Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty Again, Admits Lying About Trump Project In Russia

Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen plead guilty to lying to Congress about Trump's business dealings with Russia, and has agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller's investigation.

Michael Cohen, the man who for years served as one of Donald Trump’s personal lawyers who was heavily involved in a number of Trump-related matters both before and during the campaign, appeared in a Federal Court in Manhattan today and pled guilty to lying to Congress regarding efforts to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, revealing for the first time that those efforts continued well after Trump had entered the race for President, a revelation that contradicts claims that the President himself had made to the press for the past three years:

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, who pleaded guilty in August to breaking campaign finance laws, made a surprise appearance in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday morning and pleaded guilty to a new criminal charge, the latest turn in the special counsel’s investigation of Mr. Trump and his inner circle.

At the court hearing, Mr. Cohen admitted to making false statements to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. That real estate deal has been a focus of the special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian operatives.

In written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Cohen played down the extent of his contact with the Kremlin about the potential project and made other false statements about the negotiations, which never led to a final deal.

Mr. Cohen’s new guilty plea comes at a particularly perilous time for Mr. Trump, whose presidency has been threatened by Mr. Cohen’s statements to investigators. In recent days, the president and his lawyers have increased their attacks on the Justice Department and the special counsel’s office.

The new guilty plea in Federal District Court marks the first time the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has charged Mr. Cohen. In exchange for pleading guilty and continuing to cooperate with Mr. Mueller, he may hope to receive a lighter sentence than he otherwise would.

The move comes just two weeks before Mr. Cohen, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced for his earlier guilty plea. That case, which also included bank and tax crimes, was brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

This week, Mr. Mueller accused Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of repeatedly lying to investigators in breach of a plea agreement. And Mr. Trump’s lawyers recently submitted his written responses to questions from Mr. Mueller, who the president accused on Tuesday of operating a “Phony Witch Hunt.”

It was just three months ago that Mr. Cohen, pleading guilty for the first time, stood up in a different Manhattan courtroom and accused Mr. Trump of directing hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to conceal potential sex scandals. Those payments formed the basis of the campaign finance charges against Mr. Cohen.

Although Mr. Cohen’s first plea agreement did not include a formal cooperation deal, he had sat for repeated interviews with Mr. Mueller’s investigators.

He also offered assistance to the office prosecuting him, the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, according to a person briefed on the matter. (Mr. Mueller’s investigators referred the investigation of Mr. Cohen to the Southern District earlier this year).

The Southern District said last month in a court filing that it was continuing to investigate “Michael Cohen and others.” While the filing did not identify other suspects, the prosecutors are expected to examine whether people in Mr. Trump’s circle were aware of Mr. Cohen’s criminal conduct.

The Washington Post has more:

Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to President Trump, pleaded guilty Thursday in New York to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project that Trump and his company pursued during the months he was running for president.

In a nine-page filing, prosecutors laid out a litany of lies that Cohen admitted he told to congressional lawmakers about the Moscow project — an attempt, Cohen said, to minimize links between the proposed development and Trump as his presidential bid was taking off.

Cohen falsely said efforts to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, when in fact discussions continued through that year, the filing said. Among the people Cohen briefed on the status of the project was Trump himself, on more than three occasions, according to the document.

Trump has repeatedly said that he had no business dealings in Russia, tweeting in July 2016, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia” and telling reporters in January 2017 that he had no deals there because he had “stayed away.”

Cohen’s new guilty plea is the latest development in a wide-ranging investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On Thursday, Trump denounced Cohen when reporters asked about the case as he left the White House.

“Michael Cohen is lying and he’s trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me,” the president said. “This was a project that we didn’t do, I didn’t do… There would be nothing wrong if I did do it.”

“He’s a weak person,” Trump added.

During the campaign, Cohen acted as Trump’s point person in an attempt to build the Trump development in Moscow. He has said the project was in its early stages in the fall of 2015, as Trump’s presidential campaign heated up.

Cohen previously said the project stalled in January 2016, prompting him to email a top aide to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin seeking help. Cohen previously said he never received a response and the project was halted that month.

In fact, according to the filing, Cohen received a response and discussed the project for 20 minutes on the phone with an assistant to a Russian official, seeking help with both securing land and financing.

Prosecutors also said that that Cohen continued to have contact into the summer of 2016 with Felix Sater, the Russian-born developer who was assisting on the project. Some of those contacts were first reported by The Washington Post.

In June 2016, Sater invited Cohen to attend an economic conference in St. Petersburg, assuring Cohen he could be introduced to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, top financial leaders and perhaps Putin, The Post reported.

According to the criminal information filed by prosecutors, Cohen sent a two-page letter to the committee in which he “knowingly and deliberately” made false statements, including that the Moscow project “ended in January 2016 and was not discussed extensively with others in the company,” that Cohen “never agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow project and ‘never considered’ asking Individual 1 to travel for the project,” and that Cohen “did not recall any Russian government response or contact about the Moscow Project.”

The document does not identify “Individual 1,” but according to people familiar with the case, that person is President Trump.

