Lame predictable responses from Trump under increasing pressure

Donald Trump is facing increasing pressures after Paul Manafort and especially Michael Cohen are now guilty of fairly serious crimes, and face years in prison. Manafort was locked up before his trial, and Cohen has made an agreement with prosecutors of a 4-6 year prison sentence.

Manafort has kept a distance between his problems and Trump, and Trump has done likewise.

Not so Cohen, who along with his lawyer has directly implicated Trump in electoral crime. So Trump has been predictable in attacking Cohen on Twitter in response, attack is his usual form of defence.

I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!

A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case. Witch Hunt!

The ‘witch hunt’ claims are getting stale. Eight guilty verdicts, on top of other successes, are signs of a successful Mueller investigation so far.

Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!

Either ignorance or lying about the campaign finance violations, and then the usual diversion to another target.

Mueller and various investigators won’t care about what Trump tweets, unless they gather than as further evidence. The President is flailing futilely on Twitter.

Fox News kept cheerleading Trump yesterday on Twitter and via sycophants like Hannity, but also looked at the serious side of what Trump faces.

Their current headline article:

Will Cohen’s bombshell admissions sink Trump? Here’s what top legal experts say

UNCOMMON PLEAS

Will Cohen’s bombshell admissions sink Trump? Here’s what top legal experts say

Michael Cohen’s plea deal chucked a live political grenade into the debate over President Trump’s legal exposure – but that debate is far from settled, as experts clash over whether his implication of the president in campaign finance violations will amount to anything.

The president’s former longtime personal attorney and self-described “fixer” entered a guilty plea with federal prosecutors on Tuesday, admitting to violating campaign finance laws by arranging hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal “at the direction” of then-candidate Trump.

Trump, though, claimed the move to pay off the two women was not a crime — while suggesting such allegations can be settled by fine.

Trump has now notably not denied the payments were made, and has switched to claiming it isn’t a crime and it can be easily settled.

But Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, argued there is little room for interpretation here.

“There is no question that he’s committed a federal crime,” Davis told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Wednesday. He also argued that it’s never been settled whether a sitting president can be indicted, despite suggestions to the contrary from Trump allies.

Davis added that his client, under oath on Tuesday, admitted to making the “donations to keep quiet two women” at Trump’s direction.

Mr. Trump wasn’t willing to sign those checks himself. He directed Mr. Cohen to make those hush money payments, [which is] a federal crime,” Davis said. “If Michael Cohen agreed to that, then certainly Donald Trump is guilty of the same crime.”

But Fox found people who backed Trump’s claim.

But former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, Hans von Spakovsky, said that Cohen’s decision to plead guilty does not necessarily mean Trump violated the law.

“This is not a violation because this was not a campaign-related offense,” Spakovsky told Fox News on Wednesday. “Yes, Cohen pleaded guilty to it, yeah Cohen paid it, but then Cohen was reimbursed by Trump.”

The plea deal states that the payments were in fact meant to influence the election, though that could be argued by Trump’s lawyers if it ever came to that. Spakovsky said Trump had a history of making these kinds of payments before he was a candidate.

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a frequent defender of the president, made a similar argument.

“You have to show that it’s a crime,” he told “Fox & Friends.” He said it’s “not a crime” for a candidate like Trump to contribute to his own campaign, and probably not even a crime to direct someone else to contribute if he plans to pay that back.

Further, Dershowitz said, “The only evidence that the president did anything that might be unlawful … comes from a man who’s admitted to be a liar.”

“There are a lot of barriers,” he said, “We’re far away from [an] impeachable offense or a criminal offense on the part of the president.”

Still, at this stage, it doesn’t look flash for Trump. His denials keep changing as information is revealed.

Who can trust Trump’s claims there was ‘no collusion’. He’s well known as a liar, and has just been proven to have lied again over the hush money.

Richard Painter, former White House chief ethics counsel under former President George W. Bush, said that while Cohen’s guilty plea gives Trump “exposure” to criminal prosecution, these types of cases “can be difficult to win.”

“It is not entirely clear how these cases turn out, as we found out with Edwards,” Painter told Fox News. He added, though, that he felt the Cohen-Trump payments were “more serious” than former President Bill Clinton lying about Monica Lewinsky, as “campaign finance is more important to our democracy than the president lying under oath in a civil case.”

Painter added that while there is “potential criminal liability,” it is “not cut and dry.” He suggested Trump’s problems go beyond Cohen.

