forewarn the apparent target of the investigation beforehand. The fact that they were able to obtain such a warrant indicates strongly that investigators were able to present a Judge with compelling evidence that may well go beyond the probable cause requirements that are required for all search warrants. Specifically, it’s likely that investigators had to have presented the Judge with evidence that the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege would be implicated by the documents they expected to find and that there was a danger that those records could be destroyed if Cohen was given advance warning of a raid.

As I’ve noted before, the entire Daniels affair raises several significant legal issues, including potential violations of Federal election laws as well as fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, and tax fraud issues. The fact that it’s being investigated is thus not at all surprising. Nonetheless, as I said, it’s not every day that a lawyer’s office is raided under circumstances like this and that applies even more so when you’re talking about the office of the longtime personal attorney of the President of the United States. Even if this isn’t directly related to the Russia investigation, this is likely to become a legal headache not just for Cohen but also potentially the President himself. The only question is whether they’ll be fighting two prosecutors or just one.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Update: The FBI also raided Cohen’s home and his hotel room.

    16
  2. Kathy says:

    I try not to get my hopes up on fragmentary evidence. I think this will negatively affect Cohen more than the Teflon Don who employs him.

  3. drj says:

    Maybe a lawyer can weigh in on the following: if a judge finds there is sufficient evidence to apply the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege, that means that there’s some actual evidence that the CLIENT has likely committed a crime, no?

    Considering the identity of the client in question, that would be rather huge…

    12
  4. CSK says:

    A spokesperson for Cohen’s law firm, or perhaps former law firm, had this to say:

    ‘”The firm’s arrangement with Mr. Cohen reached its conclusion, mutually and in accordance with the agreement…We have been in contact with federal authorities regarding their execution of a warrant regarding Mr. Cohen. These activities do not relate to the firm and we are in full cooperation.”

    14
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nonetheless, as I said, it’s not every day that a lawyer’s office is raided under circumstances like this and that applies even more so when you’re talking about the office of the longtime personal attorney of the President of the United States.

    Why do I have this sick sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that we have entered wholly uncharted territory where the rules are completely unknown by both sides?

  6. lounsbury says:

    And if the Orange Cretin & his lackey had merely been somewhat less dim and just let the Stormy thing slide, perhaps they might have avoided this entire exposure.

  7. @CSK:

    The firm in question is apparently one that Cohen was leasing office space from. It doesn’t appear that he was either a partner or an employee.

  8. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Ah, okay. Thanks. Still, they were very eager to disassociate from him. Not that they can be blamed for that.

  9. Tyrell says:

    Who is next on this list? McMahon? DeVane? Nugent?
    Anyone with overdue library books?
    “Stormy Daniels – who?’
    This is one of the oldest tricks there is. You create some sort of diversion, to get everyone’s attention on something else. The people lost interest in all this junk sometime last year, if they ever had any interest in it.
    “It’s all for nothing. All for nothing”

    41
  10. gVOR08 says:

    @lounsbury:

    And if the Orange Cretin & his lackey had merely been somewhat less dim and just let the Stormy thing slide, perhaps they might have avoided this entire exposure.

    I can’t imagine Mueller much caring about Stormy Daniels. Nor the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s office. Nor the judge who issued the exceptional warrant. Except to the extent she opens a crack into something larger. When all this started we all speculated that Trump’s finances and other irregularities, independent of Russia, would be what brought him down. If your affairs won’t stand close scrutiny, maybe you shouldn’t run for president.

    12
  11. HarvardLaw92 says:
  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    You’re being silly, Tyrell.

    16
  13. teve tory says:

    Based on other reporting, though, it seems clear that this raid was not part of Robert Mueller’s investigation

    hard to keep track of which presidential confidants are being raided w/r/t which investigation.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    Trump and his personal attorney have been playing a game on this Stormy Daniels business. Certainly, Michael Cohan should have known better. Trump? He figures he can bully and power his way through any legal situation, so expectations are low that he would exercise caution.

    Of course, to Trump’s base, this is exactly the proof of the Deep State Conspiracy that they’ve been hoping for.

