Despite their feigned lack of concern at the White House, Team Trump’s butts are puckering this morning. Robert Mueller has caught another witch in Donald Trump’s “witch hunt,” and is now closing the circle around the Trump crime family.
The New York Times reports, Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel, Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges:
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, agreed on Friday to cooperate with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to reduced charges. See, Superceding Criminal Information (.pdf).
.Appearing in United States District Court in Washingon, Mr. Manafort entered guilty pleas on two charges. Andrew Weissmann, the lead prosecutor, told Judge Amy Berman Jackson that there was a cooperation agreement with Mr. Manafort.
Additional reporting from The Washington Post:
Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at the beginning of Friday’s plea hearing that Manafort has agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Speaking at the hearing before U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson, Weissmann said the 17-page plea agreement (.pdf) included the terms of Manafort’s expected cooperation.
It was not immediately clear what information he might be providing to prosecutors or how the plea agreement might affect Mr. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and related questions about possible collusion by the Trump campaign and obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Ethics, Justice, Law Enforcement, President, Russian Affair, Scandals
Tagged civil forfeiture, conspiracy, criminal forfeiture, money laundering, obstruction of justice, Special Counsel, Tax Evasion, witness tampering
Russian asset – and unindicted co-conspirator – mafia “Don” Trump has systematically been hollowing out America’s federal law enforcement officials who investigate international organized crime since becoming president.
Already he has removed acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord, FBI Assistant Director Mike Kortan, FBI Chief of the Counterespionage Section Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page, a lawyer in the Justice Department’s organized-crime section whose cases centered on international organized crime and money laundering.
Putin’s Russian mafia has infiltrated the U.S. government and has its puppet on the inside of American law enforcement to do its bidding.
Trump’s latest target is Department of Justice attorney Bruce Ohr, an expert in Russia and Russian organized crime.
Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic reports, Trump’s Top Targets in the Russia Probe Are Experts in Organized Crime:
Bruce Ohr. Lisa Page. Andrew Weissmann. Andrew McCabe. President Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked these FBI and Justice Department officials as dishonest “Democrats” engaged in a partisan “witch hunt” led by the special counsel determined to tie his campaign to Russia. But Trump’s attacks have also served to highlight another thread among these officials and others who have investigated his campaign: their extensive experience in probing money laundering and organized crime, particularly as they pertain to Russia.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Congress, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Party Politics, President, Scandals, Taxes, War
Tagged accesories, conspiracy, Cyber Crime, Cyber War, Department of Justice, FBI, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Intelligence Agencies, money laundering, National Security, obstruction of justice, organized crime, racketeering, RICO, Russia, Special Counsel, Tax Evasion, traitor
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is considering pursuing criminal charges against the Trump Organization and two senior company officials in connection with Michael D. Cohen’s hush money payment to an adult film actress, according to two officials with knowledge of the matter. Trump Organization Could Face Criminal Charges From Manhattan D.A.:
A state investigation would center on how the company accounted for its reimbursement to Mr. Cohen for the $130,000 he paid to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, who has said she had an affair with President Trump, the officials said.
Both officials stressed that the office’s review of the matter is in its earliest stages and prosecutors have not yet made a decision on whether to proceed.
* * *
As the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., considers opening an investigation, the New York State attorney general’s office has moved to open a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Cohen has violated state tax law, an inquiry that would be unrelated to the federal tax evasion charges that he pleaded guilty to on Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the state matter.
If Mr. Vance decides to proceed, it would not be the first time he investigated members of the Trump family. He was faulted for not pursuing charges against Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who were under criminal investigation in 2012 over allegations that they misled buyers interested in the Trump SoHo condominium project.
The attorney general, Barbara D. Underwood, in recent days sought a referral from the state Department of Taxation and Finance, which is needed to conduct such an inquiry and to prosecute any violations of state tax law it might uncover, the person said. Such requests are seldom denied. The state’s double jeopardy laws do not apply to tax crimes.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Ethics, International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Media, Party Politics, President, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged accessories, Attorney General, conspiracy, Department of Justice, misappropriation of funds, money laundering, organized crime, RICO, Special Counsel, Tax Evasion
Allen Weisselberg has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Trump Organization for decades. The Wall Street Journal reported that Weisselberg was once described by a person close to the company as “the most senior person in the organization that’s not a Trump.”
