Tag Archives: Michael Cohen

‘Sleaze’: the term that defines Trump presidency

Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion and obstruction of justice is slogging toward a conclusion no one can yet predict.

The special counsel has conducted himself with consummate professionalism. The person he is investigating, Donald John Trump Sr., has not.

The president has been revealing for all the world to see the level of sleaze that has permeated his professional career. It has followed him into his private life. It well might have infected the presidency.

These audio recordings of Trump discussing payoffs of hush money to a Playboy model who alleges a nearly yearlong affair with the future president offer up only the latest case in point. The recordings come from Michael Cohen, who already has acknowledged paying another woman, porn queen Stormy Daniels, to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter she alleges having with Trump.

Trump denies both events occurred. Oh, but he paid these women the money. For what purpose? To buy them gifts? No. To keep them quiet!

Sleazy in the extreme.

It’s only the latest. The “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump bragging about he could grab women by their private area offers an even more graphic example.

The sleaze that surrounds the president has been built over many years. The very election of Donald Trump to the nation’s highest office does not erase it.

To think, too, that none of this was terribly surprising even during the 2016 presidential campaign. The 62 million Americans who cast their ballots for Trump more than likely knew at least tangentially about what he did during the entirety of his professional career. They knew about his serial philandering. They knew about how he has acted toward women and how he has lied at every turn.

Trump got their votes anyway.

It’s fair to ask: Has this level of sleaze become the new normal in American politics?

Sickening.

Trump and Cohen: one liar hired another liar?

You’ll need to follow me for just a moment on this one.

Michael Cohen once was Donald J. Trump’s trusted confidant. Trump spoke highly of his lawyer. He called him a good friend, a good lawyer, a dedicated professional.

Then the confidant goes through a change of heart. He says some things about Trump that the president has objected to vigorously. Now he’s a liar. He cannot be trusted.

And then comes the president’s current lawyer, Rudolf Giuliani, who this weekend described Cohen’s lying traits as “pathological.” He is a serial liar. He’s been lying for years, according to the former America’s Mayor.

But … wait!

Trump hired Cohen many years ago because he trusted him. What is Giuliani suggesting? Is he suggesting that Trump — a man with considerable “liar credentials” of his own — hire someone knowing he has this capacity for lying?

So, while Giuliani trashes Cohen’s motives and his credibility, is he also condemning the man who hired him in the first place?

Of course he isn’t. Giuliani has embarked on a credibility trashing campaign on behalf of his boss, Trump.

Which version of Michael Cohen are we expected to believe, the one who slathered all over Donald John Trump, or the one who is declaring his independence from someone he doesn’t trust as far as he can throw him?

The ‘Fixer’ now seeks to damage Trump?

You might not expect me to say this, but here it comes anyway: Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former good friend and lawyer, has allegedly revealed another big lie from the president of the United States … but it might not matter.

Hey, I think it’s a big deal. Others think it’s a big deal. But the president’s penchant for prevarication has become almost standard fare now.

Cohen reports that candidate Donald Trump knew of a meeting with Russian operatives before it happened during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has said he didn’t know about it. Don Trump Jr. has said he never told Dad about it. Cohen, though, says Junior told Senior about it before the fact.

Thus, the president and his First Son lied in public about what they knew — or didn’t know.

The Russians reportedly had dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s Democratic foe in the election. They allegedly wanted to meet with Trump to tell him what they had. Did the candidate call the FBI to rat them out? Did Don Jr. do it? Did anyone squeal about principals from a hostile country to the feds? No.

Now it might be that Trump has been caught in another whopper.

Will anyone care? I do. So should you.

‘Attack on our system’? Sure thing, Mr. POTUS

An FBI raid on the office of a former Donald Trump lawyer and confidant is back in the news.

It turns out the FBI obtained record from Michael Cohen that he recorded a conversation with the then-president elect, Donald Trump, about a payment to a Playboy model with whom Trump allegedly had a relationship about a decade ago.

I mention the FBI raid because I just watched Trump’s reaction to the raid earlier this year. Perhaps you remember what he said. He called it an “attack on our system.” He vilified the FBI for conducting what he called an illegal raid on a “good man,” Cohen.

Given what we know these days about the Russian attack on our democratic system, I find the president’s assertion that the FBI rises to that level utterly absurd on its face.