“If you had a president with no other legal problems, who just had the Cohen problem, I would say the outcome of a criminal trial for Trump, based on that alone, is a maybe, maybe not situation,” Painter explained.

“But Trump’s problem is not just this. He has the whole Russia thing. He has two big problems. One, is what his own involvement or knowledge of collusion was, and the second, where he has much more exposure, and is digging his own grave, is obstruction of justice.”

The Paul Manafort guilty verdicts were distant enough to Trump’s campaign to be easy to dismiss as just a poor choice of campaign manager – if they were the only thing in the news.

But added to the Cohen please and claims, and all the other guilty please and bargaining, Trump’s legal problems are snowballing. His persistent lying peppers the snowball with stones.

Professor of law at George Washington University Jonathan Turley, though, said Trump could end up an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Cohen matter.

On Wednesday, he agreed that the Cohen plea alone would not make “a particularly strong case,” but suggested there’s more to come.

“You have the president’s lawyer implicating him in a federal crime. How Trump responds to that is going to be very key,” Turley said on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday. “But the Justice Department certifies that they believe these allegations are accurate. That should be quite chilling, because this isn’t some immaculate crime committed by Cohen alone.”

Turley said that federal prosecutors, now, will likely pursue other “collateral or central players.”

This is only an escalation in legal exposure for Trump. The snowball keeps growing, and his tweets are legally impotent, and potentially legally damaging.

40 Comments

  1. lurcher1948

     /  August 23, 2018

    LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP, wait something wrong here

    • David

       /  August 23, 2018

      Yup it was that the lead investigator was a desperate Hilary supporter, now fired.

  2. David

     /  August 23, 2018

    Cohen has pleaded guilty to a campaign violation but a small wrinkle for my excitable friends he hasnt been convicted in a court so just because he has called it a crime doesnt mean its a crime.
    Think of all the millions of people who have pleaded guilty and done a deal with the prosecution who have then gone on and failed to secure a conviction against their target…Oh hang on members of Hilary,s staff re her personal server springs to mind.
    If there was a violation given the notoriously complicated campaign finance laws securing a conviction even with rock solid evidence aint easy…see John Edwards. And lets see what the punishment is for violations.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/01/07/obama-campaign-fined-big-for-hiding-donors-keeping-illegal-donations

    Not a good day for Trump but not a slam dunk for team “Impeach 45”

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  August 23, 2018

      Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations

      Cohen also said under oath that he was doing so at the direction of the president himself

      These crimes were carried out to prevent damaging information about the affairs with Daniels and McDougal from surfacing during the campaign. In other words payments were made in order to influence the 2016 presidential election

      If Cohen’s claims are true then trump is an undicted co-conspirator in violations plural of campaign finance law. If true then trump is also an unindicted co-conspirator in a conspiracy to hide those violations.

      trump’s real estate company authorized paying US$420,000 to Cohen in his effort to silence women during the presidential campaign and then relied on “sham” invoices from Cohen that concealed the nature of the payments – that deliberate concealment may also result in charges for RICO violations

      The false equivalency to an Obama campaign finance violation is nothing but a smokescreen. Obama has nothing to do with this, and missing a reporting deadline is not the same thing as a felony conspiracy to hide an illegal contribution.

      You need to be very clear: trump would have been indicted yesterday if he wasn’t president.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  August 23, 2018

        “A few things are clear. A candidate is free to contribute to his or her own campaign. It also is not criminal for a candidate to pay hush money to women whose disclosures might endanger his campaign. So if candidate Trump paid hush money to his two accusers, there would be no violation of any campaign or other laws. To be sure, if he did so for the purpose of helping his campaign — as distinguished from helping his marriage — his campaign would have to disclose any such contribution, and failure to do so might be a violation of a campaign law, but the payments themselves would be entirely lawful.”

        http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/403072-did-president-trump-violate-campaign-finance-laws

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  August 23, 2018

          but trump didn’t pay hush money to the women. He paid money under false pretenses to Cohen using fake invoices to hide the money trail.

          then trump lied about the payments

          We KNOW that he did this to help his campaign (ref. the Cohen tape) and we KNOW that they didn’t report it (ref. the FEC records).

          Dershowitz knows what he’s doing too. He’s obfuscating and misdirecting for BLOTUS.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  August 23, 2018

        “Failure to report all campaign contributions is fairly common in political campaigns. Moreover, the offense is committed not by the candidate but, rather, by the campaign and is generally subject to a fine. Though it is wrong, it certainly is not the kind of high crime and misdemeanor that could serve as the basis for a constitutionally authorized impeachment and removal of a duly elected president.

