July 18, 2019

"Federal prosecutors signaled in a court document released on Thursday that it was unlikely they would file additional charges in the hush-money investigation..."

"... that ensnared members of Donald J. Trump’s inner circle and threatened to derail his presidency. In the document, the prosecutors said they had 'effectively concluded' their inquiry, which centered on payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to buy the silence of two women who said they had had affairs with Mr. Trump.... The president’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, was convicted in the case. He has said he helped arrange the hush money at the direction of Mr. Trump, and prosecutors have repeated the accusation in court papers. Mr. Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence."

The NYT reports.

ADDED: From the comments at the NYT: "Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time? he is completely immune from prosecution, let alone the very most basic of scrutiny. This is untenable and threatens the foundation of our democracy."

That makes me think of a Dylan lyric: "I can’t help it if I’m lucky." Original context:
Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky

90 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

So, IANAL and I've never been to court (past speeding tickets and some landlord/tenant type disputes) but this seems to mean that they couldn't find anything else to convict anyone with?

Like the president, his family, his advisers, the milkman at Mar-A-Lago, etc, etc?

-XC

AustinRoth said...

Another empty hole. The Deep State is still batting .000 against Trump.

Fernandistein said...

Let's write that in Poetry™

You may hush me with your money.
You may signal your prosecution with your court document.
You may file additional charges with your investigation.
But still, like air, I’ll buy the silence of two women.

stevew said...

The answer is quite simple: Trump doesn't get away with anything, it's just that there isn't any proof that he is guilty of the charges and accusations.

rehajm said...

Kind of restores hope for democracy, dunnit?

Mike Sylwester said...

Cohen did not have to plead guilty.

He pleaded guilty in order to cause trouble for Trump.

traditionalguy said...

It was never a crime to pay money for a non disclosure agreement. The crime was the attack SDNY gang creating Cohen’s fake plea of being guilty of a non crime just to call Trump an I indicted co-conspirator in a non crime.

And the slanderama machine rolls on.

Bob said...

Yes, it's a damned crying shame Trump always avoids prosecution for annoying that poor reader of the NYT.

doctrev said...

It's like Hitler, only Hitler doesn't even have to completely take over the judicial system and legislature!

Scared yet? You should be.

traditionalguy said...

The stench of Federal corruption at the highest levels sickens honest lawyers

henry said...

Chasing Trump in the hopes of finding a crime. How soviet of them.

Seeing Red said...

Lolol didn’t Pelosi say something about absence of proof in the early 2000s?

Mike Sylwester said...

Mr. Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence.

He would be serving three years even if he had not pleaded guilty gratuitously to this bogus crime.

Seeing Red said...

Another Inga hope down in flames

chuck said...

"This is untenable and threatens the foundation of our democracy."

Stalin knew how to properly run a democracy.

Christopher B said...

Is this the case where Cohen plead guilty to what were supposed to be campaign finance violations involving the payments? I'm not getting confirmation from your excerpts but I suppose the NYT article wasn't clear, for obvious reasons.

MadisonMan said...

Do the NYTimes commenters recall Hillary Clinton and her immunity from prosecution?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"From the comments at the NYT: "Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time? he is completely immune from prosecution, let alone the very most basic of scrutiny"

Funny how that happens when you're making shit up.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not saying there is equivalence between what Trump and Hillary have been charged with -- but that's what the comment reminded me of: Hillary.

Yancey Ward said...

Mike Sylvester makes the right point here, ladies and gentlemen- Cohen would be in jail for 3 years absent the campaign finance charge that he pleaded to.

Cohen plea was a transparent attempt to gin up a campaign finance indictment against Trump, but when Trump and his legal team told them to "fuck off", the prosecutors had the good sense to not pursue a case that was going to get tossed out of court. It was never a violation of campaign finance law to begin with- that is how Trump "got away with it".

Cohen is in jail for all the other crimes he committed- particularly the bank fraud.

Patrick Henry was right! said...

Being innocent is supposed to make you able to get away with it. It being the thing you are falsely accused of.
This has been, from the Inquisition until the Me Too era, thought of as a good thing.

Yancey Ward said...

Cohen should sue his lawyers for letting him make that plea in the first place, but I suspect that Cohen was probably in on the fake plea all along. In any case, Cohen's lawyers should now file a motion to vacate the plea given that the prosecutors clearly believe there wasn't a crime to begin with.