NBC News’ reports that Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is apparently “Executive 1” referenced in the prosecutors’ filing in the Michael Cohen case.
The Wall Street Journal reports today, Allen Weisselberg, Longtime Trump Organization CFO, Is Granted Immunity in Cohen Probe:
Allen Weisselberg, President Trump’s longtime financial gatekeeper, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen in the criminal investigation into hush-money payments for two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Weisselberg, who is chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was called to testify before a federal grand jury in the investigation earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal previously reported, citing people familiar with the investigation. He then spoke to investigators, though it isn’t clear whether he appeared before the grand jury.
The decision by prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office to grant immunity to Mr. Weisselberg escalates the pressure on Mr. Trump, whom Mr. Weisselberg has served for decades as executive vice president as well as CFO for the Trump Organization. After Mr. Trump was elected, he handed control of his financial assets and business interests to his two adult sons and Mr. Weisselberg.
Mr. Weisselberg didn’t respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Mr. Trump, who on Thursday said so-called flipping “almost ought to be illegal,” declined to comment.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Ethics, International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Media, President, Russian Affair, Scandals
Tagged accessory, aid and abet, conspiracy, Emoluments Clause, misappropriation of funds, money laundering, Tax Evasion
Donald Trump’s consigliere (fixer) Michael Cohen once said he would “take a bullet for Donald Trump.”
But today Michael Cohen entered into a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and agreed to be a cooperating witness. Just call Mikey Flipper today.
The big news: in counts seven and eight to which Michael Cohen plead guilty, involving payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, Donald Trump is effectively identified as an unindicted co-conspirator, for the first time since Richard Nixon.
Bloomberg News reports from the courthouse, Cohen Faces December Sentencing on U.S. Charges: Plea Update:
Cohen Acted for Candidate in Violating Campaign Law (4:43 p.m.)
In acknowledging the charges against him, Cohen said he was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office. At the same candidate’s direction, he said he paid $130,000 to somebody to keep them quiet, which was later repaid by the candidate. He didn’t identify the candidate or the person who was paid, but those facts match Cohen’s payment to Clifford [Stormy Daniels] and Trump’s repayment.
Cohen Payment Was to Hide Alleged Affairs: U.S. (4:47 p.m.)
The prosecutor told the judge the purpose of the payments was to ensure that the individuals did not disclose “alleged affairs with the candidate.” Besides the $130,000 payment, Cohen admitted to making an illegal contribution of $150,000, which was how much McDougal received from the National Enquirer’s publisher to quash her story.
Lawfare Blog has a copy of the Michael Cohen plea agreement. Michael Cohen Plea Agreement (Scribd).
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Congress, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Party Politics, President, Russian Affair, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged bank fraud, campaign finance, conspiracy, Department of Justice, Special Counsel, Tax Evasion
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his dogged reporting of Trump’s philanthropy over the years, and found that it had been exaggerated and often was not truly charitable activities at all, reports that New York files suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’:
The New York attorney general filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children Thursday, alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit organization — to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events.
The full 41-page court filing is online here (pdf).
In the suit, filed Thursday morning, Attorney General Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation. She asked that its remaining $1 million in assets be distributed to other charities and that Trump be forced to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.
Underwood said that oversight of spending at Trump’s foundation was so loose that its board of directors hadn’t met in 19 years, and its official treasurer wasn’t even aware that he was on the board.
Instead, she said, the foundation came to serve the spending needs of Trump — and then, in 2016, the needs of his presidential campaign. She cited emails from Trump campaign staff members, directing which charities should receive gifts from the Trump Foundation, and in what amounts.
Underwood also asked that Trump be banned from leading any other New York nonprofit organization for 10 years — seeking to apply a penalty usually reserved for the operators of small-time charity frauds to the president of the United States.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Ethics, Justice, Law Enforcement, President, Scandals
Tagged campaign finance, Charitable giving, fiduciary duties, Fraud, self-dealing, Tax Evasion