Buried in the details of charges Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to on Tuesday is a mysterious claim — and potential bombshell — that went largely overlooked in the original reporting of his conviction.
Cohen’s admission that he violated campaign finance law at the direction of President Donald Trump — then just a candidate — by making hush money payments to silence women who said they had had affairs with Trump drew the most attention. Cohen made those payments and was eventually reimbursed — transactions that allegedly constitute crimes and were not properly reported.
But in addition to the payouts to the women, there was another large sum for which Cohen was later reimbursed, according to the court documents:
The $50,000 represented a claimed payment for “tech services,” which in fact related to work COHEN had solicited from a technology company during and in connection with the campaign.
The document gives no more information about this payment, but the language suggests investigators may know more details about it — including the technology company in question — that they have not yet revealed.
CNBC reported this detail Wednesday night, though other outlets had mentioned it previously.
The payment certainly raises more question than it answers. It’s clear why Trump and Cohen would have wanted to use underhanded payments to silence women who allegedly had affairs with Trump — the whole point was to keep the news a secret. But why would they use the same method to pay for a technology company’s services during the campaign? As long as the services were above board, this would be a legitimate campaign expense.
CNBC notes that Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis has made intriguing remarks that may point to an answer. Cohen, Davis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night, may have “knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on.”
If Cohen had participated in covering up Trump’s involvement in the hacking that disrupted the 2016 campaign, this fact would be explosive.
Alternatively, the payment could relate to Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that Trump’s campaign employed that recently shuttered in the wake of a massive data breach scandal. However, that firm was hired on the books, so it’s not clear why an additional $50,000 payment would have been kept hidden.
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DeSantis Vows to Fight FDA After COVID Treatment His Top Donor Invested in Is Found to Not Fight Omicron
Governor Ron DeSantis is promising to fight the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after it revoked its emergency authorization for a COVID treatment made by two drug manufacturers, including one which happens to be heavily invested in by the Florida Republican’s billionaire top donor.
That donor is Citadel hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, who as of last summer had donated over $10 million to a DeSantis political action committee, the AP reports, and over $100 million to Republicans nationwide, according to Florida Politics.
“Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, has $15.9 million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc., according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” the August 2021 AP report reveals. “Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has donated $10.75 million to a political committee that supports DeSantis — $5.75 million in 2018 and $5 million last April.”
The omicron variant accounts for more than 99 percent of new COVID cases in the U.S., and the current monoclonal antibody treatment drugs have been proven to not be effective against omicron, the FDA and at least one of the drug’s manufacturers say.
DeSantis has been trying to turn the state into a free-for-all where it was illegal to mandate masks – until the courts stepped in. The governor and his Surgeon General – who has ties to an infamous alien DNA, demon sperm, and hydroxychloroquine-pushing doctor – have focused on promoting COVID therapies instead of COVID preventatives.
The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday was forced to close its monoclonal antibody treatment sites after the FDA’s move.
Desantis is outraged.
“Governor Ron DeSantis is demanding the Biden Administration reverse its sudden and reckless decision to revoke emergency use authorization (EUA) for Regeneron and Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody treatments. This abrupt and unilateral action by the Biden Administration will prevent access to lifesaving treatments for Floridians and Americans,” DeSantis said in a statement.
His Surgeon General echoed DeSantis’ remarks.
“The Federal Government has failed to adequately provide the United States with adequate outpatient treatment options for COVID-19. Now, they are scrambling to cover up a failure to deliver on a promise to ‘shut down the virus,’” said Dr. Joseph Ladapo.
On Tuesday during a briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the DeSantis move “crazy.”
The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage through the U.S. in large part because of pro-COVID policies like those DeSantis is promoting.
Late Monday night Health and Human Services spokesperson slammed a Florida Dept. of Health spokesperson:
This week, we’re providing Florida more than 34,000 additional doses of COVID treatments that **actually do work** — the most doses of any state besides California and Texas. https://t.co/58qoHHSC5G
— Ian Sams (@IanSams) January 25, 2022
Wallace Skewers Christie for Trying to ‘Save’ the GOP and Favoring Fox News
MSNBC news host Nicolle Wallace skewered former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while he was promoting his book, “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”
“Is bias more dangerous to the country than conspiracy theorists?” Wallace asked.