“Cohen discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions Cohen claimed to the committee, and he briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project,” according to the information.

The document goes on to say Cohen made those statements attempting to conceal or minimize a number of facts, including that the project “was discussed multiple times within the company and did not end in January 2016,” but rather Cohen and “Individual 2” discussed the efforts as late as June 2016.

The document does not identify Individual 2, but people familiar with the investigation said it is Sater.

The document also says that Cohen discussed in May of 2016 the possibility that he might travel to Russia before the Republican National Convention and that Individual 1 might travel there after the convention, but a month later, told “Individual 2” – Sater – that he would not be making such a trip.

Federal sentencing guidelines would call for Cohen to face a prison sentence of only six months at high end, and no time in prison at the low end, according to his plea agreement for false statements. Both sides agreed they would not ask for a sentence outside of those range, provided Cohen continues to cooperate.

This isn’t the first guilty plea by Cohen, of course. Three months ago, Cohen pled guilty to a number of charges unrelated to the Russia investigation but which implicated the President in a conspiracy to buy the silence of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom have claimed to have had an affair with Trump during the time that his wife was pregnant with his youngest son Barron. In the course of his plea and admission of guilt in Court at that point, Cohen stated on the record that he entered into both agreements on the direction of, and with the full knowledge of, the President. It was also reported that that Cohen did not choose to pursue an agreement with Stormy Daniels until after the release of the Access Hollywood tape, a development that makes it far more likely that this payoff to Daniels, as well as the contemporaneous payoff to former Playboy model Karen McDougal were made to benefit the Trump campaign than that it was to protect the Trump marriage or shield Melania Trump from embarrassment. This is brought home to an even greater extent by the fact that campaign finance law violations are reportedly among the charges that Cohen will plead guilty to today, and the fact that we know  the President knew about the payoff to Daniels but that he had reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 that was paid to Daniels, the prospects that this could lead to future legal problems for the President are rather obvious. It was also revealed that Trump was kept aware, through Cohen, of the negotiations between McDougal and the publisher of the National Enquirer to buy the rights to Karen McDougal’s story regarding her affair with Trump and that, later, he was involved with Cohen in efforts to negotiate a subsequent sale of those rights by the publisher to a dummy corporation that Cohen had established to facilitate the payments in question. While that part of the deal was apparently never formalized, the fact that it was undertaken at all is further evidence that the purpose of the payment to McDougal was to benefit the Trump campaign in advance of the election. As I noted at the time, what all of this meant is that President Trump was, effectively, an unindicted coconspirator along with Cohen in a conspiracy to violate Federal election law in order to keep certain information out of the public domain in advance of the election.

Today’s guilty plea involves an entirely different matter, and potentially provides a piece of the puzzle explaining what many have noted has been the President’s sometimes odd relationship with Russia in general and Russian President Vladimir Putin in particular. Specifically, it centers on efforts on the part of The Trump Organization to develop real estate in Moscow for what some have referred to as “Trump Tower Moscow.” but which some reports have said included both a hotel and a Trump Tower like project that would have consisted of a mixed-use commercial and residential building. Previously, both Trump and Cohen had claimed that any discussions that were had with Russian officials had ended either before Trump ran for President or, at the very least, before the Presidential campaign began in earnest in the early months of 2016. Today, Cohen admitted that this was a lie and that he was involved with negotiations related to this project that lasted at least well into 2016, that he communicated about it with the President and members of his family who worked at The Trump Organization on a regular basis, and that there were ongoing discussions about Trump actually taking time off the campaign trail to meet with Russian President Putin. That meeting never took place, but the significance of Cohen’s tesitmony today is that he, Trump, and other Trump officials lied on multiple occasions regarding this project, and that this claim was falsely repeated to Congressional cmmittees investigating the Russia matter by Cohen and perhaps by others, possibly including Trump family members such as Donald Trump Jr.

In any case, it is hard to understate the significance of today’s developments. Cohen’s guilty  plea in August is important, of course, because it implicates the President in a criminal conspiracy to violate campaign laws, and we have yet to fully understand what the consequences of that admission on Cohen’s part will be for the President. Under the terms of that plea agreement, though, Cohen did not formally agree to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation or to reveal everything he may know about Trump, his businesses, and the ties that either may have to Russia or Russian business interests. This agreement, though, is directly between Cohen and the Special Counsel’s office and makes clear that Cohen will be cooperating with Mueller’s investigation going forward even more than he has been over the past three months. Additionally, these revelations by Cohen make it clear that Trump has been lying about potential business interests and dealings with Russia for an extended period of time. This is significant both because it is potentially a link that could substantiate charges of collusion and conspiracy as well as an explanation for why the Trump White House may have sought to obstruct the Russia investigation from the beginning.