    Rosenstein and Wray may be toast really soon, Sessions too.

  15. They Saved Nixon's Brain says:

    Maybe Bolton will convince President Trump to bomb the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
    If I would have sent the troops into South Dakota in ’73 he would have precedent to do it!

    I think we ought to move tanks, the whole goddamned thing. Put a division in there, if necessary, It’s time for action on it. If some Indians get shot, that’s too goddamned bad. If some Americans get shot, that’s too bad, too.” –President Richard Nixon on the standoff at Wounded Knee with Native American militants

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @drj:

    if a judge finds there is sufficient evidence to apply the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege, that means that there’s some actual evidence that the CLIENT has likely committed a crime, no?

    Generally speaking, yes. Privilege protects the client. The crime-fraud exception applies when the client was in the process of committing or intended to commit a crime or fraudulent act, and the client communicated with the lawyer with intent to further the crime or fraud, or to cover it up.

    That having been said, Cohen has been adamant that he acted alone, and Trump has been adamant that he knew nothing about the payment. Somebody is lying.

    As Doug says, though, the really interesting meat of this situation is contained in the verbiage delineating the scope of the warrant and the documents delineating the scope of Cohen’s tenancy within Patton Boggs premises, neither of which we know (yet …). Those will determine how far this goes.

    Doug – what do you think about the applicability of Segura here?

  17. michael reynolds says:

    This move came via a Trump-appointed US attorney, and a Trump-appointed Deputy AG. Republican, Marine war hero, Robert Mueller properly handed the case over as outside the scope of his investigation.

    So, I’m sure all Trumpaloons will agree that we must follow the law. Right?

    19
  18. Scott says:

    If the leaders of modern, industrialized democracies like Brazil, South Korea, Israel can be indicted, tried, and jailed, then I fail to see how we should be the exception.

  19. Kathy says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Rosenstein and Wray may be toast really soon, Sessions too.

    Advance of tomorrow’s Tweet:

    WANTED: Attorney General and deputy Attorney General. MUST be capable of FIRING and PROSECUTING Mueller!

  20. teve tory says:

    At some point do republicans realize that if they pressure trump to quit, Pence’ll give them everything they want with 90% less scandal? Plus, if they publicly refudiated Trump, it would at least marginally reduce the energy of the millions of mostly women who’ve been pushed to activism over the last 2 years, and who sure as shit aren’t looking to vote GOP this fall.

    The GOP is tactically stupid, strategically stupid, and operationally stupid.

    10
  21. teve tory says:

    I was just getting caught up with the 4 or 5 Scott Pruitt scandals, now I’ve gotta add Cohen to the playbill? Sheesh.

  22. teve tory says:
  23. Daryl’s other brother Darryl says:

    MAGA…
    My Attorneys Getting Arrested

    The fact that the Presidents personal attorney can be searched by the FBI restores my faith in this nation.
    Of course Dennison calls it an attack on the country.

    This has NEVER happened before.
    My freude is over-schadened!!!

    12
  24. gVOR08 says:

    @teve tory: Agree wrt/ policy and legislation. But Trump has displayed a great ability to demagogue the base. Pence, not so much. Would you want to run in ‘20 on Pence’s coattails?

  25. Kathy says:

    Do you figure the Democrats are about to be able to chant at rallies “Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!”

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    We should do better than that. If Trump fires Mueller demonstrations should target Trump Tower, his DC hotel and Mar a Lago, with a goal to shutting them down. Camp in his lobbies, surround the building, etc… That hits him where he lives. It would radically devalue his business, not just at those three properties. The Trump name has already come off some buildings, it should be made as toxic as Enron. Destroy his wealth. Break him financially.

    16
  27. Gustopher says:

    As we all puzzle over the legal implications of this, and how it interacts with the legal implications of the Russia investigation, and whether it might possibly involve the scandals of Pruitt, or money laundering, or sexual assault, there is one question we always come back to: would an orange jump suit look good or bad on a man with orange skin?

    I think good.

