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Cohen Lawyer Says His Client Has 'Knowledge' of Russia Campaign Conspiracy
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48961"><span class="small">Shannon Pettypiece, Jennifer Jacobs and Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg</span></a>   
Wednesday, 22 August 2018 08:28

Excerpt: "President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has 'knowledge' about computer hacking and collusion that may interest Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Cohen's lawyer said."

Michael Cohen exits the federal court in New York on Aug. 21. (photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg)
Michael Cohen exits the federal court in New York on Aug. 21. (photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg)

ALSO SEE: Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty, Implicates Trump
in Hush-Money Scheme to Influence Election

Cohen Lawyer Says His Client Has 'Knowledge' of Russia Campaign Conspiracy

By Shannon Pettypiece, Jennifer Jacobs and Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg

22 August 18


resident Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has "knowledge" about computer hacking and collusion that may interest Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Cohen’s lawyer said.

One day after Cohen pleaded guilty to illegal campaign finance charges over hush money paid to a porn actress and a former Playboy model -- all but naming Trump as having ordered him to do it -- Cohen’s lawyer said Wednesday he would be happy to share the information with the special counsel or Congress.

“It’s my observation that Mr. Cohen has knowledge that would be of interest to the special counsel about the issue of whether Donald Trump, ahead of time, knew about the hacking of emails, which is a computer crime," attorney Lanny Davis told CNN in an interview Wednesday.

Davis told MSNBC Tuesday night that Cohen’s knowledge involves the "possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election."

Cohen would not accept a pardon from Trump, if offered, Davis said. “Not only is he not hoping for it, he would not accept a pardon. He considers a pardon from somebody who has acted so corruptly as president to be something he would never accept,” Davis told NBC Wednesday.

Trump suffered through perhaps the worst day of his presidency Tuesday as his personal lawyer implicated him in a crime at almost the same time his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, became a convicted felon.

Moments after the charges in Cohen’s plea were read aloud in a Manhattan courtroom, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud charges, boosting Mueller’s investigation.

The dueling sagas were the clearest sign yet of the political and legal peril that is increasingly threatening Trump’s presidency. While the legal ramifications will take more time to unfold, the political damage is already being felt, with Democrats seizing on the rulings.

“The White House looks increasingly like a criminal enterprise with the convictions today of President Trump’s former campaign manager and personal lawyer," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said in a statement.

A president who won election in part by labeling his opponent, Hillary Clinton, a criminal -- complete with chants of “lock her up!” at campaign rallies -- has now seen three close associates brought down by federal prosecutors, including his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

U.S. equity futures fell while stocks in Europe and Asia were mixed as investors gauged the fallout from the legal drama. Early trading on the S&P 500 Index declined 0.2 percent, the first retreat in a week, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 0.1 percent.

Separate Probes

Mueller’s probe into whether the Trump campaign was involved in Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections continues. But Mueller handed off the Cohen case to federal prosecutors in New York, which means that his guilty plea intensifies a second -- and entirely separate -- investigation that could threaten the president.

Trump tried to shrug off the Manafort conviction, telling reporters Tuesday that “it had nothing to do with Russian collusion, so we continue the witch hunt.”

His lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said the Cohen plea deal wasn’t related to Trump. “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,” he said in a statement. “It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.” 

Cohen didn’t name Trump in court, referring instead to a "candidate" who directed him to make the illegal payments.

Davis was more direct, saying in a statement later Tuesday that Cohen “stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election.”

A U.S. prosecutor told the judge the purpose of the payments was to ensure that the individuals did not disclose "alleged affairs with the candidate." In addition to a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, Cohen admitted to making an illegal contribution of $150,000, which was how much former Playmate Karen McDougal received from the National Enquirer’s publisher to quash her story about an alleged affair.

Cohen has been under investigation since at least April, when the FBI raided his home and office.

Democrats immediately seized on the news to attack the president, as they look ahead to congressional elections in November where they hope to win back at least one chamber of Congress. And a number of Republicans also said the developments marked a significant turning point for Trump.

‘A Criminal President’

“It’s a big day, it’s a bad day,” said John Dean, former White House counsel for Richard Nixon, on the implications of Cohen’s plea on Trump and his presidency. “I think we’ve established today that we have a criminal president, and that is historic.”

Aboard Air Force One en route to West Virginia, Trump watched Fox News coverage of the Manafort verdict and Cohen’s plea, two people near him said.

They described the president as somber but calm, and added that he said nothing critical about Cohen or Manafort. One aide said that Trump is battle-tested at this point and knows how to deal with extreme stress.

But there was no joking around on Air Force One like there sometimes is.

People close to the president reassured him and shared ways to deal with fallout from double-barreled bad news. What Trump was most interested in: How it’s all playing.

Aides were aware Tuesday was a very bad day and were relieved the president wasn’t sitting in the White House residence tied to the television for the evening. His travel companions, Congressman Alex Mooney and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, both of West Virginia, and Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, distracted him with conversation about legislative issues and other topics, the people added.

In West Virginia, he did a private roundtable, a photo line, then the re-election campaign rally -- surrounded by people who were happy to see him.

Some of Trump’s aides and allies were worried about the consequences of the day’s events. Two of them expressed concern for the country. Two others said it is now likelier that Democrats will win the House of Representatives in November.

“Today clarifies that November is a referendum on impeachment -- an up-or-down vote,” Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, said. “Every Trump supporter needs to get with the program.”

