Raiding the Fixer (Cartoon, Column and Video)
Donald Trump said the raid on his private attorney’s office is an attack on our country and what we all stand for. Apparently, we all stand for money laundering and paying porn stars hush money.
Michael Cohen is less of an attorney and more of a personal fixer. It helps when you have a law license. On Mueller Monday, April 9, the FBI raided Cohen’s office at 30 Rockefeller (yeah, the same building that houses NBC), his home, and hotel room (because he’s been staying in a hotel for a while). This is amazing just for the sheer fact Cohen is Trump’s lawyer. Lawyers and their clients share a privilege of secrecy and confidentiality, but that doesn’t mean a lawyer and his client can be partners in crime.
The FBI was working on behalf of the Southern District of New York, as Mueller’s team passed this case on to them. For investigators to acquire a warrant to raid a lawyer’s office and seize his files, computers, phones, etc, they had to convince a judge there was enough evidence to warrant a crime. The bar for acquiring such a warrant is extremely high, even if the client isn’t the president.
What sort of crimes could we be looking at? There’s the campaign finance violation. Cohen claims he paid off porn star Stormy Daniels out of the goodness of his heart to protect his friend, Donald Trump. Cohen and Trump both claim that Trump was unaware of this payment. But, this payment was days before the presidential election. This was a campaign contribution and it exceeded the maximum amount allowed for an individual, by a lot.
A lawyer is not supposed to make settlements on his client’s behalf without his client’s agreement, and these guys claim Trump didn’t know about it. He also negotiated the thing through his Trump organization email. Trump really does hire the best people. For this shenanigan, Cohen can and should lose his license to practice law.
Cohen says he took out a line of credit on his home for this money, which was never reimbursed by Trump. For him to take out this line of credit he would have to apply for the loan. Did he put “porn star hush payment” on the application? I’m going to bet he did not, and that alone may be bank fraud. Investigators are also looking into wire fraud. Criminals have been purchasing units in Trump’s towers for years for money laundering.
Trump has become unhinged over this raid. Before a meeting with his war advisers, he spoke to the press and referred to it as a “break-in,” when in fact it’s a lawful raid with a warrant. He claimed this was an attack on our nation. He was visibly disturbed as he groused about it with his arms tightly folded together. On the 11th Hour on MSNBC, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt said Trump looked like a dime-store Mussolini.
Trump complained about the people behind this being Obama’s people, that the FBI needed to go after Hillary Clinton, and he attacked his own appointees. He attacked Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the office that was handed the case by the Special Counsel. He again criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and not using his position as Trump’s personal protection service. He attacked the man overseeing the investigation, Rod Rosenstein, and he discussed firing Robert Mueller. What he didn’t mention was the rule of law. He talked about the unfairness of it all, as American society has made life difficult and grueling for white billionaires.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said, “This search warrant is like dropping a bomb on Trump’s front porch.” The FBI just raided the guy who knows all of Trump’s dirtiest secrets. If we know about the porn stars, what else is there that’s worse?
Cohen was the lead negotiator for the Moscow Trump Tower that Trump was working on during his presidential campaign. He even negotiated a $150,000 payment from a Ukrainian oligarch to the Trump Foundation for Trump to speak to a conference in Kiev during the presidential campaign. The Trump Foundation is a scam charity that Trump has used to purchase gifts for himself, to make political donations to a state attorney general in Florida who was looking into Trump University, and to pay Eric Trump’s Boy Scout fee.
The fear now is that Mueller is so close to Trump’s finances and dirty deeds that Trump may fire him. There’s no telling what investigators are going to find in Cohen’s secret stash. Trump has to weigh the fallout versus what Mueller may find. The problem with this is, the investigation into Cohen isn’t being handled by Mueller’s team, though some of it may be handed back to them depending on what’s found.
Trump also can’t fire Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, who won’t stop until he gets Trump into a deposition or a courtroom.
Trump is in trouble. His presidency is the epicenter of the corruption that has consumed his administration. He’s also used it to enrich himself and those close to him. He’s expressed more concern for his special interest than he has for the job he was elected to do. He’s running the presidency as he ran his company, like a family crime business.
The question that remains is; will Trump burn the country down and the rule of law to save his own ass? Unfortunately, precedent points toward his ass. Let’s hope Mueller nails it first.
Here’s the video.
Email Clay Jones at [email protected]