Nonapod said...

The basic fact of the whole thing is that it's not illegal to pay off somebody to not publicaly talk about something that wasn't itself illegal. The only possible crime was a campaign finance violation by Cohen, which doesn't apply to Trump since he immediately payed Cohen back.

This whole thing was blown absurdly out of proportion in an effort to get Trump. The thing that "threatens the foundation(s) of our democracy" is the fact that this insane lawfare was used for obvious political purposes in a subversion of the Rule of Law. But it's just one of many, many such subversions that have been attempted in order to remove Trump.

Seeing Red said...

let alone the very most basic of scrutiny"


That commenter couldn’t survive Trump’s very most basic of scrutiny.

Right Man said...

"immune from .. the very most basic of scrutiny"

Trump hasn't been scrutinized? I can't think of anyone that has been more scrutinized. The left is not metaphorically but, truly insane.

Greg P said...

"Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time?"

Because you fruitcakes keep on basing your attacks on fraud and lies (the "Russian Collusion" BS), or because you keep on attacking him for things that aren't crimes.

It's not a campaign finance violation to pay off a blackmailer with money that isn't campaign funds. The claim that it was was utter garbage, and once we got an adult as AG, that fraud was shut down.

As it should be

Narr said...

I said all along that if Cohen actually had anything damaging to Trump he would never serve a day.

Narr
right again

FullMoon said...

"....he is completely immune from prosecution, let alone the very most basic of scrutiny"

Hahahaha! This commenter obviously trolling NYT readers..

Crazy Jane said...

Greg P is right, so let's say it again:

It's not a campaign finance violation to pay off a blackmailer with money that isn't campaign funds.

Yancey Ward said...

John Edwards used actual campaign funds to pay off a woman, and a jury acquitted him for that, and probably because the payoff was reported, but just disguised, if memory serves.

Qwinn said...

The only scrutiny Obama or Hillary ever received, aside from Judicial Watch or Project Veritas, was solely in pursuit of helping them cover up their many, many felonies.

Yancey Ward said...

Narr wrote:

"I said all along that if Cohen actually had anything damaging to Trump he would never serve a day."

I knew Cohen had nothing when Mueller himself passed the case off the SDNY, but you are correct- Cohen wouldn't be in prison for a day if he had anything.

narciso said...

of course, this wouldn't have happened without the mueller witchhunt, which came from the steele dossier and the crowdstrike scam,

but clearly he didn't drown so he's a witch,

Scott M said...

"Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time? he is completely immune from prosecution, let alone the very most basic of scrutiny. This is untenable and threatens the foundation of our democracy."

Please direct all questions to the Clinton Foundation.

narciso said...

in other news, there was a very well connected bureau agent, McCauley, who was working at the Flynn group, odd he wasn't in the docket,

Yancey Ward said...

Here is Cohen attorney, Lanny Davis:

Case closed? Why is Michael Cohen - after all his voluntary cooperation and testimony that Mr. Mueller said was credible and went to “core issues” and all the information and documents he voluntarily provided to prosecutors and to congress - the only member of the Trump company to be prosecuted and imprisoned?" Davis said in the statement.

"Especially since prosecutors found that virtually all of Michael’s admitted crimes were done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald Trump? Why?”


Davis, of course, doesn't acknowledge that Cohen was charged and pleaded guilty to charges not related to Donald Trump at all, including bank fraud. The only charge he pleaded to was the campaign finance charge, and that was Cohen being allowed to plead guilty to a non-crime, especially since Cohen himself was reimbursed for the payments. If Davis were really a lawyer with Cohen's best interests at heart, he will be filing a motion today to have Cohen's plea set aside on the campaign finance charge. It won't get Cohen out of prison, but it will prove Davis really was Cohen's attorney, and not Democrat Party shill sacrificing his client for political purposes.

dreams said...

"Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time?

Because Trump is a winner and when Trump wins, the world is a better place.

Leland said...

Maybe it is because he is innocent?

MikeR said...

Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time? he is completely immune from prosecution, let alone the very most basic of scrutiny. This is untenable and threatens the foundation of our democracy." The simplest explanation of why he gets away with everything is that people hate him so much they are making thousands of unfounded allegations. As disappointing as this may seem, just because someone is awful doesn't mean that he did whatever you dream up.
Good time for a reality check. If you and an army of lawyers on CNN were sure that he was guilty, maybe you're doing this wrong.

cubanbob said...

