Stephanie Clifford

Noteworthy

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

#PutiTrump: Protest image of Vladimir Putin, artist unknown. Donald Trump in detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc, 2016.

In the long, nasty #trumpswindle, this is a moment worth noting:

• From October 2016 through January 2018, Mr. Cohen used his First Republic account to engag in suspicious financial transactions totaling $4,425,033.46.

• Chief among these suspicious financial transactions are approximately $500,000 in payments received from Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian Oligarch with an estimated net worth of nearly $13 Billion. Mr. Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC (“Columbus”) beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017.

(Avenatti & Associates)

And then, as we all gape in wonder:

The Daily Beast can confirm that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a company controlled by Putin-aligned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. The allegations were initially made by Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer. According to a dossier published by Avenatti on Tuesday evening, “Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017”. . . .

(Schactman)

Attorney Michael D. Cohen in New York City, 13 April 2018.  (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Reuters)And everybody is tempted to break out a catch phrase, or punch line, or maybe even hold their breath. Don’t.

Yeah, something just happened. This is still going to take a while, even if and especially when.

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Image note: Protest image of Vladimir Putin, artist unknown. Donald Trump in detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc, 2016.

Avenatti & Associates. “Executive Summary”. Project Sunlight. 8 May 2018.

Schactman, Noah. “Michael Cohen Took Cash From Russian Oligarch After Election”. The Daily Beast. 8 May 2018.

Trump Trumping Trump

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Generation Next forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., 22 March 2018. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

The thing is, it’s just not supposed to be this easy:

First, prosecutors have suggested that while Michael Cohen is an attorney, his work with Trump hasn’t strictly been in a legal capacity. The president seemed eager to bolster this point this morning, emphasizing repeatedly that Cohen is principally “a businessman.”

Second, the official line from Trump World has been that the president had nothing to do with the Stormy Daniels controversy. He wasn’t involved in the pre-election hush-money payoff, the argument went, and the president is completely in the dark when it comes to the whole sordid affair.

Trump suggested this morning that this narrative is false, making clear that Cohen represented him in the “deal” with the porn star, and asserting that he knows campaign funds weren’t used to buy Daniels’ silence.

And third, Trump is apparently of the opinion that if campaign funds didn’t finance the hush money, then there was nothing wrong with the payoff. That’s not even close to being true. In fact, there are all kinds of lingering questions about in-kind contributions and possible fraud that have nothing to do with whether campaign funds were used or not.

Michael Avenatti was apparently delighted to see Trump blurt out all of this useful information on national television this morning, describing the president’s on-air comments as “another gift from the heavens in this case.”

(Benen)

The part boggling all sensibility is how casually President Trump and his clownish cohort go about hurting themselves.

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Image notes: President Donald Trump attends a Generation Next forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., 22 March 2018. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

Benen, Steve. “Daniels’ lawyer: Trump’s new comments are a ‘gift from the heavens'”. msnbc. 26 April 2018.

The Buzzkill

‘Tis the season, but the season ain’t enough. A quick list of links to depress the hell out of you:

“I have a place I would like to take you where I hung your grandpa.”

Is this really how we do it in America?

• SOTU: Did you catch the part where President Obama made history? No, really, this is important, and comes on the heels of Eric Holder’s historic memorandum in December.

‘Oh, rascal children of Gaza’, by Sami Kishawi

• What does the phrase, “the eleven American nations”, mean?

• Something about “unequivocal support for law enforcement” goes here. And here. With an update here.

Yeah, sorry ’bout that. But do try to have a good day, anyway.

Another Case of NYPD Public Relations Heartburn

NYPD-car

There are those who suggest there is no such thing as bad press, but Tinseltown wisdom does not necessarily carry over into other industries. Certes, there is an argument to be made on a case by case basis, but some days other things are clear. To wit, the New York Police Department probably doesn’t need more bad press right now.

Taken individually, the cases seem to be routine examples of differences between the police account of an arrest and that of the person arrested. But taken together, the cases — along with other gun arrests made in the precinct by these officers — suggest a pattern of questionable police conduct and tactics.

Mr. Moore’s case has already been dismissed; a judge questioned the credibility of one of the officers, Detective Gregory Jean-Baptiste, saying he was “extremely evasive” on the witness stand.

Mr. Hooper spent a year in jail awaiting trial, eventually pleading guilty and agreeing to a sentence of time served after the judge in his case called the police version of events “incredible.”

In another example, Lt. Edward Babington, one of the four officers in Mr. Herring’s case, was involved in a federal gun case that was later dismissed and led to a $115,000 settlement. In that case, a federal judge said she believed that the “officers perjured themselves.”

(Clifford)

You know, like that.

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Clifford, Stephanie. “In Brooklyn Gun Cases, Suspicion Turns to the Police”. The New York Times. 11 December 2014.