The attack on our system occurred in Moscow when Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic operatives’ files in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

And the raid itself? It was done properly. The FBI obtained a federal court order, as required by law. Indeed, Cohen himself said the agents were courteous and respectful while they scooped up the evidence they sought and delivered to special counsel Robert Mueller.

All this baloney about “witch hunt,” and “attacks on our system” need to be put in their proper perspective. To hear the president of the United States use this kind of language only intensifies what we know to be the facts about this man’s election.

The attack came not from within, but from the Kremlin.

Hey, did POTUS break a law?

History may be about to repeat itself. I put the emphasis on “may be,” as in “maybe.”

The FBI seized papers and other material from former Donald Trump lawyer/friend Michael Cohen and then discovered a recorded evidence that he and Trump discussed payments to a former Playboy model who has contended she and Trump had an yearlong affair before Trump became president.

How is history repeating itself?

Follow the bouncing ball  …

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998 for committing perjury to a federal grand jury, which asked him about an affair the president was having with a White House intern; Clinton lied when he denied the relationship.

The House then learned about that infamous blue dress. The Republican majority then had its cause for impeachment: The president took an oath to follow the law; he didn’t when he lied to the grand jury. Thus, the impeachment.

Special counsel Robert Mueller now has all the evidence seized in that FBI raid of Cohen’s office. He recorded conversations with the president over the payment to the Playboy model, Karen McDougal.

Did the president, then, possibly violate campaign finance laws when he paid off the model, perhaps to keep her quiet, just as he paid the hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels? Did he break the law by failing to disclose the payment as required by law of those who are running for president?

Is there another law broken here? Are there, um, grounds for impeachment? It might sound specious to those who think the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.” Then again, there were those on the other side who said the same thing about the Kenneth Starr examination into President Clinton’s behavior.

To be sure, the GOP majority in the House isn’t likely to go along with an impeachment resolution. Democrats most certainly would, which then makes the upcoming congressional election all the more critical. Do you get my drift? Of course you do!

Conviction, quite clearly, is another matter — as the GOP found out in 1998 and as Democrats could learn in, say, 2019.

Another campaign kicks off? Seriously?

“Our troops didn’t die in Yorktown, didn’t take Normandy beach, didn’t rebuild Europe and secure the postwar peace that you are now destroying, Mr. President, for you to live as a Manchurian candidate in our White House.”

Who do you suppose made this statement today?

OK, I’ll give it up. It came from Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represents Stormy Daniels/Stephanie Clifford, the porn star who alleges she took a one-night tumble in a hotel room about a dozen years ago with Donald J. Trump Sr.

Why do I even mention this? Why devote any blog space to this guy?

Because he annoys me. That’s why.

Avenatti is becoming the ubiquitous lawyer who seems to my way of thinking to be more interested in promoting his own interests than in protecting the interests of his most famous client.

Avenatti delivered some kind of speech today in front of the White House in which he called Trump a “Manchurian candidate.”

I need some help on many matters. One of them involves whether the content of Avenatti’s speech has anything to do with Daniels/Clifford’s beef with Donald Trump.

Yes, Trump deserves criticism. I’ve delivered my share of it from this forum. Yes, Avenatti also is entitled to criticize the president as well. His public celebrity status, though, is due to his legal representation of a woman who received a hush-money payment from a guy who once was the president’s lawyer/Mr. Fix It.

I am believing now that Michael Avenatti is branching out.

Is there another political career in the making before our eyes?

I’m tired of this guy already.

Strange legal bedfellows?

This is weird.

Lanny Davis, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s better friends, is now representing Michael Cohen, who until just recently was supposedly a friend of and legal adviser to Donald J. Trump … although I am unclear just how many “friends” the president actually has.

Cohen is now declaring some form of independence from Trump, the guy he used to work for as a “fixer” and, oh yes, for whom he wrote that $130,000 check to keep the porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about the tryst she had years ago with the man who would become president of the United States.

As The Hill reported: Cohen, who previously worked for Trump, told (ABC News’s George) Stephanopoulos last week that his “first loyalty” lies with his family, not the president. 

I don’t know about you, but this is looking to me as though Cohen is about to unleash all he knows about Trump’s behavior. I am pretty sure the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is going to be all ears.

What about Cohen’s relationship with Lanny Davis? I guess there’s something to be said about strange bedfellows, yes?

