Trump should be panicking about his ex-lawyer's interview

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Trump should be panicking about his ex-lawyer's interview Empty Trump should be panicking about his ex-lawyer's interview

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:41 pm

George Stephanopoulos' interview with Failing Cheeto-Faced Ferret-Wearing Shit Gibbon's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen should panic the president.

After federal agents' search of Cohen's New York properties earlier this year, Trump described the actions as a break-in - "attack on our country, in a true sense."

But Cohen told Stephanopoulos in an off-camera interview over the weekend that he didn't agree with "those who demonize or vilify the FBI," according to a story posted Monday by ABC News.

Cohen also declined to criticize special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Stephanopoulos reported.

Cohen all but said he'd be a cooperating witness, and made clear he's not taking any bullet, as he once said, for Trump. ("To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.") In criticizing the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, he suggested he knows quite a bit more than what has publicly been revealed. He opined that it demonstrated "poor judgment" by those involved.

Most ominous for Trump were Cohen's high praise of prosecutors, his selection of a new lawyer ("a highly regarded former federal prosecutor who once led the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan -- the very same office currently conducting the criminal investigation of Cohen") and his impending decision to end a joint defense deal with Trump.

This is not a man who sounds as though he has no legal liability, or that he is mounting a defense resting on prosecutorial excess. This is a man desperate to remain in the good graces of prosecutors - who hold his fate and that of his family in their hands.

And here's the kicker: Even if Trump decided to pardon Cohen (a move that would set off impeachment talk), Cohen almost certainly has state criminal charges to worry about. Trump cannot pardon him for those. Cohen has zero incentive to stick by Trump at the expense of his own freedom and his family's well-being.

Can't wait to hear what he has to say bounce

It's so hard to be without you / used to feel so angry, now I only feel humble.

- Ryan Adams
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Trump should be panicking about his ex-lawyer's interview Empty Re: Trump should be panicking about his ex-lawyer's interview

Post by Original Quill on Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:52 pm

Unfortunately, Cohen's new lawyer would not let it be filmed.  (Cohen even went out and bought a new black suit, before the order came down.)

George filled us in on Good Morning America, yesterday.  Cohen was reluctant to answer two significant questions, but here is ABC's characterization of the interview:

ABC News wrote:1. Will he cooperate with the feds?

The biggest question surrounding Cohen is whether the president's fixer will turn on his old boss in exchange for leniency from prosecutors, if he is charged with any crimes. There’s no way to know for sure because Cohen has not been charged with anything. But his response, or lack thereof, in the ABC News interview appears to offer a clue.

Cohen said that he couldn't comment on the advice of counsel, but noted that he has respect for those involved.

“I respect the prosecutors, I respect the process. I would not do or say anything that might be perceived as interfering with their professional review of the evidence and the facts.”

2. Where his loyalty lies

Stephanopoulos asked Cohen about his personal priorities three times in the interview, noting how he is "facing the very real prospect of having to choose between protecting the president and protecting your family."

Cohen responded by saying: "My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty. And always will... I put family and country first.”

He added: “Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I will defer to my counsel, to my new counsel Guy Petrillo for guidance on future responses."

He went on to reiterate that his family is "my first priority," and when reminded that he previously said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, Cohen said, "To be crystal clear: my wife, my daughter and my son and this country have my first loyalty."

3. The payment to Stormy Daniels

One interesting moment in the interview came when Cohen said less than he has previously said about the $130,000 payment he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who has said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

Trump has denied her allegations.

When asked by Stephanopoulos whether Trump directed him to pay Daniels for her silence, Cohen said that he could not comment, but suggested that he may at some point.

"I want to answer. One day I will answer. But I can’t comment now on the advice of my counsel," he said.

Cohen has previously said that he acted on his own initiative in making the payments to Daniels. In a statement released in February, he confirmed making the payment but said, "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly."

4. Russia and the investigations

When asked by Stephanopoulos whether he believes the Russians interfered in the presidential campaign, Cohen’s answer came in the form of support for the agencies that have said such interference did occur.

"I respect our nation’s intelligence agencies’... unanimous conclusions," Cohen said, without explicitly stating that Trump has made such denials.

When questioned about Trump's attacks on anyone involved in the various Russia-related investigations, Cohen also refrained from directly naming Trump when he criticized such characterizations.

"I don’t agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI. I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents," he said, going on to note that when his home and hotel room were raided by the FBI, "it was obviously upsetting to me and my family. Nonetheless, the agents were respectful, courteous and professional. I thanked them for their service and as they left. We shook hands."

At one point in the interview, Stephanopoulos asked Cohen whether he believes the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller is legitimate.

“As an American, I repudiate Russia’s or any other foreign government’s attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same,” he said.

5. The Trump Tower meeting

One incident where Trump team members and Russians overlapped during the campaign was the controversial meeting that Donald Trump Jr. and other key campaign figures -- including then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner – had with a Russian lawyer after Donald Trump Jr. had been promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Cohen weighed in on the meeting, noting that he was not at the meeting and believes that it was a mistake.

"I believe it was a mistake by those from the Trump campaign who did participate... it was simply an example of poor judgment,” he said.

But he declined to say whether he thought Trump knew about the meeting beforehand.

"I can’t comment, under advice of my counsel, due to the ongoing investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York," Cohen said.

The strongest evidence of collusion is the Trump Tower meeting of June 9th, 2016, in which Don Jr., Campaign Manager Manafort and Trump son-in-law Kushner, met with Russian agents to discuss the Russian Federation's help with Trump's campaign.  Cohen said he couldn't comment on whether Trump Sr. knew of that meeting, but that demurrer itself is evidence that it's a part of any agreement with Mueller.

“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vladimir Putin to Donald J. Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...

Normal is broken.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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