Michael Cohen has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

The President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who, as you may recall, speculated during the campaign that Hillary Clinton would be going “to prison” for “defrauding America”, today had his New York home, hotel room, and Rockefeller Center offices raided by the FBI agents, who, we’re told, seized both computers and financial records. It’s being reported that these coordinated, simultaneous raids were part of a New York State investigation into whether or not Cohen, who claims he personally paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket to keep quite about an affair that she had with Donald Trump, engaged in bank fraud, violated campaign finance law, etc. Donald Trump, who has warned special council Robert Mueller in the past about coming too close to his inner circle, as you might imagine, was not happy about this. While address the press this afternoon about our response to recent chemical attacks in Syria, the President went off on a tangent, referring to these FBI raids as both an “attack on our country” and a “total witch hunt”. Here, for those of you who might be interested, is video from the press event, followed by an excerpt from the transcript.

I’m not sure how investigating an attorney who admits to having paid hush money to a sex worker during an election constitutes an “attack on our country,” but there you have it…

So, on one hand, we have shit rapidly unraveling for the President on the global stage, as he’s being forced by events in Syria to take a public stance against Putin. And, at the same time, we have the FBI dramatically seizing communications between him and his attorney, threatening to expose, among other things, the lie that Cohen acted on his own when he paid Daniels, violating numerous laws in the process.

Telling the press that we’d now reached “a whole new level of unfairness,” Trump took the opportunity to attack both special prosecutor Robert Mueller and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller investigation. Trump, after calling members of the Mueller’s team, “the most biased group of people,” told members of the press that unnamed “people” were urging him to shut down the investigation. Asked if he may do this, the President responded, “We’ll see what may happen.” [It’s worth noting that today’s raids, as least as I understand them, were not directly related to the Mueller investigation, but were instead called for by prosecutors in New York, likely based on information that had been relayed by Mueller’s team.]

While I realize that Trump’s not exactly a student of history, one would hope that he’s at least taken note of the fact that Nixon’s ultimate downfall came when he, facing a similar situation, chose to force both his Attorney General (Elliot Richardson) and his Deputy Attorney General (William Ruckelshaus) from the Department of Justice, and fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox in what has since become know as the Saturday Night Massacre. Granted, the Democrats held Congress at the time, and the Republicans of the era may have been more principled, but the fact remains that, the last time a sitting President who chose to exert his power in such a way and shut down an investigation, our elected officials, pressured by the American people, chose to do the right thing and pursue impeachment. [I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but I want to say that Nixon’s approval ratings dropped from about 35-percent to 27-percent after the Saturday Night Massacre.]

As for this thing being a “total witch hunt,” here’s a very brief excerpt from this evening’s New York Times, which I think would indicate to most objective individuals that we’ve evolved well past the witch hunt phase.

Oh, and while all of this stuff about the Stormy Daniels payoff is interesting, I’m much more interested in what investigators may find, once they start digging through Cohen’s files, about his involvement in the campaign to advance Russian interests. That, I suspect, is what Mueller, working through New York prosecutors, is really after.

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33 Comments

  1. Sad
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Lock him up!

  2. Mike
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Stormy will go down as the most expensive piece of ass Trump ever flailed on top of for 35 seconds. Hilariously, my guess is his poll numbers would have only gone up had he openly bragged about nailing her before the election. In fact, had he done that, I suspect SHE would have denied it. Cause, gross.

  3. wobblie
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    No evidence of Russian collusion yet. MM wants to compare this to the Nixon years. The Clinton Whitewater investigation is much more apt. Trump will probably follow Clinton’s lead and bomb Syria. Being a war-president is a sure fire way to shore up support, it worked for Bill, whereas the Nixon strategy clearly failed.
    If you are anti-Trump, you need to be anti-war. Write and call your representatives and say NO to war.

  4. stupid hick
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Someone confuses the meaning of “evidence” and “proof”. There’s plenty evidence of collusion, and even more plentiful evidence of obstruction.

  5. EOS
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    What is known about the Obama administration is far worse than all the speculation about what Trump might have done. The actions of the Justice Department and the FBI are evidence of how deep the corruption is. A porn star claims she had sex with Trump before he was elected, and before his campaign even started, and the FBI uses this to obtain a subpoena to raid the office of the personal lawyer of the President of the United States. This is exactly the same game plan they used to get a warrant to wiretap the Trump campaign because of a falsified report paid for by Hilliary. So we should impeach Trump?

    Manafort ran Trump’s presidential campaign for a little more than 3 months, when he was fired amid news about his past lobbying work for pro-Russian Ukrainian businessmen. Now he is charged for what he did before he became involved with the Trump campaign. So we should impeach Trump?

    Others lied to investigators and to the administration and they are no longer working with the Trump administration. So this is cause to impeach Trump?

    The Russians bought Facebook ads during the campaign. So we should impeach Trump?

    If you only left your bubble on occasion you would realize how ridiculous this seems to the majority of the country. And the funniest part is that if the deep state is successful in getting rid of Trump, we’ll have a President who is a staunch conservative with much more experience in running a government. Guess who laughs last?