So Cohen plead guilty to a non crime so the SDNY could get him to compose against Trump in exchange for a "light" sentence instead of forever and a day for crimes Cohen allegedly did. Its time to start prosecting the prosecutors in the SDNY.

paminwi said...

What's funny, too is that it wasn't only Trump they were after. They were looking at Trump Jr. an other close associates.

They got NO ONE!

If they could have charged Trump Jr. with ANYTHING you know they would have and the liberals and media woul have had a field day.

Makes me so happy!

Rick said...

"Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time?

In this case it's because what he did is not actually illegal. But don't worry the Dems primary goal is closing this loophole.

Ralph L said...

If the plea were set aside, they could still prosecute him for his own crimes, which are bound to have heavier penalties than 3 years.

Ralph L said...

Bare Naked Ladies stole some of those lyrics.

Michael K said...

It was never a violation of campaign finance law to begin with- that is how Trump "got away with it".

Paying blackmail has never been a crime that I know of. Stormy got a big surprise when she tried a civil suit and got hit with $250k in court costs.

Cohen was into other stuff, like medalion hijinks. Davis know this bit is blowing smoke. Cohen might have been fooled by this high priced lawyer. He probably thought he would get off.

narciso said...

now lanny davis, actually worked for a higher order oligarch in firtash, along with Chertoff, the king of the never trump republicans, but that would be awkward to point out.

Bay Area Guy said...

Wait, I'm confused. I thought Mueller was gonna jointly impeach Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels Michael Avenatti and President Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors involving unlawful campaign expenditures for consensual groping of her fake boobs.

Was I wrong about that?

Yancey Ward said...

Ralph L wrote:

"If the plea were set aside, they could still prosecute him for his own crimes, which are bound to have heavier penalties than 3 years."

But the prosecutors, by their own actions, have demonstrated that the plea was illegitimate all along, and Davis has publicly now questioned that plea. As Cohen's lawyer, he has an obligation to now ask that it be set aside by the trial judge, and the prosecutors can do jack shit about it since they, as I wrote above, have already indicated that the plea was illicit.

In other words, if the plea is set aside, the SDNY can't retaliate against Cohen. I predict, however, that Davis will not file such a motion because it would be an admission that Cohen pleaded to a non-crime, and that won't serve Davis' true employers, the DNC.

robother said...

Michael Cohen is serving 3 years, for the crime of hiring Lanny Davis as his attorney. Seems about right. (It'd be life if he'd hired Avenatti.)

narciso said...

lanny protects Russian oligarchs, Pakistan generals, central African warlords, you're not in that league mike,

Carol said...

It's almost as if Trump has always been so blatant in his transgressions that everything is known already and it all comes down to just third-party frauds.

Worth a shot, eh?

Fen said...

Paying blackmail has never been a crime that I know of. Stormy got a big surprise when she tried a civil suit and got hit with $250k in court costs.

I've lost track with all the tipping points and beginnings of the end as the walls are closing in...

But isn't the issue whether Trump paid her off with his own money or with campaign dollars?

Not that I care either way. The pearl clutchers think the Clinton Foundation is just peachy, and I'm tired of Republicans being held to rules the Democrats ignore with obnoxious glee.

Static Ping said...

The case was always a stretch. Paying someone hush money is not illegal unless it involves an underlying crime. What was being hushed up was disgraceful but not illegal. I suppose it could also be a crime if the campaign paid for it, but from was I understand it was Trump paying directly so that's a non-starter. That only leaves the argument that Trump paid the money only to support his campaign as opposed to other reasons, which is a very difficult argument to make. And after all that, typically campaign finance violations result in fines. It would have to be something really egregious to bring it to court. This set of facts is certainly unusual but not terribly different than offenses that resulted in fines or, for that matter, were ignored.

Really, the only question was whether someone would make a political case out of it by charging Trump with something dubious, and apparently they need something better than this mess to take such a risk.

Strelnikov said...

An investigation that, in the fevered imaginations of the NYT news room ""...ensnared members of Donald J. Trump’s inner circle and threatened to derail his presidency." Otherwise, another big ol' nothing.

Robert Cook said...

"Cohen did not have to plead guilty.

"He pleaded guilty in order to cause trouble for Trump."


