Will this finally be what takes down Donald Trump? (If the way the GOP members of the House Oversight Committee reacted is any indication, the answer is NO.)
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified again on Wednesday, this time to set the record straight after pleading guilty to lying last time.
Related: Trump Attacks Spike Lee Over ‘Racist’ Oscars Speech
While he could not speak about everything, including the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he did say and bring enough to PROVE Trump has committed a felony since being President.
But that’s not all…
What Cohen said about Trump fell into two categories, things which are gross and things which are illegal. Here’s what you need to know:
None of this is a surprise to anyone we guess, but Cohen did confirm this is not an act just to get the votes of racists:
“Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries ‘s**tholes.’ In private, he is even worse.
He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “s**thole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.
While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way.
And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”
A painting of Trump went up for auction a few years ago, and Cohen claims Trump — wanting to keep up the facade of being beloved — instructed him to set up a shill to bid on it.
“The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000.”
Here’s where it gets into illegal territory:
“Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself.”
Yeah. Remember how the Trump Foundation just got dissolved for corruption? This is a prime example. Money people donated to “charity” being spent on a painting for no other reason than Trump wanted to look important.
Oh, also, you know how there’s always a tweet? Yeah…
Just found out that at a charity auction of celebrity portraits in E. Hampton, my portrait by artist William Quigley topped list at $60K
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2013
Cohen also claims Trump instructed him to write letters to his schools threatening them with legal action if they released his transcripts or SAT scores.
Like we couldn’t tell he was a dummy on our own.
You’ve probably heard accusations Trump was notorious for not paying contractors. According to The Apprentice producers, when the show began part of Trump Tower was in disarray because he had screwed over so many people in NYC he couldn’t get anyone to do repairs!
Cohen not only confirms this, he says Trump LOVED not paying people:
“And it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses, that were owed money for their services and told them no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it.”
This is the guy in charge of our economy. Awesome.
Look, we all can put two and two together and figure out Trump’s bone spurs excuse for not going to Vietnam was some rich a-hole draft dodging B.S.
But Cohen actually testified Trump told him to help cover it up during the election:
“Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery. He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment. He finished the conversation with the following comment. ‘You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.’“
Sounds like an admission to us. We’d say he stuck his foot in his mouth, but…
The Producers Theory
So there’s this conspiracy that’s been going around since 2016 that Trump never intended to be president.
He spoke about how the election was rigged because he didn’t think he would win — instead he was setting himself up for his own TV news network and more after losing.
This is bolstered by eyewitness accounts of him looking “like he saw a ghost” on election night when the results came in.
And now, Michael has confirmed it:
“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation — only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the ‘greatest infomercial in political history.’
He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity.”
OMG. The reason he’s being investigated for all these crimes is because he won!
His success screwed him over. Get it?
Guys. It’s The Producers.
Just like no one looks into the finances of a flop, no one looks this deeply into a failed presidential candidate.
But we have a standard of conduct when it comes to the highest office. And Trump violated it many, many times just in his campaign.
Trump Tower Moscow
This is the lie Cohen told last time, which he has already plead guilty to.
“I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false — our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.”
It’s not collusion in itself, but a presidential candidate with a multimillion dollar deal with another country’s government that he’s hiding from the American people? It’s certainly grounds for impeachment. Though Cohen admits he does not have tapes or emails proving Trump’s involvement in his own crime:
“Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
While Trump was never technically under oath, he lied his ass off about his business deals in Russia.
“To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”
That was long before Trump admitted the deal and even called it “very cool.” That was only after he couldn’t keep it hidden anymore.
We should also point out the entire time Trump was lying to the American people about this, Vladimir Putin knew the truth. He could have revealed it at any time. That gave him leverage over Trump.
Couple that with the sloppy, adoring way Trump has consistently spoken about Putin despite his attacks on the United States??
Come on, it’s right there in plain sight!
For those not in the know, Roger Stone was indicted for lying about his contacts with Wikileaks, who had gotten access to illegally obtained (i.e. hacked by Russia) material from the DNC.
There’s a reason someone would be willing to commit federal crimes to cover that up. It’s pretty damn close to conspiring with a foreign power.
And Cohen says Trump absolutely knew about it:
“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.'”
Wow. Reminder to everyone: witness testimony IS evidence.
It’s not a smoking gun, but it does implicate the POTUS in Stone’s crimes. After all, he knew Stone was committing federal crimes and said nothing.
What’s more, he knew when he said this. On TV.
Of course, Cohen hasn’t met with the Special Counsel’s office SEVEN TIMES just to tell ’em that.
Stormy Of The Century
OK, this is the most direct evidence Cohen presents.
We’ve been calling Trump the Unindicted Co-Conspirator-In-Chief for months, ever since Cohen plead guilty to a campaign finance violation for his role in hiding a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their 2006 affair just days before the election.
In his plea, Cohen said he was directed by “Individual #1” — which was obviously Trump. Well, Cohen definitively confirmed it:
“He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did.”
And yes, Trump knew exactly what he was doing:
“Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line of Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign.”
Oh, and Cohen brought receipts:
“As Exhibit 5A to my testimony shows, I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017 – when he was President of the United States — pursuant to the cover-up, which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me — the word used by Mr. Trump’s TV lawyer — for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf. This $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year ––while he was President…
Here that is btw:
CNN Exclusive: This is copy of check from Trump to Cohen, which he says was reimbursement for $35k hush money. Date is Aug 1 2017, while Trump was president. Obtained by @GloriaBorger pic.twitter.com/tpk52cJwLF
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 27, 2019
“The President of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. You can find the details of that scheme, directed by Mr. Trump, in the pleadings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.”
This is PLENTY of evidence to indict Trump on the same charges as Cohen!
We mean, come on, when a hitman confesses, you don’t just arrest the hitman — you arrest the person who paid for the hit. The idea Cohen would do this for himself is absurd! Not to mention Trump and his “TV lawyer” Rudy Giuliani later did admit to reimbursing Cohen.
What’s stopping the Southern District of New York? DOJ policy is not to indict a sitting president. Yeah, it’s not in the Constitution. It’s in a freakin’ memo.
So you can commit any crimes you want to get to the presidency because once you get there, you’re safe??
But there’s more here!
Cohen also points out Donald Trump Jr. signed one of the hush money checks, and so did Trump Org exec Allen Weisselberg. Weisselberg is a cooperating witness with immunity. Don Jr. is not. Don Jr. is also not POTUS and not protected from prosecution.
Oh man, he is so going to jail…
One last thing we can’t figure out.
Cohen says he was reimbursed in ELEVEN installments. The two checks he brought are for $35,000. He says he got January and February 2017 reimbursements together, and that was $70,000. So it seems like he’s saying each installment was $35k.
But Stormy’s hush money was $130,000. Eleven installments of $35k is $385,000. That’s a difference of $255k.
Um… were there OTHER hush money payments? To other women? What’s the rest of the money for??
Those are the lowlights, but there’s much more. You can watch the entire opening statement for yourself (below):
[Image via Johnny Louis/WENN/MSNBC/YouTube.]