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Trump, White House deny wrongdoing after Cohen plea deal


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Trump, White House deny wrongdoing after Cohen plea deal

By Jeff Mason and James Oliphant

 

2018-08-22T134930Z_1_LYNXNPEE7L10L_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP-RUSSIA-MANAFORT.JPG

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media on the tarmac about the federal conviction of his former presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort as the president arrives for a campaign event in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House pushed back forcefully on Wednesday against suggestions that a plea deal struck by President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen implicated Trump in a crime.

 

"As the president has said, we've stated many times, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him," press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a White House briefing. "Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn't mean that that implicates the president on anything."

 

Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He told a federal court in Manhattan that Trump directed him to arrange payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election to silence two women who said they had affairs with Trump.

 

In the wake of the Cohen's plea, Senate Democrats on Wednesday demanded that upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh be delayed, with some calling Trump an "co-conspirator."

 

Earlier, the president lashed out at Cohen in a Twitter post by saying the campaign finance violations Cohenpleaded guilty to in federal court in New York were not a crime - even though prosecutors and Cohen agreed that they were. Trump made the claim without offering any evidence.

 

At the same time, Trump on Twitter praised former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on Tuesday of multiple counts of fraud, as a "brave man" for not cooperating with federal authorities.

 

Fox News released excerpts of an interview conducted with Trump on Wednesday in which the president said he knew of the payments made by Cohen "later on" but did not elaborate.

 

After first denying that he knew anything about Cohen's actions, Trump earlier this year acknowledged he reimbursed Cohen for payments he made in late 2016 to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Daniels has alleged she had a relationship with Trump.

 

In July, CNN released an audio recording reportedly made by Cohen that features the lawyer and Trump in September 2016 discussing whether to buy the rights to the story of Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who also has alleged an affair with Trump.

 

The president has insisted he paid Cohen out of personal funds and that the payments were not intended to benefit his campaign but to resolve a personal matter.

 

"They weren't taken out of campaign finance. That's a big thing," Trump said in the Fox interview. "They didn't come out of the campaign; they came from me."

 

TIMING IS QUESTIONED

Trump critics have argued the case being made by the president that the payments to Daniels and McDougal were personal do not hold up given the timing – only weeks before the election.

 

"If this was a personal matter, why wasn’t she paid off after the affair or in the intervening decade?" said Paul S. Ryan, the head of litigation at Common Cause. "The election was what made her story valuable."

 

Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said his client had information that would be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the 2016 Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election. Davis set up a website to collect donations for Cohen's legal expenses.

 

Asked at the briefing if Trump was concerned about what Cohen might tell Mueller, Sanders replied: “I don’t think the president is concerned at all. He knows that he did nothing wrong and that there was no collusion."

 

New York investigators on Wednesday issued a subpoena to Cohen in connection with the state's criminal investigation of the Trump Foundation, a state official said.

 

Trump has granted presidential pardons to conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza and former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio but Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said his client would not accept one.

 

"Mr. Cohen is not interested in being dirtied by a pardon from such a man," Davis told NPR.

 

Cohen's plea came as Manafort was found guilty on eight charges in a separate financial fraud trial in Alexandria, Virginia, stemming from a federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.

 

In a morning tweet, Trump said, "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' - make up stories in order to get a 'deal.'"

 

The Cohen and Manafort cases ratchet up political pressure on Trump and fellow Republicans ahead of November elections in which Democrats are seeking to take control of Congress.

 

The Mueller investigation, which has clouded Trump's presidency for more than a year, and Tuesday's developments also increase pressure on him personally. While Cohen did not name Trump in court on Tuesday, referring to him as "the candidate," Davis on Wednesday accused the president of being directly involved.

 

PRESSURE FROM DEMOCRATS

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, insisted the confirmation hearing scheduled for Kavanaugh in early September be pushed back. Other Senate Democrats said they were cancelling their meetings with Kavanaugh and considered his nomination tainted.

 

Schumer said he was concerned that Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge, told him on Tuesday that presidents should not be subject to criminal or civil investigations – or even be required to comply with related subpoenas – while in office and that impeachment by Congress is the only legal recourse.

 

On the Senate floor, Schumer argued that Trump should not be permitted to select a Supreme Court justice who could ultimately end up hearing a case involving the president.

 

“A president identified as a co-conspirator of a federal crime, an accusation not made by a political enemy but by the closest of his own confidants, is on the verge of making a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, a court that may someday soon determine the extent of the president’s legal jeopardy,” Schumer said.

 

Congressional Republicans still were taking measure of the situation, with Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, saying Cohen's "credibility is in tatters because he's basically been all over the map in terms of what his story is."