Not on your life. He pleaded guilty because prosecutors likely threatened him with tons of charges that could have put him away for many years, and he took the option that would give him fewer years in prison. This is done all the time to (mostly poor) people facing criminal charges.

Robert Cook said...

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."
--Aesop

Bob said...

Yes, I hushed them with some money,
And I find it plenty funny
That your thrust to find me guilty always dies
You may try a prosecution.
But it ends in absolution.
Like the air I float on, always shall I rise

Howard said...

Bob Barr doing the job Sessions refused to do

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

This is done all the time to (mostly poor) people facing criminal charges.

It didn't help that he wasn't a powerful Democrat. That was his biggest problem.

Brian said...

Someone on this blog assured us that Trump would be found guilty of all kinds of bank fraud, tax fraud, campaign finance fraud, etc, etc on the Stormy payments...

Are we sure it's over?

BUMBLE BEE said...

TEFLON DON! As others on this blog have repeatedly pointed out this is lawfare run riot. Trump has shown us the fetid nature of liberal politics. This Clinton Democrat Party and hangers-on deserve the retribution of the Czar for their perversion of america.
The most scrutinized politician of this or any century is Trump. Now... on to the Clintons!

BUMBLE BEE said...

Howard... go back to being Inga's bicycle seat

Comanche Voter said...

Yancey, thank you for that qoute from Lanny Davis. When Little Lying Lanny's feelings are hurt, it's a great day in America. He's the kind of lying sleaze that gives a few lawyers a bad name.

Swede said...

Swing and a miss.

Strike number 368.

narciso said...

Uh oh
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailysignal.com/2019/07/18/trump-wins-big-in-emoluments-lawsuits-2-down-and-1-to-go/amp/

nob490 said...

Idiot Wind. What a fantastically bitter song. One of my favorites.

Like Positively 4th Street. If you listen to the words you can see just how much of a put-down these songs are.

nob490 said...

I guess I should say you can "hear" how much of a put-down.....

Char Char Binks said...

"But isn't the issue whether Trump paid her off with his own money or with campaign dollars?"

That was just the gag. The real issue is, as one prominent Dem put it, ""This game's not over until we win."

Danno said...

Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time?

My only thought is-

Meep meep!

Bruce Hayden said...

Blogger Howard said...
“Bob Barr doing the job Sessions refused to do”

Maybe. But I think as likely is that Sessions got played, and couldn’t recover from it.

Sessions made the mistake of allowing himself to be pushed into recusal, when he shouldn’t have. Rosenstein, having signed off on FISA warrants on Carter Page, is the one who should have recused himself. All Sessions did, really, was shake the hand, along with a bunch of other Senators, of a Russian govt official, in his role as part of Congressional oversight. And, once recused, turns out he couldn’t unrevised himself for political reasons, and, ultimately, because that would have been treated as Obstruction of Justice under the Mueller/Weissman/Wittes redefinition of Obstruction (which Barr ultimately eviscerated).

Bruce Hayden said...

The thing to keep in mind is that Trump self funded much of his campaign. Most of the time when politicians get in trouble this way, they are using campaign funds because they don’t have the personal funds to pay the blackmail themselves. If Trump had reimbursed Coen from campain funds, Trump could have argued that the money was his to start with. But he didn’t, very likely because he has been sensitized over the decades of operating a myriad of business entities at the same time, to make sure never to commingle funds, because that is one of the easiest ways to pierce the corporate veil.

Drago said...

As soon as Cohen announced Lanny Davis, the decades long Clinton "fixer", as his "fixer" you knew that Cohen was going to be "fixed"....but good.

Drago said...

And remember, every prosecutor at all levels looking into Trump hates Trump with a white hot passion has the full support of every judicial/legal/media/news group and technology previousl prosecutors could only dream of and would become an instant "greatest hero of the Soviet Un....er....Republic" overnight with book deals and movie deals and a life time of income streams and being welcomed anywhere in the world.

And they all found nothing.

Black Bellamy said...

"Why does trump always get away with everything, every single time?"

That is hilarious.

Quaestor said...

Why does trump [sic] always get away with everything, every single time?

Because having been caught with dirty fingers thrust deeply into the political cookie jar regarding the Russia hoax, DoJ operatives are more concerned with staying out of jail than prosecuting Trump for something the United States Congress does routinely using an officially sanctioned bipartisan slush fund.

Fen said...