In addition to all of this, both Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, both of whom were already serving in high-ranking positions in their father’s business at this time, were quoted at the time as saying in an almost braggadocious manner that the real estate developer was getting a lot of money from Russian banking interests. We also know that Trump had an interest in building a tower in Moscow that dates back to the 1990s, that he openly pursued relationships with people close to Putin in an effort to get permission to hold the Miss Universe pageant there (which happened in 2013), and that he had at least signed a letter of intent to build in Moscow back in 2015 just months before he entered the race for President. Finally, several news outlets have reported that Trump has a long history with Russian banking interests, including banks owned by individuals known to be within the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, that raise serious questions about whether or not he has a conflict of interest regarding U.S. relations with Russia in general and Putin in particular. All of this is significant, of course, because the fact that Trump has publicly denied any ties to Russia could potentially make him vulnerable to outside influence if the opposite were true and Russian officials were to threaten, even obliquely, to reveal the truth.

In any case, now that we know that Michael Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller and will continue to do so in the future means that before this is all over Robert Mueller will know everything there is to know about Donald Trump. Where that heads is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think it’s going to be good news for the President.

Here is the Criminal Information filed this morning in the new case against Cohen:

United States v Michael Coh… by on Scribd

And here is the Plea Agreement itself:

United States v Michael Coh… by on Scribd

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Russia, 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. Teve says:

    If Trump were smart, he’d fly to Russia, resign, and announce he’s not coming back.

    ReplyReply
    14
  2. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Teve: I read elsewhere that trump is going to the G-20 to learn about other country’s asylum policies.

    ReplyReply
  3. Teve says:

    Chris Hayes
    Chris Hayes
    @chrislhayes
    ·
    5m
    Obvious point, but if *this* is the thing Cohen is pleading to there are certainly more lies and illegal activity that he’s *not* being charged with.

    ReplyReply
  4. Jen says:

    Maybe OT, maybe not: A Chicago Alderman whose private firm has done tax work for Trump properties in the past apparently had the feds show up this morning. Everyone was asked to leave and they put up brown paper on the windows.

    It’s a really weird day (Deutsche Bank raid, Cohen, this…alderman thingy).

    ReplyReply
    10
  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So…maybe electing a career criminal, and Russian asset, to the presidency wasn’t such a good idea after all?
    Cohen has done what no Republican in Congress has yet to do; he has put country above his fealty to Dennison.

    ReplyReply
    16
  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So far today…
    ~Cohen sells out Dennison, and his kids, on the tower project in Moscow
    ~Dennison melts down on south lawn of WH
    ~Dennison cancels meeting with his boss at the G20
    ~Deutsche Bank is raided – this is the only bank that will lend Dennison money, Dennison owes them hundreds of millions, and Justice Kennedy’s kid works there
    ~Dennison’s former tax attorneys office is raided
    Keep in mind it’s only lunchtime…..

    ReplyReply
    20
    1
  7. Teve says:

    @Jen: Trump’s been shitting bricks on Twitter even harder than usual lately. That raid might be part of why. My guess is Trump is going to have a very bad 2019.

    Trump’s remaining defenders have left reality far behind. just this morning on Twitter I saw one of them say, “Mueller’s been investigating for two years and so far he’s shown absolutely nothing.”

    ReplyReply
    12
  8. grumpy realist says:

    The Guardian’s run-down on the case.

    (If this Russia untanglement continues to be this active, I may jump over to monitoring it rather than Brexit. Brexit is still going around in circles.)

    ReplyReply
  9. Pylon says:

    Trump then: “I have nothing to do with Russia.”.

    Trump now: “Yeah, I was negotiating business deals in Russia because I was probably going to lose”.

    Trump tomorrow: “Yeah, I did a deal with Putin, but there is no pee tape”.

    ReplyReply
  10. MarkedMan says:

    I think the key thing that happened today was when Trump pivoted and basically admitted he had business dealings with Russia during the campaign. This after he had gone on record multiple times calling the Russia investigation a witch hunt because he had no dealings with Russia. The “If A then B” here is clear enough for even many political-agnostics to follow (and that’s the bulk of our population). ” If the investigation was a witch hunt because you had no business with Russia, and now you are admitting that was a lie, then…?”

    Of course, the hard core Trumpers will never change their tune. Look at our resident pack of idiots that comment here. It’s not like they are going to have a revelation. I’ve long said that Trumpers most closely resemble Marion Barry’s supporters. For those younger than dirt, Marion Barry was a Mayor of DC – obviously corrupt, obviously constantly spewing BS, who was elected by fiercely loyal residents who felt that he was unfairly attacked by the power structure because he defended the little guy and wasn’t afraid to take them on. Then he was arrested and a videotape released of him literally smoking crack with a prostitute. And his believers? Stayed loyal till the day he died. Insisted that it was a frame up.

    ReplyReply
  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    My advice for about two years has been pardon, resign and flee.

    Pardon his creepy kids, resign office and GTFO the country to someplace that won’t extradite him. He’s a criminal. He’s a felon. He is committing felonies in plain sight and he doesn’t seem to have figured out that in two years he’ll be a private citizen who can be arrested ten seconds after his successor is sworn in. The supine, complicit GOP cannot save him once he’s out of office and they can’t save his kids or him from state charges even if Trump tries the pardon route.