“No, but that’s the third section of the book where I talk about the movement forward. In the second portion of the book, we talk about the conspiracy theories and the truth-denying that went on with things like Qanon, Pizzagate, the election situation, John Birch Society… that’s what I talk about. There’s two sections of the book and I’m sure you’re conflating them,” Christie answered.
“I’m not conflating them,” Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.”
During the interview, Wallace also asked Christie if he thought former President Donald J. Trump gave him COVID-19. He denied naming Trump specifically in the contraction, but ultimately said he didn’t know who gave it to him.
See below for how Twitter has responded to the interview, which originally aired Tuesday night, and also to the news of Christie’s potential run for president in 2024.
Wallace: The book is about conspiracy and lies and you really don’t take on Fox News, why not? Have you seen The Tucker Carlson show?
Christie: No I don’t watch it
Wallace: Are you aware of what he does?
Christie: Not really pic.twitter.com/HmQ8174cpe
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 16, 2021
— Gayle Alstrom (@GayleAlstrom) November 26, 2021
— Redeemablesole (@covamy6) November 18, 2021
— Terrence Curran (@tcurranmd) November 25, 2021
#ChrisChristie Is Actually Thinking Of Running For President … The Man Who Closed Off A Jersey Beach To The Public Then Has His Family Enjoy The Beach All To Themselves@ChrisChristie @GovChristie pic.twitter.com/9AfQvcjNjG
— ☰Kermit In Progress☰ (@Kermit_Progress) November 26, 2021
We don't want to hear from #ChrisChristie. Please stop.
Everyone Everywhere pic.twitter.com/bpvd4IhBx3
— Seriously Real (@RealRealSerious) November 21, 2021
— ☾♄☈♗ⓢ ♗ (@_Lyrics_4) November 20, 2021
— Bernie Connor (@BernieConnor9) November 21, 2021
What a coincidence! Aaron Rodgers caught COVID and has COVID toe. Chris Christie caught COVID and has CAMEL toe! #covidtoe #AaronRodgers #ChrisChristie #COVID19 #Covid_19 https://t.co/yvJJm8L21R pic.twitter.com/vY4qnIuVmz
— Brutal Publicist (@BrutalPublicist) November 24, 2021
— ben knight (@benknight8) November 18, 2021
— BertRite (@BertRite) November 23, 2021
— Marx Okereke (@marxokereke) November 20, 2021
GOP Rep. Gonzales: ‘I Will Not Let’ Trump ‘Steal’ the 2024 Election
A stern warning was issued to Republicans Friday by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH): don’t rest on your laurels – former President Donald Trump will try to steal the next election.
“January 6 was an unconstitutional attempt led by the President of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately,” Gonzalez said. “That’s fallen nation territory, that’s third world country territory. My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here.”
Gonzalez said he could see one of two outcomes: “He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, you just try to steal it.”
Gonzalez was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Gonzalez and his family were the target of attacks and threats following the impeachment hearing. He has chosen to retire from Congress at the end of his term and avoid facing off with a Trump-backed primary challenger.
Gonzalez told CNN he will try to stop Trump from running the same 2020 playbook to overturn another election.
“The institutions don’t hold themselves,” Gonzalez said. “In the moments of truth, you need the right people to pass the most difficult tests. We had just enough people on January 6 pass the test. We have to make sure we have equal number of people to continue to pass the test going forward.”
“I’m afraid that the kind of political violence, the kind of abandonment of the rule of law, the kind of abandonment of the constitution that we watched, does threaten the foundations of democracy, the foundations of our system,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who was kicked out of House GOP leadership over her criticism of Trump.
“And the fact that so many in my party are willing to be silent, are complicit, are enabling it, adds very much to the peril,” added Cheney, one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating January 6.
“I have real concerns about the future of this democracy,” said Bill Gates, a Republican supervisor in Arizona’s Maricopa County who pushed back on claims that there was fraud in the 2020 election result. “I didn’t think we had this sort of pull towards authoritarianism in our in our democracy.”
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