  28. Daryl’s other brother Darryl says:

    Checked into Fox…Tucker is talking about Tech Addiction being worse for society than Opioids.
    ROTFLMFAO

    10
  29. Franklin says:

    @Tyrell: People hear what they want to hear. For whatever reason you think Trump is clean and no amount of evidence will change your mind.

  30. Hal_10000 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Why do I have this sick sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that we have entered wholly uncharted territory where the rules are completely unknown by both sides?

    That was my thought as well. This is getting serious. And it could get very bad. The Trumpists have a big Cult of Personality thing going.

  31. Kathy says:

    @teve tory:

    L’Etat, c’est moi, bitches.

    I thought he was Trump I, not XIV.

    Oh, well….

    “Why do things that happen to stupid people keep happening to me?”
    Trump XIV

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Orange jumpsuit and a four-by-four. (Con slang for cuffs and shackles.)

    Also, it’s hard to get good hair care in prison. That’s going to be tough for him. Maybe they’ll let him wear a MAGA hat as a special concession justified, I would argue, by the irony.

  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    Mueller brings this to Rosenstein who assigns it to So District of NY. That kicks off a process described by attorney White in a Reason article. Question: Since this is so sensitive and it is outside Mueller’s mandate i.e. Russia, would Sessions be in the loop of review and approval?

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The firm in question is apparently one that Cohen was leasing office space from. It doesn’t appear that he was either a partner or an employee.

    This little factoid is actually pretty revealing. Trump is a shambolic self-impressed buffoon. He hires or “befriends” equally self impressed losers. His “fixer” is a multi-millionaire that practices law as a vicious hobby used to assault his perceived enemies. This fixer, Cohen, is not part of any law firm, nor has any law firm of his own. He rents space from someone who has absolutely zero investment in protecting him from his own crimes, and then (seemingly) stores evidence of his crimes in that space. So – how thoroughly did his landlords challenge the warrant? Did they call him to notify that the feds were at the door? How much effort did they make in reducing the scope and trying to monitor that what they seized was limited to what the warrant outlined? By all indications, that would be zero. Cohen didn’t have anyone in his office. If he thought at all about this possibility he would have had someone there that would have at least tried to push back.

    Trump is a crook. His lawyers are ridiculous and crooked. This doesn’t end well.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Franklin: Personally, I think Tyrell is an actual troll. Original internet/darpanet definition.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Also, it’s hard to get good hair care in prison.

    That may be Trump’s greatest humiliation. I’ve seen pretty convincing argument that he spends $100K plus on his micr0-weave. Being revealed as Gollum-level bald in prison may drive him to suicide.

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    He’s so tacky. My IP lawyer is a name partner on Madison Avenue, with a straight-up view of the Empire State Building from his corner office. But I’m not a money-launderer and don’t need have all that much need for a sleazeball to cover up adultery, so I guess different duties, different standards?

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    No. Rosenstein doesn’t assign it to SDNY. Rosenstein would sign off on referring it to SDNY. The US attorney there made the decision to pursue it. Sessions has recused himself from anything having to do with Bob’s investigation. That includes derivative investigations stemming from material uncovered by Bob, but referred somewhere else.

    I’ll be honest here. IMO the biggest reasons he referred it are 1) it depoliticizes the matter for most people other than Trumpkins. A US Attorney appointed by Trump made the decision to pursue this matter, so he can’t blame Democrats, and 2) Schneiderman is almost certainly involved / informed / set to receive at least some of the products of this search. You can probably expect Cohen to be called before the bar as well based on Rule 1.8(e). Basically speaking – he’s neutered. Disbarment is probably the nicest thing that could happen to him as a result of this self-created fiasco.

    10
  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    This remains to be seen, as I spoke to above. Cohen’s relationship with Patton Boggs was characterized as a mutual venture intended to develop business, which Patton unilaterally ended. The question of whether Cohen 1) actually subleased space within Patton’s offices, which is doubtful IMO, or 2) simply occupied those offices at Patton’s grace to a partner it was working with, but without Cohen actually establishing legal tenancy (which is much more likely), will determine a great deal here. If the answer to the question is 2, then Patton, as the legal tenant of the premises, could have validated the seizure of anything, and I do mean anything (subject to a determination of where and how privilege would apply) seized from Cohen’s offices simply by agreeing to the search. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, but it will certainly be entertaining.