  6. Rick
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    50% of all attorneys graduated in the bottom half of their class.

  7. wobblie
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    EOS, if you voted for Trump because of his policy positions, rather than tribal affiliation, then you should be rooting for impeachment. After all Trump is adopting, at least in foreign policy, the Clinton positions as fast as he can. Though I guess there is not much difference between Pence and the Democrats when it comes to war and peace.

  8. wobblie
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    SH, agree with you 100%. Just like with Whitewater, never found “proof” of insider dealing and collusion between Clinton and the developers. They did manage to impeach Clinton for perjury over the Lewinski blow job. Like I say the similarities to Clinton and Whitewater are much more relevant than Nixon and Watergate.

  9. Rick
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    EOS should know that the latest talk of impeachment is coming from Republicans who are trying to trap Democrats into believing that impeachment is the way to go. Republicans would love to see Trump impeached. He’s become excess baggage and they’d prefer Pence to be in the WH at least two years prior to 2020 to settle the waters before the election. On the other hand, Democrats want to ride this lame horse all the way to 2020.

  10. wobblie
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Why the Cohn investigation is a big deal.

    http://reason.com/archives/2018/04/09/what-we-know-about-the-search-trump-lawy

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    EOS– Polling shows that opinions on the Russia investigation are split along party lines. 44% (mostly Dems)believe the Russian interference affected the outcome and 42% thinking it did not and the remainder having no opinion. BUT 75% of Americans think the investigation is serious, 70% believe the Russians meddled in the election and will try to again, and most trust Mueller to conduct the investigation fairly and will likely believe its findings. Very few believe it’s ‘ridiculous’ as you assert. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/02/26/russia-americans-trust-special-counsel-mueller-more-than-trump-usa-today-poll-shows/371345002/

    (Other polling shows similar outcomes with the credibility of the investigation rising over time as more and more indictments emerge.)
    I suggest that the bubble is yours. As you know, this is a site with a left-leaning perspective and, as such, will be looking for failures in the Trump administration, just as people with your perspective looked for failures in Obama’s administration. BUT to compare the over-reach of the Obama administration, which drew no investigations, unfavorably to what is going on with Trump’s is an absurdity. Wishful thinking. Most Americans are in wait and see mode, which seems reasonable. I personally think Dems would do better in campaigning to focus on issues, not the investigation. But this site is not a campaign, and the Mueller investigation is of great interest to many of its readers.

  12. Demetrius
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    EOS knows full well that this isn’t about whether “…a porn star claims she had sex with Trump before he was elected, and before his campaign even started …” but rather, about whether Trump’s attorney paid hush money and/or threatened her with retribution if she didn’t keep quiet during the presidential campaign – almost certainly at Trump’s behest.

    As anyone familiar with political scandals knows – it is rarely the crime, but the ensuing acts to cover up the crime that end up bringing down powerful leaders.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Amend to acknowledge the many fruitless Benghazi and other Clinton investigations during the Obama administration, plus a few individual ethical failures. Patreaus and Hoss were the only Obama administration indictments. Suck on that. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/01/19/has-the-obama-white-house-been-historically-free-of-scandal/

  14. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Clinton’s greatest scandal was never that he had sex with an intern (who cares?), but that he lied to cover it up.

    I think anyone with a few brain cells might understand the difference.

  15. M
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Impeachment will not happen, as it requires 2/3rds of the Senate. So, even if we win back both chambers in November, and articles of impeachment pass the House, nothing will come of it, unless, of course, the remaining Republican Senators have a significant change of heart.

    As for the the Cohen raids, you can be sure that, before prosecutors went to a judge seeking warrants, they had a rock-solid case and a great deal of evidence. Raiding the offices of the President’s attorney isn’t something one does lightly. You can be sure there was overwhelming evidence of significant criminal activity.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, just Getting these particular search warrants requires a level of evidence constituting proof of malfeasance and multiple high level approvals to proceed. Cohen is a sunk ship. Proving what Trump knew and when is likely the reason for the search. We’ll see what happens there…
    But getting to Cohen further degrades the circle of trusted allies around Trump. It’s going to further destabilize him. Let’s hope the consequences of that fall on he and his cronies more than on the country as a whole.

  17. EOS
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    “…you can be sure that, before prosecutors went to a judge seeking warrants, they had a rock-solid case and a great deal of evidence. ”

    Sure, must have had another ‘dossier’. Who paid for it this time?

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    You’re reaching EOS.
    Why not just sit back and let the investigation play out?
    Do you have some reason to distrust Mueller’s ethics? Doesn’t his established non-partisan track record and bi-partisan support matter?
    Do accusations of foreign meddling in our elections or whistle blowers being paid for their silence not concern you?
    What kind of patriot are you?

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms — elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest — will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial […]. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.”
    — Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

  20. Meta
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    NYT: “Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records of Payments to Women”

    The F.B.I. agents who raided the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday were looking for records about payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, and information related to the publisher of The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women, several people briefed on the investigation said.

    The search warrant carried out by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan federal attorney’s office seeks information about Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model who claims she carried on a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump shortly after the birth of his son in 2006. Ms. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, whose chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s.