 

Cornyn said Congress would continue investigating claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election but noted that "nothing we heard yesterday has anything to do with Russia, or the reason why director Mueller was appointed special counsel."

 

Russia has denied U.S. intelligence community findings that it interfered with the 2016 election with the aim of boosting Trump and hampering Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign with Moscow and repeatedly called Mueller's investigation a witch hunt.

 

(Additional reporting by Amanda Becker, Susan Cornwell, Karen Freifeld, Ginger Gibson, Susan Heavey, and Lisa Lambert.; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Tim Ahmann and Bill Trott)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-08-23
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"...The White House pushed back forcefully on Wednesday against suggestions that a plea deal struck by President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen implicated Trump in a crime..."

 

You can push back as long and as hard as you like, but it isn't going to make a difference.

 

Once again a person who entered into Trump's orbit has gone down to the sewer, gasping for air. Flynn, Manaforte, Cohen, Papadapolous, etc. And, for all who are working at the White House, your time is coming as well; you likely thought upon entering the White House that you were doing a noble thing of helping your country. However, you didn't count on Trump forcing you to wallow in the muck and the taint of being in the Trump White House will never, ever leave you.

 

I have said it before and (sadly) will say it again;

 

Donald Trump is an ever-expanding cloud of toxic waste that defiles everything it touches.

 

God help us all.

 

 

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Trump’s lawyers and DoJ opinion have stated a sitting President cannot be charged. 

 

While not yet proven, the President can’t now argue that because he’s not been charged he can’t have done anything wrong.

 

And since when was crossing the line of criminality the point at which a President’s actions are regarded as ‘wrong’.

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We weill see how "brave" manaford is if he goes back to trial. The greatest trump move of all would be to tell manaford he is going to pardon him, get what he wants, and then not pardon him because of the potential fallout. Manaford is going to sing too. Everyone sings. Nobody is going to rely on trump to save them. 

 

We are dealing with an illigitimate president here. He is going down. 

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2 minutes ago, Boon Mee said:

Using your own money to pay off those gals isn't a crime. He didn't use campaign finance funds. 

But it is a crime not to report it as a campaign contribution. And it is a crime to lie about what the payment was for.

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38 minutes ago, Boon Mee said:

Yep, since Trump hasn't broken any laws he cannot be charged with a crime. 

 That  has yet to be determined.

However, what is obvious and cannot be denied is that the man has been exposed as an adulterous liar. The devout Christians who still cling to him like a crack addict to his dealer are  hypocrites. After November, this man will be toast.

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44 minutes ago, geriatrickid said:

 That  has yet to be determined.

However, what is obvious and cannot be denied is that the man has been exposed as an adulterous liar. The devout Christians who still cling to him like a crack addict to his dealer are  hypocrites. After November, this man will be toast.

The devout Christians don't care about that, as long as he delivers. And so far he does.

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1 hour ago, Boon Mee said:

Using your own money to pay off those gals isn't a crime. He didn't use campaign finance funds. 

He used money from the Trump foundation - The Trump foundation is not Trump, the Trump foundation’s money is not Trump’s money.

 

While there is debate over whether a sitting President can be Indicted or Subpoenaed, there is absolutely no doubt the Trump Foundation can be.

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1 hour ago, Boon Mee said:

Yep, since Trump hasn't broken any laws he cannot be charged with a crime. 

 

Yet.

 

 

You forgot the quotes, and the attribution to Rudy G.

 

 

Nixon's supporters held on until...

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Boon Mee said:

Using your own money to pay off those gals isn't a crime. He didn't use campaign finance funds. 

It must be absolutely exhausting Boon Mee to have to defend your Orange Messiah day in, day out, week in, week out, month in month out. I'm genuinely worried that you will run out of false equivalencies, straw man arguments and but, but....Hilary's.

Anyone other than the most blinkered of Trumpers can see the noose is tightening around your beloved leaders neck and it's now just a matter of time before one of the NUMEROUS legal cases take hold and the worst POTUS in history is relegated to the scrapheap of history.

Even Teflon Don is going to struggle to avoid Cohen, Manafort, Mueller and now the Trump Foundation investigation (amongst others).

And I for one cannot wait. 

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9 minutes ago, johnnybangkok said:

It must be absolutely exhausting Boon Mee to have to defend your Orange Messiah day in, day out, week in, week out, month in month out. I'm genuinely worried that you will run out of false equivalencies, straw man arguments and but, but....Hilary's.

 

Simple, just watch Fox News where Sean, Tucker, Laura, Jeannie and the gang (avoid Shep Smith at all costs) give you all of today's talking points.