Connecting some dots inside the White House

I feel like connecting a few dots. So … here goes.

The 2016 Republican Party presidential nominee was revealed in a decade-old recording boasting about how he could grab women by their “pu***” because his status as a “star” gave him license.

The nominee, Donald John Trump, was elected president.

He declares war on media outlets that he finds disagreeable. He calls them “fake news” and then submits to interviews almost exclusively with Fox News, which was run by the late Roger Ailes.

Ailes, meanwhile, gets hit with complaints of sexual harassment by a number of high-profile female journalists; Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson are two of them.

Ailes gets the boot. But his No. 2 man, Bill Shine, stands with him and allegedly covers up for the boss.

Then, just this week, Shine — who left Fox News — has been named deputy White House chief of staff in charge of communications.

So, we have the president — who has a history of sexual harassment complaints leveled against him by many women — hires a guy with a sexual harassment history of his own. The White House underling is now director of communications for the administration.

It’s fair to wonder about Trump’s values. He never rails against accusations of sexual harassment. He defends those against whom these complaints are leveled; he called former Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly — who also faced such accusations — a “good man.”

Trump reportedly takes a dim view of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, believing that the women who make accusations against powerful men are off base.

Oh, and then his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep quiet about a tryst that Trump says never happened.

What do you suppose is the common denominator here? Let’s see. I think it’s boorish behavior toward women, which appears to have Donald Trump’s fingerprints all over it.

It’s not really our business, however …

Donald J. Trump’s lawyer of the moment, Rudy Giuliani, has decided to speak about the first lady’s view of one of her husband’s, um, episodes involving other women.

Giuliani said Melania Trump “believes” the president when he says he didn’t have a tryst with a pornographic film actress, Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, in a hotel room back in 2006.

So, how does the former New York City mayor come to that conclusion? Do you think he asked Mrs. Trump directly? Did he ask the president himself? Or is he just making a conclusion based on nothing at all?

None of this in reality is anyone’s business. However, since one of the principals involved in this idiocy happens to be the president of the United States, it sort of morphs itself into the public domain.

I have difficulty accepting that Mrs. Trump would even answer such a question, even if it comes from the man who’s now representing her husband in his myriad battles to fend off investigations of all sorts. They include this matter involving Clifford/Daniels … allegedly.

I still circle back to the one aspect of that tryst that makes it all so very believable. It’s the payment of 130 grand in real American money that another lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to Daniels to keep her quiet. One must ask: If there was no sexual encounter, why would he have to pay the hush money?

As for whether Giuliani is relying on Donald Trump’s assertion that his (third) wife believes his denials about a one-night stand with Daniels — sigh! — I only can fall back on the many lies Trump has told since he began his political career in 2015.

If it were me — and I am so glad that it isn’t — I wouldn’t believe a single word that flies out of the president’s mouth.

How does she do her job?

“We give the very best information that we have at the time.”

So said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in response to a question about her boss, Donald Trump, and his “blatant disregard for the truth.”

The issue of the day deals with Trump’s repayment of hush money to porn queen Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied making the payment to his lawyer, Michael Cohen, who forked over the money to Daniels in the first place; Sanders has parroted the president’s denial.

Now all of that has been tossed aside.

I’ll stipulate once again that I have been no fan of Sanders’s conduct as White House press flack. However, truth be told (no pun intended), she is being asked to do the impossible. She cannot speak the truth because she is not given the truth up front from the president or those who comprise his inner circle.

According to Politico: Not just in Thursday’s briefing, but overall, “the best information we have at the time” has become something of a go-to line for Sanders — her version of apparently throwing up her arms in the face of a president who has proved not only impulsive and prone to changing his mind, but who has exhibited an unprecedented propensity for falsehoods. As his official spokesperson, Sanders’ performance in Tuesday’s briefing left some reporters further questioning not just the president’s credibility, but also that of his press secretary and the entire White House.

I won’t go nearly so far as to express sympathy for Sanders. She surely had to know what she was buying into when she replaces Sean Spicer as White House press secretary. It well might be that Spicer warned her up front: Be careful, Sarah; the boss can’t tell the truth … about anything!

I hate believing that Sanders is a willing participant in the president’s penchant for prevarication. Her willingness to remain at her post, though, seems to give critics such as yours truly little choice to believe the worst in the White House press secretary.