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Want to hear something really fun? NY State still criminalizes adultery, under Penal Law § 255.17. It’s a misdemeanor, but technically speaking, if Trump actually knew about the agreement idiot Cohen was cooking up (and I see no realistic way that he was not involved), the fact that it was attempt to cover up what is technically a crime in NY State can offer us a segue into pushing the crime-fraud exception at the state level. I won’t hear back from my guy in Albany until tomorrow, but I already know what he’s going to tell me re: Schneiderman’s participation.

    It’s enough to make a Jewish M&A lawyer tap-dance down the Seine Embankment 🙂

    17
  41. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I like where you’re going. But we’re not going to start prosecuting indiscretions, are we? Asking for a friend.

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No. That section is rarely invoked, and almost always only by a zealous prosecutor who tossed it in as an afterthought to an already lengthy bill of charges (usually just to add insult to injury for a defendant they particularly dislike).

    The value here isn’t found in potential prosecutory value. It’s valuable as a tool with which to pierce privilege at the state level in pursuit of making the products of the search concerning the NDA negotiations which are subject to privilege admissible when they otherwise might not be. It’s a defensible basis for invoking the crime-fraud exception at the NY State level.

    On the flipside, if these documents legitimately establish that Cohen acted alone, independently of Trump (which IMO is a fantasy, but anything is possible), he’ll be subject to disbarment and indictment at the federal level for, at a minimum, making illegal campaign contributions. If Trump knew, and participated, it just became a conspiracy to violate federal election laws. There is no unhappy ending for this mess.

    15
  43. Chip Daniels says:

    I’ve seen it discussed before, during Obama’s time how the Republican base is actually a revolutionary party, where they deny the legitimacy of their opposition.

    Thus, Obama’s mere existence was something to be opposed, and now, any action taken by law enforcement against the Republicans is tantamount to treason.

    15
  44. John SF says:

    Query from a person without much knowledge of the American legal system:
    If this is a separate investigation, would anything uncovered possibly relating to the primary Mueller enquiries automatically be passed on by USAG-SDNY?
    Would the Mueller team have be able to have input on indicating possible leads to USAG-SDNY?
    Or even have one of Mueller’s investigators in place with the SDNY team?
    Also how would this relate to possible prosecutions at the state level (the US/state legal separation is really puzzling to a non-American at times).

    I’m thinking of material both re. the main Mueller enquiries and/or Cohen’s possible dealings with other women re. Trump.

    Has the Stormy Daniels affair handed Mueller a crowbar to prise open a lot more?

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So, I’m sure all Trumpaloons will agree that we must follow the law. Right?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….. gasp…… wheeze….. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Oh, that is BEAUTIFUL….

  47. michael reynolds says:

    @John SF:

    Has the Stormy Daniels affair handed Mueller a crowbar to prise open a lot more?

    More like dynamite than a crowbar.

  48. Franklin says:

    No comment from MBunge? No Guanari? Oh, what am I to think???

  49. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Franklin:

    No comment from MBunge? No Guanari?

    They don’t even know it happened. Fox has been covering sex-crazed pandas.

  50. Paul L. says:

    Republican Mueller’s FBI and Obama DOJ worked with Lerner to prosecute the very groups the Obama IRS was suppressing.

    I wonder if United States Magistrate Judge “SDNY Rubber Stamp” Frank Maas (who signed the Reason Magazine Gag order) signed this warrant.
    Or AUSA Niketh Velamoor (who got the Reason Magazine Gag order) actually approved the warrant.

    16
  51. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    OK…ROTFLMFAO
    Nice to see who you are having do your thinking for you, I suppose.
    Of course numerous investigations show the IRS wasn’t suppressing anyone.
    But don’t let facts stand in the way of your loyalty to the cult.

    13
    1
  52. CSK says:

    Don’t forget that James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty is coming out next week. Of course all the attention will focus on the Trump sections of the book.

    To quote Flounder: “This is gonna be great!”

