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Tag: michael cohen

How Hush Payment in Secret Cohen Tape May Show Trump Broke the Law

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The secret recording of Donald Trump discussing a hush payment to a former Playboy model who claimed they had an affair strongly suggests the president and his team knew about the payment and lied about it.

But did he break the law?

The payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal came just two months before the presidential election, and that’s important because many election experts believe the money would need to be disclosed as part of Trump’s campaign finances.

“If Trump did want a cash payment, that might have been to conceal evidence — at the time — of what may have been a violation of campaign finance law,” the New York Times wrote. “Other aspects of the call show Trump preoccupied with the election, and as Philip Bump points out, this suggests Cohen was, for all practical purposes, making this payment as an “agent” of Trump’s campaign, making this a potential undisclosed campaign expenditure, which could be illegal.”

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told the New York Times that it’s significant that Trump mentioned cash.

“If this expenditure was made on behalf of the campaign and it was not disclosed, and it was done willfully, that’s a crime,” McQuade said. If Trump wanted that done in cash, McQuade continued, “it suggests an effort to conceal the payment. If you’re hiding things, prosecutors often see that as some indication that you believe you were guilty, that you knew what you were doing was illegal. Taking steps to cover it up does tend to establish that willfulness. That could be incriminating.”

The Times added:

McQuade added that in such a scenario, prosecutors could conceivably see Trump as a “co-conspirator” in a “conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws,” though McQuade added that it’s unlikely that prosecutors would bring such charges against a sitting president, even by naming him as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” Still, McQuade added that if more evidence emerged of additional instances of such payments, “the case may become more significant.”

Trevor Noah Says Cohen Tape Is ‘Perfect Audiobook for Our Road Trip to Hell’

Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Late-night hosts had fun with the disclosure of a secretly recorded conversation between Trump attorney Michael Cohen and the president over hush payments to a Playboy playmate.

“Ever since Vladimir Putin annexed Trump’s balls in Helsinki, President Trump has been having a rough time back home,” Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah said. “Half of America thinks he acted treasonous with Putin, some Republicans say he’s being manipulated, and last week Paul Ryan furrowed his brow extra hard, so you know he means business.”

Noah described the tapes as “the perfect audiobook for America’s road trip to hell”.

“At this point, it would be weirder if Russia didn’t have blackmail material on Trump, because everyone seems to have blackmail material on President Trump,” Noah said. “Michael Cohen has tapes, Access Hollywood has tapes, Howard Stern has tapes. Even Eric has tapes: his most prized possession is a voicemail his dad left him during a butt dial.”

Stephen Colbert also got in on the action, launching into 12 Days of Christmas after saying, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael “Avenatti was right, because today it was revealed the feds actually have 12 Michael Cohen audio recordings.”

Secret Tape Reveals Trump, Cohen Discussed Payment to Ex-Playmate

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen’s secretly recorded conversation with Donald Trump in 2016 reveals the president mentioned “cash” while discussing a possible payment to a former Playboy model Karen McDougal who claims she had an affair with Trump.

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

The newly released audio was captured by Cohen, who was Trump’s attorney, as the two discussed “how to set the whole thing up with funding.”

Trump responds, “What financing” before appearing today, “pay with cash.”

Cohen quickly interrupts, saying, “No, no, no, no no, I got …” before the recording cuts off.

The recording is significant because the audio indicates Trump was aware of allegations of the affair and plans to pay McDougal to keep her quiet.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Tedious Work: FBI Piecing Together Shredded Documents From Michael Cohen Raid

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes FBI work can be pretty tedious.

The agency is piecing together shredded documents found in its raid of Michael Cohen’s home and office while investigating President Trump’s personal attorney for suspected financial crimes, The Hill reports.

CNN reports that there is not a large amount of shredded material.

The federal government has so far turned over 3.7 million seized documents for Cohen’s attorneys to assess whether anything is privileged information. The FBI continues to pore over the shredded documents and an additional 19 storage devices including hard drives and thumb drives, as well as several Blackberry phones, The Hills writes.

Business with Ties to Russian Oligarch Paid Cohen’s Shell Company $500,000

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An American company with connections to a Russian oligarch made a $500,000 payment to a shell company that President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, used to pay hush money to a porn film star.