If Trump knew about the payments and that they were illegal, he could be charged with violating election law for accepting illegal payments and not disclosing them, said Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance lawyer with Common Cause. Current Justice Department guidelines state that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and that any wrongdoing should be referred to Congress for impeachment proceedings. Those guidelines aren’t binding.

After first denying knowledge of the payment, Trump admitted in May to reimbursing Cohen for a $130,000 payment made on the eve of the election to Daniels, the porn actress, although he denied the transaction had anything to do with the campaign or involved campaign funds. Trump was also heard on a 2016 recording made by Cohen that appears to show Trump was informed of the payments.

At nearly the same time in a Virginia courtroom, Manafort was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to file a financial document with the government, and two counts of bank fraud. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the other 10 counts. He was accused of lying to tax authorities about his income and offshore tax accounts, failing to file reports about those accounts, and defrauding banks to get loans.

The case was the first brought by Mueller to go to trial and gives weight to his investigation. Mueller has charged 32 people and secured five guilty pleas.

"It’s a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace," Trump said Tuesday of the Manafort verdict. "This has nothing what they started out looking for -- Russians involved in our campaign, there were none." Trump declined to answer questions on Cohen. your social media marketing partner


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+5 # BetaTheta 2018-08-22 10:43
Cohen will be depicted, of course, as "lying, unreliable, criminal scum," as was Rick Gates. And Trump, like Manafort, as the "unknowing victim."
+10 # DongiC 2018-08-22 12:13
Trump is having a bad dream, a real shocker where he can't make a deal even to save his own soul. Neither can he fire anyone who is giving him trouble. He is still able to use Twitter, though, and he is still very fond of calling Mueller's work a witch-hunt. The only witches around appear to live in the White House. Once again, Trump blames others for what he loves to do himself. Psychologists call this "projection"; it signals some disturbing mental states ahead.
-15 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-22 12:16
"Cohen Lawyer Says His Client Has 'Knowledge' of Russia Campaign Conspiracy"

So, let's hear it. We've been waiting for this smoking gun. So far Meuller has only been shooting blanks. Maybe this will give him a real bullet.

"Cohen’s knowledge involves the "possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election."

We all know this has been happening for quite a while. But no one in the FBI/DOJ or the two political parties have ever expressed any interest before. So maybe this prosecutor from New York will track down all of the voter suppression, cross-checking, ballot tampering, vote access rigging, and a lot more that have marred elections since at least 2000 when GW Bush was "selected" by the Supreme Court.

I doubt that the conspiracy Cohen knows about will include the leaks from the DNC and Podesta emails. More and more evidence pours in to say it was a leak and not a hack. The latest is Julian Assange's mother who tweeted --

“Its the duty of media to inform citizens about corruption,” she began.

“A DNC Bernie supporter [Seth Rich] disgruntled with rigging leaked docs proving corruption. What should Wikileaks should have done? Hold on to them till after the election to advantage Hillary?”

“You are shooting the messenger!” Its the duty of media to inform citizens about corruption."
-5 # laborequalswealth 2018-08-23 08:37
Guess you're now going to be tagged as a Russian troll for telling the truth.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-25 12:54
Labor -- yes, I will be tagged. we are not allowed to see any election corruption other than what the Russians do. It is not corruption if the demos, repubs, or the FBI does it. They are good americans.
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-23 09:52
One more point. Brennan said he too has knowledge of Trump-Russia collusion but when pushed on it, he backed off. Mark Warner and Adam Schiff both say they have evidence of Trump collusion with Putin but when pushed on it they evade the question. Lots of people say this and yet no one has provided any solid information. What's going on??
-3 # laborequalswealth 2018-08-23 08:35
Paying off an inconvenient dolly before an election.

Surely this has NEVER ever happened in American politics. (Cue eye-roll.)

Who the fuck cares? The real issue is: What is Trump doing NOW? And the Demos sit and do nothing.
+1 # rationalwinseverytime 2018-08-23 10:07
November 6, 2016 was the worst night of my life. To my complete horror, Donald Trump was elected President. How could it be? Everyone I knew hated him. My head almost exploded. Well, it could be and it was and it is. I learned that I used to live in an echo chamber, only hearing the views of people with whom I agreed. It was nice, it was pleasant, but it didn't prepare me for this reality: that tens of millions of people wanted Trump to be President and he carried more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton. I bring this up because, once again, we Democrats are smoking fantasy weed believing that Trump will be forced out of office. Won't happen. Republicans will hold the Senate and thus the Senate will not convict him, even if he is impeached. Meanwhile, we're losing the support of our key constituencies because they have jobs again and we're left hoping that the US has a recession so Democrats can win office, which makes us look like unpatriotic looney tunes.
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-23 13:42
Oh, you are being so rational about all of this! You are supposed to allow your emotional collapse of Nov. 6 and your hatred of Trump to completely overwhelm your reason.

But I agree with you. Trump won. We should deal with that by fixing the Demo party and making it the real representative of working Americans. Instead, the Russiagate baloney is dividing the democrats and uniting the republicans. That's not looking good.
+3 # moreover 2018-08-23 14:26
Let's be clear: had the hush money to the whores come out so soon after the Access Hollywood pussy grab tapes Trump would not have become president.
+1 # DongiC 2018-08-24 09:56
Of course, you are fcorrect.

Of course, the Trump people here at RSN, led by RR et al. will not agree with you. Take heart, they are vastly outnumbered!
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-25 12:57
Dong -- Bill Clinton's bimbo erruptions did not sink him. I don't know what would have happened if people would have known about Trump what they know now. Trump did not so much win as Hillary lost. He unpopularity grew every day. The longer it went on, the less people were willing to vote for her.