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Facts also showed they “persecuted” more liberal groups then tea party groups be a factor of 3.

    9
    1
  54. Paul L. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Odd that the Liberal groups never sued. Where is the list of 1350+ progressives targeted?
    IRS finally reveals list of tea party groups targeted for extra scrutiny

    The government released names of 426 organizations. Another 40 were not released as part of the list because they had already opted out of being part of the class-action suit.

    numerous investigations show the IRS wasn’t suppressing anyone.

    The courts have found otherwise.

    11
  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.:

    Odd that the Liberal groups never sued.

    No it’s not. Liberals aren’t the whiners conservatives are. “They are being sooo mean!”

    8
    1
  56. Kathy says:

    For some reason I’m reminded of the scene in “Liar, Liar” when a client calls Jim Carey to ask for legal advice, and he yells into the phone “STOP BREAKING THE LAW, A$$HOLE!”

  57. michael reynolds says:

    @Franklin: @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    This is how I know that @Bung and @Guarneri and @JKB actually do know that Trump is guilty: they stay away when the news is really damaging. (Unless of course it’s anything involving black people or guns. I think they’re contractually obligated.)

    They all need to wait on Hannity and Fox and Friends to tell them what to think. @Bung will be along eventually to offer up some warmed-over Doocy.

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    I know you’re like the second dumbest of our resident Trumpaloons, but when you hop into a comment thread with nothing but SQUIRREL! it’s essentially an admission that you are willingly participating in covering up Cult Leader’s crimes. I mean, we all see that.

    11
  59. John SF says:

    Just came across something interesting:
    If I’m reading this right it appears Mr. Cohen had his office co/located with Squire Paton Boggs with whom he had some sort of agreement.
    Perhaps entirely coincidentally Squire Paton Boggs have Cambridge Analytica among their clients; and a little company called Gazprom as well.

  60. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Showing YET AGAIN that sloppiness in lawyers comes back to bite them in the ass.

    Cohen had many many years of fun swaggering around as Trump’s friend/consigliere/fixer/right-hand-man, aggressively bullying people with legal threats. And now all that fuzziness is coming home to roost.

    Considering that this is the idiot who said that “men can’t rape their wives”, couldn’t happen to a more deserving individual.

    Ha!

  61. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Same people who say Trump will be found guilt said the same about Ted Stevens and Cliven Bundy.
    And they get outraged if someone has the Bad Manners to commit the faux pas to mention whose cases.

  62. Slugger says:

    Has Trump found a replacement for John Dowd yet? Dowd seems to have put a lot of distance between himself and his former client. Perhaps, he had some inkling that working for Trump would lead to the cops reading his papers.

  63. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    Oh, you are in for such a shock. I almost envy the naked vulnerability you’ll bring to the heart-hammering denouement.

  64. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Republican Mueller’s FBI and Obama DOJ worked with Lerner to prosecute the very groups the Obama IRS was suppressing.

    I wonder if United States Magistrate Judge “SDNY Rubber Stamp” Frank Maas (who signed the Reason Magazine Gag order) signed this warrant.
    Or AUSA Niketh Velamoor (who got the Reason Magazine Gag order) actually approved the warrant.

    Nice to hear for Deep State Conspiracy headquarters.
    Are you guys anywhere near the Excellence In Broadcasting building?

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  65. al-Ameda says:

    @Slugger:

    Has Trump found a replacement for John Dowd yet? Dowd seems to have put a lot of distance between himself and his former client. Perhaps, he had some inkling that working for Trump would lead to the cops reading his papers.

    What’s the over/under on Jeanine Pirro?

  66. grumpy realist says:

    I also get the feeling that Cohen’s braggadacio and his constant “I am SUCH a Tough Guy!” attitude was only ignored by the authorities because he was nothing more than an irritating, buzzing fly. Now they need something from him, and will take judicious pleasure at cracking the guy like a nut. But if Cohen hadn’t been such a sloppy idiot in the first place, they would have found far fewer axes of access….

    Moral of the story: always act precisely and with integrity. The life you save may be your own.