Hayden: Sessions made the mistake of -

Do you think Sessions has gotten a bad rap? When I heard he was Trump's pick, I reacted the same way I did when Dallas signed Deon Sanders. Such high expectations.

WTH happened to him? Blackmail?

narciso said...

oh no!

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/453737-exclusive-career-officials-rebut-claims-of-white-house-interference-in-security

Francisco D said...

Cookie wrote: "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."

How dare you call the Clintons petty thieves. They stole hundreds of $millions.

Known Unknown said...

"That only leaves the argument that Trump paid the money only to support his campaign as opposed to other reasons, which is a very difficult argument to make."

The question is if we were NOT running for President, would he make the same payment?

I think the answer would be yes.

Known Unknown said...

" Such high expectations."

Jeff was always part and parcel of the swamp.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Fen - I am more generous. I don't think that Sessions was tough enough for the job, and by the time that everyone figured that the fix was in, with the Mueller investigation, politically he couldn’t recuse himself and take over oversight of Mueller. I could be wrong.

The place where I suspect blackmail is with Rosenstein. It may have been as simple as suckering him into signing the FISA warrant on Carter Page. I am fairly confident that he didn’t have the information that the FBI had, along with Bruce Ohr and Andrew Weissman, at the DoJ, showing that the bogus provenance of the Steele Dossier utilized to support the FISA application. The paperwork he saw supporting the warrant application probably looked just fine to him.

What is interesting to me is how quickly Barr was able to flip Rosenstein back to the good side, after taking office. It suggests to me that Barr knew what hold the Dems and Deep State had on Rosenstein, and neutralized it. It was, in my mind, quite remarkable.

Fen said...

What is interesting to me is how quickly Barr was able to flip Rosenstein back to the good side, after taking office. It suggests to me that Barr knew what hold the Dems and Deep State had on Rosenstein, and neutralized it. It was, in my mind, quite remarkable.

Wow. I have to make sure I live at least 10 more years to read the books on all this.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe asking you to stick your neck out, but how do you read the history there?

Fen said...

Yah, I have to be a little cautious. Let me think about it. I'm having to make last minute flight arrangements for a funeral in Dallas, so I'm too distracted to give you a proper response.

Raincheck?

Kathryn51 said...

Bruce Hayden said...
What is interesting to me is how quickly Barr was able to flip Rosenstein back to the good side, after taking office.

Fen said:
Wow. I have to make sure I live at least 10 more years to read the books on all this.

Haha, when I first read BH's statement about Barr flipping RR, my first thought was. . where the heck is RR these days and is he writing a book?

I always felt (and still feel) RR was one of the good guys that got played (with the FISA renewal) and was trapped thereafter. After that, his sole job was to "bring the plane down safely" - and he was successful.

I hope he writes a book, provided he details just what a skunk Mueller turned out to be.

Michael K said...

Sessions made the mistake of allowing himself to be pushed into recusal, when he shouldn’t have.

Sessions was a Senator ! The most exclusive club in the world. He expected to be treated with the same courtesy offered to Ted Kennedy after Chappaquidick or Chris Dodd after the "waitress sandwich." He found he had forfeited his rights by aligning with the Orange Man Bad and wasn't up to the challenge. Biden is finding out much the same.

Michael K said...

prosecutors likely threatened him with tons of charges that could have put him away for many years,

And then they said "Never mind." Sure they did.

Narr said...

I wasn't asked, but here's how I read the history on this. By late 2015 at least, secret libertarians and atheists had infiltrated and taken over both the Deep State AND the Trump Organization!

Damn, there's someone at the door.

Narr
Back soon

Bruce Hayden said...

“Sessions was a Senator ! The most exclusive club in the world. He expected to be treated with the same courtesy offered to Ted Kennedy after Chappaquidick or Chris Dodd after the "waitress sandwich." He found he had forfeited his rights by aligning with the Orange Man Bad and wasn't up to the challenge. Biden is finding out much the same.”

At the time that Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador, he was still a Senator. He gave a speech at the RNC to a group that included the Russian Ambassador, among a group of ambassadors, and apparently shook his hand. And he met him shortly thereafter in his offices among his staff. This sort of thing is routine among senior Senators like Sessions, who was on the Armed Services Committee.

TwoAndAHalfCents said...

So Hootie & the Blowfish were just quoting Dylan in 'Only wanna be with you' - it makes so much more sense now!