    Right now he could probably get a deal to resign and cop to a single, low-rent felony, probably with no time. He should try for that. It’s his best option. It’s been his best option.

    ReplyReply
    18
    2
  12. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Which of the kids flips first? I’m thinking Eric, then Barron (with his mom’s files).

    ReplyReply
  13. Teve says:

    I was wondering how this was playing among the idiots, so I just went over to gateway pundit. apparently the special council’s name is Dirty Cop Robert Mueller, and Cohen is referred to as ‘Trump lawyer turned rat Michael Cohen’.

    ReplyReply
  14. Blue Galangal says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Maybe Kennedy’s kid will end up in jail after all. It’s not enough to make up for Kavanaugh, but still.

    ReplyReply
  15. Teve says:

    Huh. This new adblocker browser I’m using isn’t letting me change the spelling of counsel. Oh well, still worth it.

    ReplyReply
  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Hmmm….no sycophants commenting.
    I guess Fox hasn’t told them what to think, yet.

    ReplyReply
    3
    2
  17. CSK says:

    Trump called Cohen a weak, stupid person. When asked why he would hire such an individual, Trump responded that Cohen did him a favor long ago.

    ReplyReply
  18. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You’d think a self-described germophobe like El Dennison would like to be far away when the stuff hits the fan, yes?

    BTW, the bad news for El Cheeto is he can’t fire his VP, no matter how much he wants to.

    ReplyReply
  19. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    Eric is probably the weakest and stupidest. No that that says much.

    ReplyReply
  20. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    Eric is probably the weakest and stupidest.

    Hmm. This is like one of those reality shows. Who turns on his family and friends faster: the weak and stupid one or the smart(er) one? Everyone knows the first to turn gets the best deal.

    ReplyReply
  21. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    True, but Eric strikes me as the most likely to fold quickly. He’d be easy to intimidate.

    ReplyReply
  22. mattbernius says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Of course, the hard core Trumpers will never change their tune. Look at our resident pack of idiots that comment here.

    I for one am personally looking forward to Tyrell’s down-home folksy reflection on this latest development.

    I wonder what song lyric he will carefully curate…

    I also look forward to the amount of stretching the rest are going to have to do to find a “whataboutism” that will handwave this one away.

    ReplyReply
  23. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Cohen has done what no Republican in Congress has yet to do; he has put country above his fealty to Dennison.

    I suspect Cohen is mostly motivated by spite, not love of country. It’s a fine motivator to make someone do the right thing.

    Cohen’s statements about how he would take a bullet for Trump were always transactional — Trump had to treat him well to keep that loyalty. But, Trump’s gonna Trump.

    ReplyReply
  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:

    I for one am personally looking forward to Tyrell’s down-home folksy reflection on this latest development.

    Remember when we had real quality criminals? Legendary characters like Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger, Capone, Luciano. We need to get back to those days.
    /snark

    ReplyReply
    12
  25. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: It boggles the mind that people have kept interacting with Trump even though it is totally obvious that he’s only in the shindig for himself, that he demands “loyalty” from all those around him, but never thinks he has to play fair back. How many times do you have to be used and abused before you walk away from the relationship? And how many times do you have to notice happening to other people before you start demanding hard cash on the barrel before any delivery whatsoever?

    Remember guys, narcs gotta narc.

    ReplyReply
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I remember when real newscasters like Walter Winchell gave us insightful commentary about what real, classic American traitors were doing, like Benedict Arnold. We would listen to him as we gathered around our wood cabineted radio while drinking Ovaltine.

    ReplyReply
  27. Kathy says:

    Another thing for Dennison to consider: He can’t trade information on anyone else for a reduced sentence; he is it.

    ReplyReply
  28. Teve says:

    Of course, the hard core Trumpers will never change their tune. Look at our resident pack of idiots that comment here. It’s not like they are going to have a revelation. I’ve long said that Trumpers most closely resemble Marion Barry’s supporters. For those younger than dirt, Marion Barry was a Mayor of DC – obviously corrupt, obviously constantly spewing BS, who was elected by fiercely loyal residents who felt that he was unfairly attacked by the power structure because he defended the little guy and wasn’t afraid to take them on. Then he was arrested and a videotape released of him literally smoking crack with a prostitute. And his believers? Stayed loyal till the day he died. Insisted that it was a frame up.

    Sadly, Trump’s caused way more damage to everyone than Barry, but yeah, similar blind sycophancy.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  29. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It boggles the mind that people have kept interacting with Trump even though it is totally obvious that he’s only in the shindig for himself