 

CNN: Cohen pleads guilty.
NBC: Manafort found guilty.
CBS: Hunter indicted.
FOX News: Look at the receipt from 2011 where Hillary didn't tip 15%

 

 

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no laws were broken.  it's a crime to blackmail, it's not a crime to pay off a blackmailer.  no campaign funds used, so this is just a setup.

 

notice this was a plea agreement.....cohen pleaded guilty to a non-crime in order to hopefully get a reduction in sentence or save himself from bankruptcy.  defending yourself in court against a government with unlimited resources and unlimited time frame quickly leaves one destitute.

 

there was nothing proven in court.  that of course will be lost in the reporting, with the assumption that pleading guilty confirms he, and by extension trump, broke the law.

 

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2 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

no laws were broken.  it's a crime to blackmail, it's not a crime to pay off a blackmailer.  no campaign funds used, so this is just a setup.

 

notice this was a plea agreement.....cohen pleaded guilty to a non-crime in order to hopefully get a reduction in sentence or save himself from bankruptcy.  defending yourself in court against a government with unlimited resources and unlimited time frame quickly leaves one destitute.

 

there was nothing proven in court.  that of course will be lost in the reporting, with the assumption that pleading guilty confirms he, and by extension trump, broke the law.

 

It is a crime to not declare when a contribution to a campaign is made.

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Trump is in deep trouble come November it will be a different ball game and hopefully the surviving republicans won’t be so servile to the orange clown

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1 minute ago, bristolboy said:

It is a crime to not declare when a contribution to a campaign is made.

i missed the campaign contribution.  no cash went to the campaign, no cash came out of campaign funds.

 

if this were a real crime, it would have been argued in court and proven, rather than going the plea bargain route.

 

an actual provable campaign funding violation, even if only a minor technicality, would be super awesome!  getting a plea bargain that does not require proving it in court is telling.

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LOL.

I applaud (and pity) the brainless sheeples coming to the aid of their orange buffoon but seriously folks, do you really believe the crap you are typing?

The fact that so many of Trump's "inner circle" and other mindless followers have either been charged with, accused of, convicted of or pleaded out from under scores of, corruption charges does imply (with the most magnanimous viewpoint I can muster) that Trump is a bloody awful selector of talent and/or integrity.

Is that really what you want from your Head of State and Commander Corruptor-in-Chief?

Let's not forget the major 7+ (on average)  public lies being issued by this unintelligent, arrogant man-child each and every day from the Whitehouse!

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14 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

 

Simple, just watch Fox News where Sean, Tucker, Laura, Jeannie and the gang (avoid Shep Smith at all costs) give you all of today's talking points.

 

CNN: Cohen pleads guilty.
NBC: Manafort found guilty.
CBS: Hunter indicted.
FOX News: Look at the receipt from 2011 where Hillary didn't tip 15%

 

 

I sadly get the Fox Extra Channel on my cable package. Yesterday they were drawing a parallel between Cohen's court testimony and a doctor who had broken the Hippocratic Oath by refusing to continue to treat a patient. I kid you not. Their wacky logic was that a doctor had to treat a patient and Cohen must continue to work for Trump's interests and if he doesn't he is breaking the legal profession's equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath. Ergo Cohen is a bad lawyer. Ergo a bad person. Ergo cannot be believed. His testimony was described not as testimony but as "throwing dirt at the President". The way they contorted and twisted their rationale was really quite painful to watch. I think I stuck it out for around 2 minutes.

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7 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

no laws were broken.  it's a crime to blackmail, it's not a crime to pay off a blackmailer.  no campaign funds used, so this is just a setup.

 

notice this was a plea agreement.....cohen pleaded guilty to a non-crime in order to hopefully get a reduction in sentence or save himself from bankruptcy.  defending yourself in court against a government with unlimited resources and unlimited time frame quickly leaves one destitute.

 

there was nothing proven in court.  that of course will be lost in the reporting, with the assumption that pleading guilty confirms he, and by extension trump, broke the law.

 

Cohen has also said he has information on Trump’s role in and knowledge of the hacking of Clinton’s emails.

 

Cling to your claim ‘no crime has been committed’, the empty claim is all you have.

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2 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

i missed the campaign contribution.  no cash went to the campaign, no cash came out of campaign funds.

 

if this were a real crime, it would have been argued in court and proven, rather than going the plea bargain route.

 

an actual provable campaign funding violation, even if only a minor technicality, would be super awesome!  getting a plea bargain that does not require proving it in court is telling.