  67. barbintheboonies says:

    I wish the FBI had worked so relentlessly to recover Hillary’s cover stories that a much more corrupt than some woman he may have pumped and paid off. Most of you people supported a sitting president for screwing an intern and denying it. Yes that’s her husband. Nobody here questions her foundation and everything around it. I question all of you here who support this raid, If this was the Clinton foundation being raided and investigated, would you all be in favor of it?

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  68. teve tory says:

    Exactly, Barb. And the FBI didn’t even raid Hillary once despite the fact that she’s clearly running a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a pizzeria. It’s so biased!

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  69. grumpy realist says:

    @barbintheboonies: If there was sufficient evidence so that the judges would sign off on the search order, I see no reason why the Clinton Foundation would not be investigated as well.

    You see, that’s the difference between the two of us. I’m one of those who thinks that nobody is above the law–even if that means we go after a president.

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  70. michael reynolds says:

    @barbintheboonies:
    This is of course the Hannity line-of-the-day for all the culties.

    Sweetheart: this search came via lifelong Republican Robert Mueller, who passed it along to Trump-appointee Rod Rosenstein, who passed it along to Trump-appointee Berman, a Giuliani buddy, who went to a judge and in order to get the search warrant had to provide multiples of the evidence usually required.

    You’re being fed lies and you’re gulping them down. But as you should have noticed by now, when you drag your Fox News lies out into public, you get your head handed to you. See, we have facts. You don’t. That’s why you always lose. And you always will, because in the end, truth trumps Trump’s lies.

  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Cohen isn’t an attorney in anything beyond the “I somehow passed the bar” sense.

    He’s a bagman. He’s never been anything but a bagman. The next step in this little drama is likely to be Cohen realizing 1) the magnitude of what he’s facing, and 2) the realization that his el patrone is nowhere to be found. You can guess what his next choice after coming to those realizations will be.

  72. Franklin says:

    @barbintheboonies: Plenty of people around here, including me, didn’t like the perception of influence peddling that went on with the Clinton Foundation. But I still haven’t seen any evidence of any actual wrongdoing (by all means, provide any links you might have to some reputable source).

    Also, Paul L had no problem when Kenny Starr looked at a land deal and ended up investigating a blue dress. Suck it up and be consistent, man.

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  73. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Have you been watching Avenatti trolling Cohen? Interview after interview he makes a point of saying that Cohen isn’t tough enough to be a stand-up guy. He’s wedging it into conversations. It’s a move, not random babble. I’m intrigued by the psychology of that choice.

  74. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yes. He’s playing this situation like an upright bass. Quite impressed with his handling of his representation thus far.

  75. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Looking at Cohen reminds me of that old joke: “what do you call the student who got the lowest passing score on his medical boards?” “Doctor.”

    He’s an Orly Taitz in drag.

  76. Pete S says:

    @Paul L.: No, the odd part is that you somehow equate “actually vetted application for tax free status” with “prosecuted”. Is it your working assumption that the conservative groups were committing fraud every time they put pen to paper? That seems more perceptive of you than we are used to.

  77. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Actually, I can’t figure out whether Cohen’s next step will be to run to the nearest investigator and spill, or do the proverbial with a bottle of scotch and a pistol. Surely he can’t be dumb enough to think that Trump will do anything for him–and he’s already totally trashed his possibility of remaining in law.

    At least if he runs to the nearest investigator and spills, he can look forward to quite a lot of very lucrative book contracts afterwards.

    What Cohen will probably do is try to stick around Trump, whining all the time about protection, and Trump will get more and more scared of keeping Cohen around and brush him off more and more….then Trump will say something like “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest!” and one of his entourage will hear him, and….

    My god, it’s not a mob story; it’s Game of Thrones!

  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I’m pretty convinced that there will be a deal forthcoming which involves Cohen escaping prosecution or accepting probation in exchange for his singing like a bird and agreeing to surrender his license. Cohen is the nexus – the guy at the center of most all of the dirty shit Trump has ever done – and this sequence of events reads like a flip through intimidation. Flipping Cohen is the key to bringing this whole rotten, diseased house down on Trump’s head.