    This is a bit of a side comment, but it is tangentially relevant to why people get suckered by these bloviating types. Someone I know, a professor at a major university, and a pretty smart and level headed person, asked me to sit in on this pitch one of her (older) students was making. Suffice it to say, he talked a lot, big ideas, about how
    “the current system” was so screwed up and how they were going to make so much money just by doing things in the sensible way, eliminate the middle man, and on and on and on. Bottom line, what he was saying made no sense. And if he had indeed discovered some magic, it wasn’t because he understood things at any kind of a deep level. He claimed they had already signed up business worth many tens of millions of dollars, that they had agreements with major companies, blah, blah, blah. And so it turns out through the magic of Google that this guy had been involved in a major fraud about 20 years ago, and was actually tried and convicted, but was granted a retrial on a technicality. It doesn’t appear that retrial ever took place (Why? Who knows. This was Florida.) When we learned this and were discussing it between the two of us, she said “I had trouble following everything he said, but I thought it might just be because he was much more familiar with the area than I.” She was lucky. She was already suspicious because he was bragging about one thing she did know a lot about: Investment money for startups. It was easy. He had access to tons of money. But as anyone can tell you that works in the Med Dev arena, that would be an extremely anomalous situation. And my suspicions were not because of any special knowledge but because I couldn’t make his numbers add up, and whenever I tried to pin him down about it he would kind of repeat half my question back to me, throw in a few buzz words, and then go off on a tangent.

    I think that’s why people get suckered. They think maybe they don’t understand the deal but there are lots of things they don’t understand and he’s been so successful in the past, he lives such a big life, etc. I guess the advantage to me is that I’m an arrogant prick of an engineer. I figure I can understand almost anything, and the things I can’t are best avoided if they involve me investing money.

    ReplyReply
  30. Teve says:

    I remember when real newscasters like Walter Winchell gave us insightful commentary about what real, classic American traitors were doing, like Benedict Arnold. We would listen to him as we gathered around our wood cabineted radio while drinking Ovaltine.

    Trump wants a government news channel.

    You can be sure plenty of tards his supporters will be cool with that.

    ReplyReply
  31. wr says:

    @CSK: “Trump responded that Cohen did him a favor long ago.”

    I saw that clip on TV. I swear I thought he was going to say Cohen pulled a thorn out of his paw once…

    ReplyReply
  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I think average people desperately want not to be average, so when someone comes along and flatters them, tells them they’re secretly much smarter than all those pointy-headed types, that they are the ‘real’ and ‘true’ and ‘authentic’ Americans it’s exactly like when those same people are told they’re going to have eternal life because God loves them, unlikeall those X, Y and Z types. Everyone wants to be special. 80% of humans fall in the middle of the bell curve (by definition) but 0% want to admit it. Everyone wants to be on the far right side of the big bulge and that’s not possible.

    The thing all conmen know is that people want to be significant, to be cool, to be superior, so flattery sucks them in, and by the time they realize they’ve been suckered they’ve already spent months or years talking up the guy who fleeced them. That’s the second thing conmen know: most of their victims won’t report them out of embarrassment.

    People are lied to because they want to be lied to. It doesn’t matter to them that they are building their self-image on a lie, because the lie allows them a false sense of superiority and as they have no chance at a legitimate claim of superiority, they grab at it. And are used, abused and cleaned out by people just a notch smarter than they are.

    This is the disconnect with Trump voters. He’s just a notch smarter than his suckers, but so obviously phony and incompetent and dishonest to more intelligent people that there is zero chance of Trump ever expanding beyond the nasty and the needy. He’s McDonalds in an age when no one who can manage to go anywhere else will choose to go to McDonalds. The lowest common denominator conman.

    ReplyReply
  33. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Remember when we had real quality criminals? Legendary characters like Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger, Capone, Luciano. We need to get back to those days.
    /Tyrell

    FTFY

    ReplyReply
  34. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Trump called Cohen a weak, stupid person.

    Takes one to know one?

    Dennison claims Cohen is lying to get a reduced sentence. I wouldn’t put Cohen above such a thing, but I’d put Mueller well above being taken in by lies. He’d have cross checked with other testimony, and he’d demand corroborating evidence like plane tickets, people he spoke with, hotel receipts, etc.

    I’m under no illusion that prosecutors want to find out the truth rather than to put people away. But at Mueller’s level, he must be used to dealing in court with people represented by high-caliber lawyers. He can’t just put up unsupported testimony in front of a jury, and keep his fingers crossed that the defense won’t poke it full of holes.

    Regardless of who represents El Cheeto, Mueller’s report will be examined minutely by both political parties, news organizations, and tons of interested people. He knows this, and he won’t put up a flawed report.

    ReplyReply
  35. Kylopod says:

    A walk down memory lane, from a tweetstorm in April:

    The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/donald-trump-is-clearly-worried-that-michael-cohen-might-flip/

    This is going to get really fun.

    ReplyReply
  36. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    Regardless of who represents El Cheeto, Mueller’s report will be examined minutely by both political parties, news organizations, and tons of interested people. He knows this, and he won’t put up a flawed report.

    This will not prevent the Republicans from finding flaws in it though.

    And, no report is ever without flaws — no human endeavor is. There will be some mistake, somewhere, likely of no material importance, and that will be what the Republicans use to try to discredit the whole thing.

    I’m betting it will be related to an Oxford comma.

    ReplyReply
  37. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Regardless of specific con methods, classes on critical thinking skills should be taught every semester from elementary school through high school. I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks back on their life and can feel the lack.

    ReplyReply
  38. Guarneri says:

    LOL.