"A separate issue, however, is that while a private citizen is free to make a secret hush money payment to his former mistress if he likes, a political campaign is required to disclose what it’s spending money on...So what Trump and Cohen seem to have decided to do is avoid using campaign money, thus allowing them to avoid disclosure rules.

But just like lying on the disclosure form would be illegal and refusing to do the disclosure would be illegal, paying for campaign expenses out of a non-campaign account and then declining to report that as a contribution to the campaign is also illegal."

https://www.vox.com/2018/8/22/17770074/fox-and-friends-trump-cohen-campaign-finance-payment

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not necessarily supporting trump....but rather our "democracy."  i checked the trump box on my ballot, not for trump, but against hillary.  would love to see trump replaced by someone worthy of the position, but i want to see that done through an election and not soft coup.

 

but i don't think those wanting trump impeached or article 25'd will be happy.  getting trump out doesn't get hillary or bernie in.  pence becomes president, and that's scary.  looking into his background, he's a failed am-radio fundamentalist talk show host, and was a failed politician before he changed his rhetoric.  he's a dispensationalist, meaning he believes the literal word of the bible.  he believe the universe is 6000 years old, and is eagerly awaiting the rapture.  i don't want his finger on the button.

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4 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

i missed the campaign contribution.  no cash went to the campaign, no cash came out of campaign funds.

 

if this were a real crime, it would have been argued in court and proven, rather than going the plea bargain route.

 

an actual provable campaign funding violation, even if only a minor technicality, would be super awesome!  getting a plea bargain that does not require proving it in court is telling.

Really nice try.

 

Sop if someone knows he is in the wrong and committed the crime, hence accepts a plea deal, it is meaningless because it doesn't require proving it in court. Oh and plus it wasn't illegal in the first place.

 

So this lawyer pleads guilty to a non-crime and accepts punishment for that.

 

Do you believe what you have written here?

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7 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

no laws were broken.  it's a crime to blackmail, it's not a crime to pay off a blackmailer.  no campaign funds used, so this is just a setup.

 

notice this was a plea agreement.....cohen pleaded guilty to a non-crime in order to hopefully get a reduction in sentence or save himself from bankruptcy.  defending yourself in court against a government with unlimited resources and unlimited time frame quickly leaves one destitute.

 

there was nothing proven in court.  that of course will be lost in the reporting, with the assumption that pleading guilty confirms he, and by extension trump, broke the law.

 

 

I confess I have no idea what "reality" you are experiencing?

 

Did you read the plea agreement and indictment?

 

https://www.lawfareblog.com/document-michael-cohen-plea-agreement

 

Laws were broken.

 

Blackmail (Extortion) has not been asserted.

 

Hush agreements are CONTRACTS. tRUmp and his minions are the Promisors.

 

I honestly don't know how the money flowed between tRUmp, Essential Consultants, CEEP, AMI, Stormy/McDougal.

 

I am pretty sure there will be flow sharts to show how the money was funneled, so maybe be patient. Cohen supposedly paid Stormy out of his own funds, but then was reimbursed by tRUmp. No clue which slush fund tRUmp used?

 

Not seeing a "set-up" here?

 

Just low-level organized crime activity gone awry. Reality TV show stuff.

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

not necessarily supporting trump....but rather our "democracy."  i checked the trump box on my ballot, not for trump, but against hillary.  would love to see trump replaced by someone worthy of the position, but i want to see that done through an election and not soft coup.

 

but i don't think those wanting trump impeached or article 25'd will be happy.  getting trump out doesn't get hillary or bernie in.  pence becomes president, and that's scary.  looking into his background, he's a failed am-radio fundamentalist talk show host, and was a failed politician before he changed his rhetoric.  he's a dispensationalist, meaning he believes the literal word of the bible.  he believe the universe is 6000 years old, and is eagerly awaiting the rapture.  i don't want his finger on the button.

 

tRUmp may be impeached, but would not be convicted. This assumes additional crimes are not revealed.

 

tRUmp will not be 25thed. This assumes he doesn't go bat-s--t crazy during a rally.

 

So there is zero chance of a soft coup.

 

Again, assuming some unforeseen, extraordinary revelations or health events, tRUmp will serve out his one and only term.

 

Pence will go the way of the previous one-term VP from Indiana.

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7 minutes ago, ChouDoufu said:

 

Which was not my point. Please don't partially quote to change the meaning.

 

Deleted quote after quoted post was deleted.

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1 minute ago, Berkshire said:

Since you're in full deflect mode, how about this one: Trump's charitable foundation.  ....

i'm unsure of the meaning of deflection, but i think it means switching to other topics to avoid the current one.  the current topic is the legality of payments to the ladies, not the emails, and not the foundation.

 

 

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