    Agents were also searching Michael D. Cohen’s office for information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, who says she also had sex with Mr. Trump while he was married. Mr. Cohen has acknowledged that he paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence just days before the 2016 presidential election.

    Read more:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/us/politics/trump-russia-mueller-rosenstein.html

  21. Lindsey Graham by proxy
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Senator Lindsey Graham on why he’s not concerned about the possibility that Donald Trump could fire Mueller or Rosenstein:

    “I am confident that that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency and he’s not going to do that.”

  22. EOS
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Fire Mueller? It’s far more likely that Sessions will indict Mueller, Comey, and a host of others.

  23. wobblie
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    JH, Everyone of these folks ethics are in the gutter. Trump leads the pack of moral retro bats. But don’t forget that Mueller when head of the FBI under Bush lied through his teeth to Congress about Iraq and MWD. Why anyone trust any of the liars that are the ruling class and their functionaries is beyond reason.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/conflicts-of-interest-and-ethics-robert-mueller-and_us_5936a148e4b033940169cdc8

    Though I do like your quote from Huxley, pretty much sums things up.

  24. wobblie
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Rod Rosenstein might have some ethics and could enforce that on his subordinates, including Mueller. One can hope.

  25. stupid hick
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    “Polling shows that opinions on the Russia investigation are split”

    And if your opinion is based on “knowledge” you get from Trump’s tweets, or any source Trump does NOT complain about, your opinion is shit. Cue EOS.

    “If you only left your bubble on occasion you would realize how ridiculous this seems to the majority of the country. And the funniest part is that if the deep state is successful in getting rid of Trump, we’ll have a President who is a staunch conservative with much more experience in running a government. Guess who laughs last?”

    EOS, by my estimation, is at least twice as smart as HW, yet he believes Trump’s situation is a manufactured “deep state” conspiracy. And he believes the majority of the country agrees! What do you even say to someone like that? Nothing funny about Trump at all, and whether Pence is the one to replace him should be immaterial to anyone with any principles. So who laughs last if Trump remains? “The Russians”? “The Devil”? I pray for EOS.

  26. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    That Trump is a Republican should be irrelevant, just as the fact that Clinton as a Democrat was irrelevant to the fact that he lied under oath.

    Liberal democracies are built on laws and institutions that respect, follow and enforce those laws. If one does not believe that Presidents and his associates should be investigated for potential ethical and legal breaches, one does not believe in the foundation of the country we live in, where politicians are not kings and not above being questioned, doubted and scrutinized at every turn.

  27. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I dislike Pence greatly, but would prefer him to Trump. It pains me to say that, but it is true.

    Pence will help implement policies that I don’t like, but then everything that Trump has done to date has been typical Republican fare. Policy-wise, I doubt that Pence would be any different.

  28. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    If I were a Republican, or a Republican voter, I would be horrified at this Presidency. I’m honestly perplexed that more people aren’t.

    I would be encouraging an impeachment. Pence has to be preferable to this.

  29. Eel
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Looks like someone is about to feel some Twitter wrath.

    “Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Reportedly Approved FBI Raid On Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Personally” https://bit.ly/2qj3iTc

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    The Republicans I know who have any brains whatsoever did not vote for Trump and believe his presidency represents a hostile takeover of their party and an existential threat to its viability.

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Stupid Hick– I disagree with your assessment of the relative intelligence of EOS and HW. EOS believes the Earth was created 4000 years ago. HW may have been delusional but at least he had developed a cohesive narrative not built on the absolute authority of a religious text, subjectively interpreted. There is nothing about intelligence that protects one from being wrong. Humility protects one from being wrong, or at least allows for changing one’s viewpoint as facts emerge. Neither HW nor EOS has shown much humility here.

  32. stupid hick
    Posted April 11, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    If EOS believes the world is 4000 years old, I don’t agree, but I accept it is his sincerely held religious belief. I can accept it as an expression of faith rather than a statement of fact. Even if EOS claims to believe it as fact. Religious faith in Trump I don’t understand or accept. Trump is the opposite of Jesus.

  33. Meta
    Posted May 3, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    NBC: “Feds tapped Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s phones”

    Federal investigators have wiretapped the phone lines of Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for President Donald Trump who is under investigation for a payment he made to an adult film star who alleged she had an affair with Trump, according to two people with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen.

    It is not clear how long the wiretap has been authorized, but NBC News has learned it was in place in the weeks leading up to the raids on Cohen’s offices, hotel room, and home in early April, according to one person with direct knowledge.

    At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was intercepted, the person said.

    Previously, federal prosecutors in New York have said in court filings that they have conducted covert searches on multiple e-mail accounts maintained by Cohen.

    Spokespeople for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in New York declined comment.

    Read more:
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/feds-tapped-trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-s-phones-n871011

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] since word came out yesterday that the office, home and hotel room of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had been raided b…, people have been wondering if, perhaps, this might be the thing that finally causes Trump to go […]

  2. […] start by talking about Michael Cohen, who, as you may recall, had his New York home, hotel room, and Rockefeller Center offices raided last Saturday by FBI agents…. We knew at the time that New York State prosecutors were after information concerning […]

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