    Cohen. I’m a liar, just not this time when I can get my ass out of trouble. Trust me.

    Mueller. Good by me. I just wish those other guys I asked to lie would see the light……

    ReplyReply
    22
  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Oh, Grandpa, you showed up. The day when you disappear because you won’t be able to bring yourself to admit that I was 100% right, approaches.

    ReplyReply
    11
    2
  40. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m betting it will be related to an Oxford comma.

    , and how!

    ReplyReply
  41. Mister Bluster says:

    Trust me…Mueller.

    Mueller is not stupid like the worshippers of President Puke.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Michael, you will win, but sadly in this type of bet I’m afraid you’ll be drinking your own scotch. I’ll tell you what. Since it is an absence that will indicate the moment of truth, what say you call it? Wait for a night when he’s been gone what you judge a sufficient duration and it seems a lot of regulars are around, declare victory, and we will all toast each other with our own poison of choice.

    ReplyReply
  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Let me just jump in right here for Pearce and say that the next DEM president will just want to turn the page and move on from this dark chapter of American history.

    And you know what? I suspect there is an 80-90% chance that is exactly what will happen. I won’t agree with it any more than when Obama did it, I’ll understand why, but I still won’t agree. There is a cancer in America but it is not going to heal itself. Pretending we can ignore it won’t make it go away.

    ReplyReply
    9
    3
  44. CSK says:

    @wr:

    Yeah, I’d love to know the nature of that favor Cohen did Trump. Must have been a biiiiiiig one, given that Cohen worked for Trump from 2006 till May 2018.

    ReplyReply
  45. Hal_10000 says:

    BTW: Buzzfeed is claiming that Trump wanted to give Putin the $50 million penthouse in the Moscow Trump tower. You have to wonder, at some point, who’s bribing who.

    ReplyReply
  46. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: Just what how is this Cohen, a person in New York, connected to Russia interference in the elections?
    How about this Jerome Corsi guy? Agent Mueller is trying to put him away simply because he forgot about some minor information that crossed his path some years ago. This is way out of bounds and out of control. This is the kind of stuff that is concerning. My memory is not so great either. Just what how is this Cohen, a person in New York, connected to Russia interference in the elections? This is concerning. My memory is not so great either.
    “Playing solitaire til dawn with a deck of 51, smokin’ cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo; now don’t tell me I’ve nothing to do” (Statler Brothers)
    Chris Hayes? You have to be kidding.

    ReplyReply
    1
    17
  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell:

    My memory is not so great either.

    Me neither! Why just the other day I got an email from an old Russian mob buddy of mine talking about a guy we did a hit on back in ’06. I had forgotten ALL ABOUT HIM!!! I can’t be expected to remember every single guy I had a part in killing. You know, after a while they all meld together!

    ETA: and yes, I’ve painted a lot of houses.

    ReplyReply
  48. Mister Bluster says:

    My memory is not so great either.

    No kidding! Have you had to give up the car keys yet?

    ReplyReply
  49. NW Steve says:

    @Tyrell:

    Just what how is this Cohen, a person in New York, connected to Russia interference in the elections?

    There are a few new-fangled things you might want to look into if you’d like to understand this:

    1. Airplanes
    2. Telephones
    3. The internet, e-mail, and all of that …
    4. Instantaneous and easy international transfer of money

    ReplyReply
    15
  50. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “Just what how is this Cohen, a person in New York, connected to Russia interference in the elections?”

    Gosh, if I didn’t know better I’d suspect that when you keep repeating “this Cohen, a person in New York,” what you’re really saying is JEW JEW JEW!!!

    Aside from that, though, there are amazing new inventions these days. Like aeroplanes that fly even across the oceans, allowing someone in New York to visit Russia. And telephones, which allow someone in New York to talk to someone in Russia even without being there.

    ReplyReply
    10
  51. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Let me just jump in right here for Pearce and say that the next DEM president will just want to turn the page and move on from this dark chapter of American history.

    Let me just jump in right here, as Pearce, and say WTF, dude?

    ReplyReply
    1
    6
  52. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    but I still won’t agree

    I wouldn’t be so quick to go there. Let’s say that that was the cost for an early exit by Trump. Feds leave him and his kids alone.

    Right after the election I said “I don’t see how this is sustainable but I don’t see any realistic way to end it before disaster.” For disaster, read war, economic collapse or something equally bad. But for the first time, I see a sliver of a pathway here. Trump never had any friends, but what he does have is literally thousands and thousands of enemies, inside politics and out. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were 10,000 people who would stick the shiv into his bloated stomach if they sensed he was weakening. And something that got lost in the tsunami of Trump related news was a moment where he looked weak. Not so weak the knives will come out, but enough that people who hate him will start paying attention. This morning, getting into the helicopter, he told the world the meeting with Putin was still on. An hour later his press office announced it was off. He looked like he had been told what to do. Now I’m not making any predictions. Certainly, on the political front, we would need a good number of Republicans willing to make a run at him (not in the impeachment sense, but in the “go to Nixon and lay down the law” sense), and the Republicans are a bunch of cowards and immoral thugs. But still, at least I see a path forward. I truly believe if he gets physically ill, or if he appears whiny or old-man-ish on television, his enemies will come for him. And if Trump feels that people could get at his money, he will fold. He will plead health issues and resign in return for a pardon from Pence and an agreement that the Feds will leave him some money.

