Special Counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing “collusion,” i.e., a conspiracy to defraud the United States of America, between the Russians and the Trump campaign.
But yesterday Donald Trump’s consigliere (fixer) Michael Cohen testified under oath in pleading guilty to a second act of “collusion,” i.e., a conspiracy to defraud the United States of America, between himself, Donald Trump, and David Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc. (the National Enquirer).
I would also hasten to add Keith Davidson, the attorney who originally represented both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and conspired with Michael Cohen. National Enquirer Schemed With Michael Cohen to Silence Stormy Daniels: Prosecutors.
Lawrence O’Donnell laid out the case for this second act of “collusion” in a commentary (video) on Tuesday night.
Rush Transcript (excerpts):
Today in a federal court in Manhattan Michael Cohen said “guilty your honor” eight times, and he also said “at the direction of,” twice. And both times he meant “at the direction of” the president of the United States. And so today, Donald Trump made history by becoming the first president of the United States to be accused under oath in federal court of ordering someone to commit a federal crime to win a presidential election. “At the direction of.”
Today Michael Cohen said under oath Donald Trump made me do it, my boss made me do it, he told me to break the law. “At the direction of.”
Michael Cohen then pleaded guilty today to two counts of campaign finance violations. Reading from notes, Michael Cohen then described to the judge in his own words how he committed those crimes. He said “As to Count No. Seven, on or about the summer of 2016, in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office, I and the CEO of a media company at the request of the candidate worked together to keep an individual with information that would be harmful to the candidate and to the campaign from publicly disclosing this information. After a number of discussions, we eventually accomplished the goal by the media company entering into a contract with the individual under which she received compensation of $150,000.”
He was describing how he arranged, at Donald Trump’s direction, for the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, to pay $150,000 to Karen McDougal so that the National Enquirer could bury her story [“catch and kill”] about having a year long sexual affair she had with Donald Trump.
Michael Cohen described the other violation of campaign finance law this way, “Your honor, as to Count No. Eight, on or about October of 2016, in coordination with, and at the direction of, the same federal candidate, I arranged to make a payment to a second individual with information that would be harmful to the candidate and the campaign to keep the individual from disclosing the information. To accomplish this, I used a company that was under my control to make a payment in the sum of $130,000. The monies I advanced through my company were later repaid to me by the candidate.”
Michael Cohen is, of course, talking about Stormy Daniels who was paid $130,000 to stay silent about her sexual affair with Donald Trump.
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Michael Cohen told the judge the motivation for committing these campaign finance crimes was “at the direction of” Donald Trump. Michael Cohen said “I participated in this conduct, which on my part took place in Manhattan, for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
Michael Cohen said that twice. The same motivation for each campaign finance crime, “I participated in this conduct, which on my part took place in Manhattan, for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
“The principal purpose of influencing the election.” So Michael Cohen is now saying under oath, that he believed, and no doubt Donald Trump believed, that in order for Donald Trump to be elected president the silence of these two women would have to be illegally purchased. Crimes would have to be committed to elect Donald Trump.
Michel Cohen is saying that Donald Trump ordered him to commit these crimes so that Donald Trump could win the presidency.
[Video of Trump: No collusion, where’s the collusion, find the collusion.]
Here’s some collusion for you. Donald Trump colluded with Michael Cohen and David Pecker in an interstate conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance law, and that’s not me making that accusation, that is Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidante today in federal court under oath making that accusation about the president of the United States participating in two federal crimes.
Quote, “for the principle purpose of influencing the election.”
Bill Clinton was impeached for less. Bill Clinton was never charged with committing crimes in order to get elected. Bill Clinton was never accused of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the American voter in order to get elected.
There are 16 current members of the United State Senate who voted to convict Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial and remove him from office for less than what Donald Trump stands accused of tonight by Michael Cohen.
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“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.” You will not hear Lindsey Graham say that again. Lindsey Graham and all of the Republican senators who voted for Bill Clinton’s removal from office have proven in the last two years that they did not mean a word that they said when they voted to remove Bill Clinton from office. Not a single word of it. They do not care about restoring honor and integrity to the office.
There were two acts of “collusion” in the 2016 campaign, the second a conspiracy to defraud the United States of America between Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, Keith Davidson, and David Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc. (the National Enquirer). Michael Cohen also alluded to others on the Trump campaign who had knowledge of the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, so there may be others.
So yes, Mr. Trump, there was “collusion,” i.e., a conspiracy to defraud the United States of America. And the president is currently an unindicted co-conspirator in those crimes.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports that AMI’s CEO David Pecker is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney and can corroborate Michael Cohen’s version of facts (remember that Cohen taped his conversations – he has receipts). Why Michael Cohen Agreed to Plead Guilty—And Implicate the President:
Adding to the pressure, David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, provided prosecutors with details about payments Mr. Cohen arranged with women who alleged sexual encounters with President Trump, including Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the deals.
David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer and longtime friend of President Donald Trump, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in their investigation into Michael Cohen, a person with knowledge of the matter told NBC News on Thursday.
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The Wall Street Journal first reported the granting of immunity to Pecker. The paper also said Pecker met with prosecutors to discuss the involvement of Cohen and Trump in making the payment.