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Trump's Personal Lawyer And Campaign Manager Both Going To Prison

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NightlyPoe said:

I should probably also note that although the hush money stuff could be real, I'm not sure if I believe it's a crime.  In normal circumstances, it's perfectly legal to pay someone not to talk.  At worst, they'd be the victims of a blackmailer, not the criminals.  So the question is whether it's a campaign contribution.

I actually rather doubt that they'd bother to indict Trump even if he weren't president because that's a bit of a legal leap and they just wouldn't want the bother of trying to prove that particular legal theory.  The only reason Cohen likely plead out on that specific charge was because they had him on other things.  Otherwise, I think he could have fought it and probably would have won.

Yes. Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations tied to his work for Trump.
There is no question any more if it was a campaign contribution. At least not in this case as it stands, because he agreed that it was and pleaded guilty to just that. (If Trump stands trial, his legal team will no doubt contest it though.)

Keep in mind that Clinton was impeached just for lying about having sex with a woman in his office.
Trump has been implicated in federal crimes. That didn't even happen to Nixon.

~Edit~
Ok... this is very interesting. Cohen's lawyer just informed CNN that when Cohen said Trump directed him to break these laws, he was referring to what Trump's own lawyers wrote in a letter to the special council. In it they apparently wrote that Trump "directed Cohen to make that payment." 
https://youtu.be/P_LfH4jg4Zc?t=103

Last edited by Hiku - on 22 August 2018

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Hiku said:

I think it's fairly obvious that Trump has done something illegal in regards to Russia. He's gone out of his way to protect Michael Flynn and risk obstruction of justice charges over something he had no part of?
He was warned by first the Obama administration, and then later Sally Yates that Flynn may be compromised by Russia. Knowing this he chose to ignore the warnings, and instead fired Sally Yates. It was not until New York Times were about to go public with this information and gave the white house a heads up that he fired Flynn right before that story broke.
The very next day he invited James Comey over, and ordered everyone else to clear the room (despite Jeff Session's reportedly not wanting to leave at first, presumably because he thought it would be a bad idea) and then he reportedly told James Comey that "Flynn is a great guy." Asked for Comey's loyalty three times, and said "I hope you can see to letting this thing with Flynn go."
Just one day after firing Flynn for lying to Mike Pence and the FBI.

Then as you know, he fired James Comey (when he wouldn't let it go) and admitted on TV that he did so while thinking about the Russia investigation. Etc.

These things will likely come up in court if Trump is impeached. I don't see why he'd go out of his way to risk obstruction of justice charges multiple times if he's not involved. Add to the fact that he is hiding his tax returns, and there's definitely something he doesn't want people to see. It may just be money laundering or something, rather than collusion. But he's very much behaving like a guilty person.

Then we have the Trump tower meeting, where his son Don Jr already admitted to attempting to collude with a Russian official. His story is that they never got anything, and instead talked about adoption. Even if that's true, he went there with the intention of conspiring, which is enough. And in case his story about the abortion isn't true, Manafort may have something interesting to say about it.

As for Manafort would have agreed to cooperate already if he had something. That's possible, but it's not certain. Unlike Cohen who pleaded guilty, Manafort's approach was to plead not guilty. And on 10 of the 18 counts, the jury was indecisive. (Resulting in a mistrial on those counts.)
This trial could have ended with him being found not guilty on any count. And no matter how it ended, his lawyer could dispute the convictions. It seems like they won't though, because his lawyer thanked the judge for "being fair".

Let's assume Manafort has something on Trump and Trump knows it. The first course of action, if they believe they have a case for 'not guilty' would be to try that in court first. It's not a good look for Trump to pardon him all of a sudden, so that would be a last resort.
If that is the situation, then these convictions Manafort got may serve to provoke Trump to pardon him. Because now, Manafort is facing jail time. Possibly for the rest of his life. And most certainly, if he is found guilty of some of the upcoming charges. Now that jail time is not just a possibility, but a certainty, he'd be more inclined to coperate with the special council if he has something of value.

There's no reason to go over the history.  Asking Comey not to pursue Flynn was inappropriate as far as norms and appearance of propriety ethics go, but is in keeping with Trump's general behavior.  You assume criminal intent, but it's something he would do either way, so there's really no significance.

He's hiding his tax returns from the press, not the IRS.  Why you think that would be significant to Russia, I don't know.

