Thursday, May 3, 2018

Trump is desperately afraid of something in Michael Cohen's files—and it's not Stormy Daniels

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Michael Cohen, personal lawyer for President-elect Donald Trump, gets into an elevator at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
What Rudy Giuliani revealed in his Tuesday night interview was astounding, his post interview follow-up made it worse, and his Wednesday morning attempts to walk things back, only underlined the problem. Not only did Donald Trump know about the payments to Stormy Daniels, but Trump and Cohen
“They funneled through a law firm, and the president repaid it,” Mr. Giuliani told Sean Hannity, the Fox News host
That’s an amazing statement to be coming from the mouth of an attorney—one who thinks he’s actually making the situation better.

But more than that, Giuliani admitted that Trump paid Michael Cohen far more than the $130,000 that went to Stormy Daniels. Trump paid Cohen “$460,000 or $470,000” at a rate of $35,000 a month. While, according to Giuliani, Cohen was “doing no work” for Trump. In addition, Donald Trump’s campaign has already paid out at least $288,000 to Cohen to cover his legal expenses.

So Donald Trump has paid Michael Cohen over $750,000 since the campaign ended—for nothing.

Which suggests this is a very big nothing. So big in fact, that Trump won’t talk about it to his own attorneys.

The raid on Cohen’s office, though it wasn’t conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was clearly the tipping point for Trump. It’s the point at which he began backpedaling hard from previous promises to talk to the Russia investigation, and the point at which he raised his attacks on Mueller and the Depart of Justice to a whole new level.

In his unhinged interview with Sean Hannity—Michael Cohen’s other client—Giuliani had an off-hand excuse for why Cohen was getting many times what he paid Daniels for “doing no work.”

“Some time after the campaign is over, they set up a reimbursement, $35,000 a month, out of his personal family account,” Mr. Giuliani said. He added that over all, Mr. Cohen was paid $460,000 or $470,000 from Mr. Trump through those payments, which also included money for “incidental expenses” that he had incurred on Mr. Trump’s behalf.
Don’t be surprised it that “$35,000 a month” turns out to be in the form of four checks for $8,750, delivered weekly. Possibly from multiple accounts. All to keep the payments to Cohen as hush-hush as possible.

But it’s absolutely clear that Donald Trump is desperate about the nothing that Michael Cohen did for him. Those half a million or so in “incidentals.” The question is whether those incidents have names that are also on forms alongside “David Dennison,” or whether the files that Cohen is getting paid to protect contain something even more damaging.

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