Former Trump “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen released his prepared testimony late Tuesday night, ahead of his open-door testimony before Congress today. It is being called “earth-shattering,” and a “bombshell,” and it is.
Cohen’s written remarks, published by The New York Times, span 20 pages. Here are eight of the most stunning “bombshell” revelations.
•Cohen lays out what experts say is conspiracy.
“He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.”
“Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
“Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.'”
•Cohen says Trump did not expect to win and his entire campaign was a money-making venture.
“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the ‘greatest infomercial in political history.'”
“He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity.”
•Trump knew about the Trump Tower Moscow project and indirectly told Cohen to lie about it.
“In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
“There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?” – referring to the Moscow Tower project.”
•Cohen says he doesn’t have proof of collusion but has “suspicions” it happened.
“Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.”
•He says Donald Trump Jr. told Trump about the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting with the now imprisoned Russian lawyer that Trump lied about and said was about Russian adoptions.
“I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk – which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: ‘The meeting is all set.’ I remember Mr. Trump saying, ‘Ok good…let me know.'”
•Trump is privately even more racist than he is publicly.
“Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries ‘shitholes.'”
“In private, he is even worse.”
“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.”
“While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”
•Trump bragged about cheating the IRS.
“When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employees’ salaries in half – including mine – he showed me what he claimed was a $10 million IRS tax refund, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving “someone like him” that much money back.”
•Cohen says he will give the Committee a copy of a check Trump signed reimbursing Cohen for the hush money payments. He allegedly signed it while in office as President, which means he likely has committed a crime while being President – an impeachable offense.
“I am providing the Committee today with several documents. These include:”
“A copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account – after he became president – to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign;”
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Former Trump CFO Nearing ‘Unexpectedly Favorable’ Plea Deal With Manhattan DA: NYT
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who worked for the Trump family since 1970, is nearing a plea deal with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his case, according to The New York Times. Charges include conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records.
Weisselberg, who is 75, could walk away with a minor prison sentence of just five months, the Times reports, calling it “an unexpectedly favorable outcome for him.”
The plea deal would not include any cooperation on broader issues related to Donald Trump. Legal experts have said Weisselberg knows nearly everything that the Trump Organization has done.
“His plea deal, if finalized, would bring prosecutors no closer to indicting the former president but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon.”
Earlier this year Manhattan D.A. Bragg came under intense criticism after he seemingly halted his office’s longtime investigation into Donald Trump.
One of the prosecutors who worked 0n the Trump case but quit when Bragg ended it called it a “grave failure of justice,” and said Trump was “guilty of numerous felonies.”
“Prosecutors accuse Weisselberg of a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities of $1.76 million in ‘off-the-books’ compensation,” Law & Crime reported. “These included $359,058 in tuition expenses for multiple family members, $196,245 for leases on his Mercedes Benz automobiles, $29,400 in unreported cash, and an unspecified amount in ad hoc personal expenses, according to his indictment.”
In 2018 The New Yorker reported “Allen Weisselberg, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer, is the center, the person in the company who knows more than anyone.”
Does Trump Still Has Classified Docs? DOJ May Think So After Asking Judge to Keep Affidavit Sealed Former Fed Says
After the National Archives had to travel to Mar-a-Lago earlier this year to take back 15 cartons of documents and other items from the Trump White House, and even after the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Florida home last week, could it possible the Dept. of Justice thinks the former president is still holding onto classified documents?
One former federal prosecutor says that one of two distinct possibilities, after DOJ asked a federal judge on Monday to not unseal the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion.
“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” the Dept. of Justice’s filing states, ABC News reports. “In a footnote, department officials write that they ‘carefully considered’ whether they could release the affidavit with redactions, but the redactions necessary to ‘mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest.'”
“Interesting tidbit,” writes The New York Times’ Alan Feuer. “Prosecutors acknowledge they’ve been interviewing witnesses and say the release of the warrant application could ‘chill future cooperation by witnesses as ‘investigation progresses.'”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotto says the Dept. of Justice may think Trump still has more classified documents – or there are charges coming in response to the Mar-a-Lago raid.
Mariotto writes: “This suggests DOJ is continuing its investigation, which means one of two things: 1) DOJ *still* isn’t convinced they have all of the classified material Trump took when he left office. 2) They have an ongoing criminal investigation of this matter that could result in charges.”
“That’s potentially very important news,” Mariotto adds. “Many national security pros thought that the main (if not only) purpose of the search warrant was to secure sensitive material, not to build potential criminal charges.”
“The government does not object to unsealing other materials filed in connection with the search warrant whose unsealing would not jeopardize the integrity of this national security investigation, subject to minor redactions to protect government personnel.”
Rumors Swirl as ‘Flight Risk’ Trump Claims FBI Took His ‘Three Passports’ – He Can Still ‘Ask for Asylum’
Despite claiming he wants to help tamp down the anger across the country from his far-right base Donald Trump on Monday issued a statement complaining the FBI took his “three passports” when it executed a legal search warrant last week. Rumors are flying about what that might mean for his future, if true.
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, The Independent reports. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
The FBI has no political opponent, it is not an assault given a judge signed off on the Bureau’s actions, and “Third World” is considered a derogatory and offensive term. There is also no confirmation that Trump’s claim is correct.
Attorney Tristan Snell, who successfully prosecuted the Trump University case for the New York Attorney General’s Office, notes, “Trump is still a flight risk even without passports. He could go to NYC, to the consulate of a country that does not allow US extradition (such as Russia), and ask for asylum.”
But freelance journalist Yashar Ali notes “as far as we know the State Department has not placed a hold on Trump’s passport (they usually do that when you owe a huge amount of tax). So he can easily go get a replacement passport if he wants. A same day passport! He has not been charged with a crime.”
“The FBI isn’t going to decide that someone who hasn’t been charged with a crime is a flight risk, that would be up to a judge,” he adds. “And passports weren’t listed on the property list.”
Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko just mocked the former president: “I have a passport and twitter account. Donald Trump has neither.”
Jon Cooper, a former Draft Biden National Finance Chair offered this interesting observation: “Anyone else find it interesting that Trump looked for his passport in the first place?”
Former top FBI official Frank Figliuzzi says it’s “possible that Trump retained his red ‘government official’ passport, and a black ‘diplomatic’ passport, which he no longer has a right to. Those would be ‘government records’ seizable pursuant to the warrant.”
While Trump has not been charged with any crimes, last week, even before Trump claimed the FBI took his passports, some were saying he should have to give them up.
“Frankly speaking, Trump is a flight risk,” wrote Qasim Rashid, an attorney and human rights activist. “The judge should require he surrender his passport and his jet should be grounded.”
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