The New York Times reports that the shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, had transactions of at least $4.4 million. The company was launched shortly before Trump was elected president in November 2016 and continued to operate until at least this January, according to records.

CNN and other news outlets reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the $500,000 payment from Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment firm whose biggest client is Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

A lawyer for the company told the New York times that the payment was unrelated to Vekselberg and was part of a consulting fee.

Fortune 500 companies that had business before the president also made payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Essential Consultants.

The Times reported:

References to the transactions first appeared in a document posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. The lawyer’s seven-page document, titled “Preliminary Report of Findings,” does not explain the source of his information but describes in detail dates, dollar amounts and parties involved in various dealings by Mr. Cohen and his company. Most of the transactions involved two banks: First Republic Bank and City National Bank.

The Times’s review of financial records confirmed much of what was in Mr. Avenatti’s report. In addition, a review of documents and interviews shed additional light on Mr. Cohen’s dealings with the company connected to Mr. Vekselberg, who was stopped and questioned at an airport earlier this year by investigators for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Taken together, The Times’s findings and Mr. Avenatti’s report offer the most detailed picture yet on Mr. Cohen’s business dealings and financial entanglements in the run-up to the election and its aftermath. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud and election-law violations, among other matters, according to people briefed on the investigation. Stephen Ryan, a lawyer representing Mr. Cohen, declined to comment.

Feds Wiretapped Phone Lines of Trump’s Longtime Attorney Cohen

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators wiretapped the phones lines of President Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, in the weeks leading up to the raids on his office, home and hotel room, according to a new report.

At least one of those intercepted phone calls was from the White House, NBC reported Thursday afternoon.

The FBI raided Cohen’s properties last month and seized emails and records related to his clients, two of whom are the president and television personality Sean Hannity.

After the raid, Trump’s attorneys advised him to contact Cohen, who, among other things, is under investigation for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Thursday, in an extraordinary admission that contradicts previous statements, Trump tweeted that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Since the case is being investigated by New York prosecutors, Trump can’t stop the probe by firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading up the Russia investigation and trying to determine whether the president obstructed justice.

FBI Interviews MMA Fighter with Ties to Trump, Cohen And Putin

Fedor Emelianenko

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI questioned a Russian mixed martial arts fighter with connections to President Trump, his personal attorney Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Agents tracked down Fedor Emelianenko in his hotel room last week, manager Jerry Millen told the Associated Press

“The FBI came to the hotel looking to talk to Fedor,” Millen said, “and they were very nice, came in to speak with Fedor for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that’s all I can really say about it. Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door.”

Emelianenko’s connections date back to 2008, when he joined a fight league – Affliction Entertainment – that Trump had a stake. The joint venture folded after just two events for financial reasons.

The fighter also has been photographed with Putin, who has attended some of the 41-year-old’s fights.

Cohen served as the league’s chief operating officer. Cohen’s office, hotel and home were raided by the FBI earlier the month.

Former Watergate Attorney: Trump Invoking Fifth Amendment Would Be ‘Political Suicide’

Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Watergate prosecutor warned that President Trump would commit “political suicide” if he invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the lawsuit filed by pornographic film star Stormy Daniels.

“He cannot take the Fifth Amendment,” Jill Wine-Banks said on MSNBC. “That would be political suicide.”

Her comments follow news that longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid depositions and disclosing sensitive information that could be used against him in the criminal investigation.

“Michael Cohen can take the Fifth Amendment,” Wine-Banks said. “But the president of the United States cannot say, ‘I can’t answer questions because they might incriminate me in another matter.’ That just is not politically acceptable.”

Daniels filed a lawsuit against Cohen to get out of a nondisclosure agreement i which Cohen said he paid her $130,000 to stay quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump.

Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney of President Trump, plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying in a lawsuit filed against the president by pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels.

Cohen, whose office, hotel room and home were raided by the FBI earlier this month as part of a criminal investigation by prosecutors in New York City, cited the probe in a court filing in California, where the lawsuit was filed, the New York Times reports. 

According to the filing, Cohen said if he’s called as witnesses in the lawsuit, “I will assert my 5th Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

Cohen said he paid Daniels $130,000, which she said was meant to keep her quiet about claims that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

By invoking the Fifth Amendment, Cohen won’t be subjected to depositions and be forced to disclose sensitive information that could be used against him in the criminal investigation.

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