    In order to get that sweaty little hand away from the nuclear trigger, I would be willing to pay that price.

    Now, everyone else that’s been exposed by the investigations, and all the corrupt and incompetent Trump Trash that’s been shoved into every government department? Yeah, let the wolves out.

    ReplyReply
  53. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    in return for a pardon from Pence

    Pence doesn’t strike me as the sort to commit political suicide.

    ReplyReply
  54. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    He will plead health issues and resign in return for a pardon from Pence and an agreement that the Feds will leave him some money.

    He should have enough money to live in Siberia 🙂

    I like your narrative. But I mistrust all narratives. I know first-hand how logical and plausible it feels when one is crafting it. And it doesn’t ring true from what we know about el Cheeto.

    I hope he goes away soon, but I doubt he’ll leave before January 2021.

    ReplyReply
  55. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    BTW…this all confirms another point in the Steele Dossier.
    There is plenty still unconfirmed…but I don’t think anything has been disproved.

    ReplyReply
  56. Pylon says:

    Hey, Tyrell. What do you suppose Felix Sater has to do with Russia? Oh, wait, just everything.

    ReplyReply
  57. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Tyrell:

    My memory is not so great either.

    and neither is my logic or critical thinking

    ReplyReply
  58. One American says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I just shake my head at your crazy talk, may your dreams come true someday before your head explodes.

    ReplyReply
  59. One American says:

    @Michael Reynolds: is that what you did>

    ReplyReply
  60. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    I know first-hand how logical and plausible it feels when one is crafting it.

    Couldn’t agree more. And I guess I wasn’t clear enough that this wasn’t a prediction.

    ReplyReply
  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: You have a penchant for tearing down anything and everything DEMs try to do and the motivations behind their actions. BUT… Every now and again you hit on something you are right to criticize.

    ReplyReply
  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: A limited form of amnesty in which all the underlings go to prison but the leader of the racketeer influenced and corrupt organization goes free? How American.

    ReplyReply
  63. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yep. Pretty much exactly like Watergate. As someone once said, this is “Stupid Watergate”.

    ReplyReply
  64. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Back when I used to be in NOLA for Mardi Gras, inevitably some *sshole would whip it out on a third floor balcony and piss on the crowd below. Although I recognize that occasionally, just by chance, he would get a few drops on someone who deserved it, I can tell you without reservation that congratulating him on that accomplishment is a bad policy.

    ReplyReply
  65. Barry says:

    @Kylopod: “Pence doesn’t strike me as the sort to commit political suicide.”

    If it gets to that point, Pence is in the same position that Gerald Ford was in. There’d be no way that the GOP would win in ‘20. He’d be a caretaker president (and pulling down bribes like mad).

    ReplyReply
  66. mattbernius says:

    Adam Sciff raised a key point on Twitter:

    Last year, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Cohen’s outreach on the Trump Tower Moscow deal received no response. As Cohen’s plea demonstrates, they lied. They helped Trump by providing false corroboration. This is a counterintelligence nightmare.

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/30/politics/russia-peskov-trump-lawyer-email/index.html

    Hmm, so apparently the Kremlin also decided to craft their public statements to match what candidate Trump was saying.

    ReplyReply
  67. mattbernius says:

    @Hal_10000:

    BTW: Buzzfeed is claiming that Trump wanted to give Putin the $50 million penthouse in the Moscow Trump tower. You have to wonder, at some point, who’s bribing who.

    On that point, Former Russian Amassador Michal McFaul notes that if this is true “Offering such a bribe violates not only Russian law, but American law: the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) : https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act

    But rest assured, Trump had no connection with Putin before he was elected. I mean Trump told us that was true, right?

    ReplyReply
  68. Kylopod says:

    @Barry:

    If it gets to that point, Pence is in the same position that Gerald Ford was in. There’d be no way that the GOP would win in ‘20.

    How’s that the same position Ford was in? Ford killed his popularity after the Nixon pardon, and even then he only lost the ’76 election by a hair. If Pence has anything to learn from that episode, it’s that his best bet for retaining power in the event of a Trump implosion is not to issue a pardon.

    ReplyReply
  69. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: Perhaps–but keeping in mind how loyal Trump’s support base is, if Pence *doesn’t* issue a pardon, there’s a possibility that he’d lose those voters–angry that he didn’t do what he could to help Trump out.

    It’s an unenviable position for him to be in, if we ever get to that point.

    ReplyReply
  70. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: You’re reminding me of the time I was talking to a bank about getting a mortgage and asked for an explanation of some of the more exotic mortgages.

    I couldn’t figure out how to make the math work out.