        Moreover, prosecutors should be reluctant to rely on the uncorroborated word of a guilty defendant who pleaded guilty to lying and defrauding. Thomas Jefferson once observed that a criminal statute, to be fairly enforceable, must be so clear that it can be understood by the average person who reads it “while running.” Jefferson did not mean while running for office; he meant that a criminal statute should not be subject to varying reasonable interpretations.”

        • Griff.fic and will spend out his days in a nice quite cell

           /  August 23, 2018

          Oh dear
          last week it was he did not pay money at all.
          Now its he did but that ok .
          You trumpets change your story’s daily as more bullshite comes out .

          Here is how I see it
          Cohen made a plea deal because he was well aware of what he was facing.
          What he plead on was something so well supported that there is no way he could avoid a conviction.
          As Cohen has come out and implicated Trump under oath I guarantee that, as the man is a weasel lawyer, he can support his allegations well beyond just his word.
          At some stage in the next few years Trump will no longer be president .
          This shite and much much more will be waiting for him in courts around the USA .
          Trump will be doing time.

  3. The unenviable task of Trump’s media spokesperson.

    • Corky

       /  August 23, 2018

      A corporate job of her choosing with a blank check awaits this women after she leaves politics.

      • Corky

         /  August 23, 2018

        *cheque*

        • Patzcuaro

           /  August 23, 2018

          A tobacco company for example

          • Corky

             /  August 23, 2018

            I don’t get your dig. Please explain.

            • Patzcuaro

               /  August 23, 2018

              She doesn’t have a problem working for organisations with few scruples.

            • Griff.fic and will spend out his days in a nice quite cell

               /  August 23, 2018

              We know you dont considering you claimed Fred Singer is a reputable climate scientist a few days ago.
              https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/S._Fred_Singer
              He was exactly the same sort of shrill for Tobacco company’s as he is for the oil industry.
              I suggest you read merchants of doupt .
              But I am also aware you live in an alternate universe inside your own head tho dont have much hope anything will penetrate its dense defenses.

    • David

       /  August 23, 2018

      Its a great job, she must have such a laugh doing it. Imagine being Obama,s press secretary “Good morning WH press corps, attached is the news you might want to report today and we have prepared some stuff you can copy and paste, any questions..nope, ok thank you everyone will see you all again tomorrow”.

      • Corky

         /  August 23, 2018

        Lol..that’s the excitement awaiting the next presidents media spokesperson. Talk by numbers. No thinking required.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 23, 2018

      Her answer was not an answer; the reporter had asked a question, not made an accusation. Her kneejerk response spoke volumes. A simple yes or no would have been the proper answer to this. He either did or he didn’t., which was it ?

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  August 23, 2018

    In the history of the American republic, there has never before been a single hour in which, in two separate courts, in cases prosecuted by two separate offices, a president’s former campaign manager and his former lawyer simultaneously joined his former national security adviser as felons—and one of them implicated the president in criminal activity.

    the convictions obtained Tuesday create a remarkable moment, one that interacts inevitably and deeply with major national security investigations—and that places stress on a presidency, and presidential personality, in a fashion that inevitably poses national security concerns.

    Yes, only one portion of Cohen’s criminal conduct and none of the charges on which Manafort was convicted connect directly to President Trump. But the parade of greed and the continuous criminal conduct on the part of two people closely associated with Trump and his campaign sheds disturbing light on who the president regards as appropriate top aides and associates. That Trump himself continues to express sympathy with Manafort, not outrage at his conduct, further undermines confidence in his judgment of character.

    Presidential judgment matters. In a week dominated by headlines about the president’s real and threatened revocation of security clearances of current and former officials who have criticized him, take a moment to consider the individuals the president has favored with trust and confidence, as well as those to whom he has denied it.

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-michael-cohens-plea-and-paul-manaforts-conviction-mean-trump-and-mueller-investigation

    • David

       /  August 23, 2018

      I am guessing the writer was born after the Clinton presidency and missed how many of his cohorts did jail time, he also gained in popularity after they tried to impeach him.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  August 23, 2018

        You guess? Is that the sum extent of your insights? You guess???

        LOLOL – you gotta try harder David.

        One of the *four* writers is Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, and co-chair of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law. Wittes was born in the 1960s.

        I’m “guessing” just by himself Wittes knows a fuck-tonne more about this subject than you or I ever will.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  August 23, 2018

          You have such a delicate turn of phrase, Joe, dear.

          I’m guessing that you are right about Wittes.

  5. Patzcuaro

     /  August 23, 2018

    Witch Hunt at the White House

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 23, 2018

    The other side of the case seems to be put well here:
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/trump-hush-money-payments-came-from-me-would-be-dicey-otherwise

    Since Trump self-funded his campaign it will be hard to argue the money didn’t come from him. Obviously Mueller has forced the worst possible interpretation out of Cohen but that doesn’t mean it will stand up in court as Cohen wasn’t in the decision-making position.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  August 23, 2018

      Wiki on the Washinton Examiner

      “The publication now known as The Washington Examiner began its life as a handful of suburban news outlets known as the Journal Newspapers, distributed only in the suburbs of Washington, under the titles of Montgomery Journal, Prince George’s Journal, and Northern Virginia Journal.[8] Philip Anschutz purchased the parent company, Journal Newspapers Inc., in October 2004.”

      “When Anschutz first started the Examiner in its daily newspaper format, he envisioned creating a competitor to The Washington Post with a conservative editorial line. According to Politico, “When it came to the editorial page, Anschutz’s instructions were explicit—he ‘wanted nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers,’ said one former employee.” “

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  August 23, 2018

      Alan’s link is a waste of self-serving ducking for cover by david pecker.

      The Examiner is run by pecker a long-time mate of BLOTUS, who conspired with BLOTUS and Cohen to KILLthe stories both women had to tell.

      Pecker turned the Examiner and its cover over to the trump machine and Pecker is the third leg of the Cohen-trump conspiracy to hide the pay-offs and influence the 2016 election.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 23, 2018

        Joe, do you think that someone wrote ‘Trump’s pecker problem’ on purpose ? 😀 😀 😀

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 23, 2018

      When you can’t argue your case on merit go ad hominem – always the loony Left’s first option.

      • Griff.fic and will spend out his days in a nice quite cell

         /  August 23, 2018

        When you can’t argue your case on merit go ad hominem – always the loony Left’s first option.

        Alan
        You destroy your case when you make base less insupportable ad hominems. exactly what you claim others are doing.
        I have seen no evidence that Joe is a loony lefty whatever.
        Opposing Trump does not make you a lefty.
        Trump and those who support him have lied over this issue repeatably.
        You would have to be some sort of gibbering smegwit to believe the ever changing story’s from trump and his supporters over this issue .

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 23, 2018

          I just judge on actions, Griff. See above.

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  August 23, 2018

            I just judge on actions

            therein lies the problem. You judge on identity politics, not on actions.

            You swallow any excuse and ignore every malfeasance from trump.
            And you don’t argue cases on merit – you go ad hom with everyone whose opinion differs from your own

            face it, Rosebud, like trump you’re great on psychological projecting.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 23, 2018

              Bs as usual, Joe. You lept to the ad hominem. Don’t lie to yourself as well as us.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  August 23, 2018

      Alan your (and HFD’s) argument seems to be that if trump was involved in the payment, then it would be a lawful donation because there are no limits on what a candidate can contribute to his own campaign. This ignores a number of things:

      Cohen was reimbursed for his campaign payments by the Trump Organization, not the candidate himself

      That’s why Cohen pleaded guilty to facilitating an illegal corporate contribution. trump as the head of the Trump Organization, is implicated in that crime.

      If what Cohen said is true, then the candidate could also be guilty of engaging in a conspiracy with Cohen to make an illicit corporate donation and to circumvent reporting requirements.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 23, 2018

        So courts would need to figure that out. As I said, that is the other side of the case.

  7. Patzcuaro

     /  August 23, 2018

    Or you could call it giving background to the source of the information.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 23, 2018

      The loony Left would I am sure, Patz. As I said this presents the other side of the case. I would not expect to find it at WaPo, NYT or the Guardian.

  8. David

     /  August 23, 2018

    The problem for some over here is they havent known the 20 plus years that Trump has been a media figure and his many marriages, affairs, porn stars etc etc so get all over the top excited about such things. The American voter knew exactly what they were getting and he is delivering what he promised, again not at the speed one would expect over here but by US standards its bloody good.
    Mueller just keeps coming up empty handed despite having these people on on the hook for stupid shit like perjury traps and tax dodging. Indicting Russian spies for spying when your own country bugged Merkels cellphone and you are home to the NSA is laughable. Show me the collusion.

  9. Joe Bloggs

     /  August 23, 2018

    This is 40 years of deceit coming home to haunt him
    – trump biographer Michael D’Antonio