    Quickly decided that if I, a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, couldn’t figure out what was going on, there was no way I was going to sign up for one of the dratted things. Went for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage instead. (Shortly after that the real estate market crashed, so I did sort of catch a falling knife, but I figure that’s the price of being able to own my very own place, paint the walls something other than white, put in wooden flooring and making sure I have real shelving on the walls that isn’t the standard wire basketty stuff that pulls out of drywall.)

    Sometimes arrogance is useful.

    ReplyReply
  71. Mikey says:

    Things are looking bad for Don Jr.

    NEW: Donald Trump Jr. testified to Congress that the Trump Organization’s negotiations to develop a Trump Tower Moscow ended at the end of 2014.

    But that conflicts with Michael Cohen, who said in a guilty plea the negotiations continued well into 2016.

    https://twitter.com/nprpolitics/status/1068541414131126272

    ReplyReply
  72. mattbernius says:

    rut roh…

    https://www.npr.org/2018/11/30/672188201/trump-jr-s-2017-testimony-conflicts-with-cohen-s-account-of-russian-talks

    Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to Congress about his family’s real estate negotiations with powerful Russians does not comport with the new version laid out by Donald Trump’s ex-attorney Michael Cohen, official transcripts show.

    Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that although there had been negotiations surrounding a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, they concluded without result “at the end” of 2014.

    “But not in 2015 or 2016?” Trump Jr. was asked.

    “Certainly not ’16,” he said. “There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue.”

    ReplyReply
  73. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    Ok so Julian Sanchez notes that his account in the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation final report was more nuanced:

    If you look at the HPSCI report, you actually find Don Jr. was MORE accurate about the date than Cohen, saying that his understanding as of June 2016 was that the deal was defunct, though HPSCI takes Cohen’s (false) word it ended months sadlier.

    https://twitter.com/normative/status/1068550542950113280

    So there is more than enough wiggle room in that statement to negate the other testimony.

    ReplyReply
  74. Mike in Arlington says:

    @NW Steve: The internet? You’re just making that up!

    ReplyReply
  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Hey! Don’t dis Ovaltine! Ovaltine and hot milk mixes with rye whiskey (or rum) really well. I like chocolate malt best, but original works well, too.

    ReplyReply
  76. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, I wish that schools were teaching more critical thinking, too. The current version in my state is the teacher who tells the students “when I want your opinion, I’ll tell you what it is” and the parents who recommend said teacher for Teacher of the Year because “she’s so good and teaching students how to think.”

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: It’s who you’re known as–a contrarian for contradiction’s sake.

    ReplyReply
  78. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: OK, now I think I’m gonna be sick….

    ReplyReply
  79. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think it would be useful to make Sagan’s “The Demon Hunted World” mandatory reading in schools.

    Past that, why isn’t cognition taught in schools? I took some psychology in social science studies in high school, and psychology courses in college, and none ever mentioned the fallibility of perception, memory, logical fallacies, or the various types of flawed reasoning.

    ReplyReply
  80. mattbernius says:

    Following up on @Mikey & @mattbernius:

    NRP has corrected the story and said they got the reporting wrong:

    Updated at 4 p.m. ET

    Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report mischaracterized an answer Donald Trump Jr. gave to Senate investigators in 2017 about the prospective projects his family was negotiating with people in Moscow.

    The story reported that Trump Jr.’s response — that negotiations on one project concluded by the end of 2014 — contrasted with the version of events as laid out in the guilty plea by Michael Cohen on Thursday. In fact, Trump Jr. and investigators were alluding to a different set of negotiations — not to a deal that Cohen was reportedly pursuing. Trump Jr. did acknowledge in his testimony that Cohen and another man were exploring a possible deal in Moscow in 2015 or 2016.

    Trump Jr. did not address what Cohen has now admitted — that talks about such a deal continued at least into June 2016, longer than previously known and well into the presidential campaign.

    Posted here for accuracy.

    ReplyReply
  81. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: This is like a comment made many many years ago by the late great Steve Gilliard, pointing out that one of the problems Giuliani would have running for POTUS was the immense number of people in NYC who would take great delight in sticking a shiv in.

    With Trump, it was more like “oh, he’s the crazy uncle” and taking his candidacy for laughs while all the rest took each other out in the crossfire.

    ReplyReply
  82. Tyrell says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Cohen is possibly a diversion. Or most likely they are putting him away where he can’t talk.
    See “Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein connection”

    ReplyReply
  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    Past that, why isn’t cognition taught in schools?

    My guess would be that people who understand cognition well enough to intelligently teach about it are few enough in number so that it’s probably difficult to locate one’s who will willingly put up with the bs (from all sources–students, local and state administration, and community) involved with being middle school or high school teachers.

    Beyond that, most states stopped offering social science electives (as mediocre as they were when I was in school 50 years ago) in the 80s and 90s as states reacted to budget contractions by balancing their budgets on the back of the education system because that’s where the big bucks are (or at least were–back in the 60s, almost 50% of Washington States budget was spent on K-16 education). Additionally, considering that “knowledge is power,” many segments of various communities are leary of putting “power” of any kind into the hands of “the wrong people” (make of that what you will). Limiting curiosity and access to diverse ideas is a good way to control that potential problem.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*