Don Jr. has never admitted to anything that would amount to collusion.

You can believe what you will about Manafort.  I don't see him holding back and putting the rest of his life in the hands of a jury to protect Trump.  Just not going to happen.

I'm not sure why you brought up Sally Yates being fired as her firing was for gross insubordination, and properly so.  If she couldn't perform her role, she should have resigned instead of instructing her department to undermine the president's policies.  If she had resigned, that would have been the honorable path and I would have respected it.  And, ultimately, the travel restrictions that she ordered her department not to defend were upheld in court.  Frankly, she has no business in government if she thinks she can set up her own policy directly contradicting her superiors and should be forever disqualified from public service.

Hiku said:

Yes. Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations tied to his work for Trump.
There is no question any more if it was a campaign contribution. At least not in this case as it stands, because he agreed that it was and pleaded guilty to just that.

(If Trump stands trial, his legal team will no doubt contest it though.)

Keep in mind that Clinton was impeached just for lying about having sex with a woman in his office.
Trump has been implicated in federal crimes. That didn't even happen to Nixon.

Cohen choosing to plead guilty on that specific charge does not strengthen the legal theory that it's a campaign contribution.  All it means is that Cohen chose not to challenge it as a part of the deal he made.

It's still a fairly weak legal theory.  I wouldn't want to base a prosecution on it.



Hiku said:

That Cohen said that Trump instructed him and co-conspired with him to commit federal crimes is huge.
If Trump had not won the election, he would likely have been indicted. (You can't indict a sitting president.)

I'm also interested in the second trial for Manafort coming up. He's 69 years old, and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison just on the 8 convictions he got from the first trial. If he has something incriminating on Trump, now would be the time to make a deal with the special council. 
If he doesn't and Trump doesn't pardon him, then at least one crook is off the streets.

NightlyPoe said: 
Manafort doesn't amount to much. His run at the top of the Trump campaign for like five minutes before getting fired because Trump's inner circle didn't trust him. And his convictions don't have anything to do with Trump.

Cohen, on the other hand, by implicating Trump in the pay off, is a real thing and the first time that Trump is facing any real exposure.

There will be a second trial for Manafort in a few weeks, and that one is where the more serious charges come in.
It will be very interesting to see how that plays out, because if he has something incriminating on Trump to hand over to the special council, this is the time he would do it.
Manafort was present during the infamous Trump tower meeting where they went to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian official, so he may have something in regards to that.

If Trump all of a sudden pardons Manafort before the second trial is over, then we can be 100% sure that he has something valuable to offer the special council in a plea deal.

Xxain said: 
Gawd damn. What does mean for trump himself?

Because he is the president, he is exempt from being indicted for crimes. But the house can move to impeach him on these grounds. However, the Republicans control the house and will undoubtedly not do it. But if enough people vote democrat in the midterms this year, he could very well be impeached for this and stand trial.

Based on everything ive researched it doesn't look like the excessive donations is the serious part of his plea. Rosie O'Donnel had done this recently as well as thousands of others. Typically nothing is done about it. At most money is paid back to the donor or in the worst cases there is a fine to pay. Nothing indictable based on what ive been reading.  This was a big issue for Bernie Sanders too but nothing came of it.



NightlyPoe said:
Hiku said:

I think it's fairly obvious that Trump has done something illegal in regards to Russia. He's gone out of his way to protect Michael Flynn and risk obstruction of justice charges over something he had no part of?
He was warned by first the Obama administration, and then later Sally Yates that Flynn may be compromised by Russia. Knowing this he chose to ignore the warnings, and instead fired Sally Yates. It was not until New York Times were about to go public with this information and gave the white house a heads up that he fired Flynn right before that story broke.
The very next day he invited James Comey over, and ordered everyone else to clear the room (despite Jeff Session's reportedly not wanting to leave at first, presumably because he thought it would be a bad idea) and then he reportedly told James Comey that "Flynn is a great guy." Asked for Comey's loyalty three times, and said "I hope you can see to letting this thing with Flynn go."
Just one day after firing Flynn for lying to Mike Pence and the FBI.

Then as you know, he fired James Comey (when he wouldn't let it go) and admitted on TV that he did so while thinking about the Russia investigation. Etc.

These things will likely come up in court if Trump is impeached. I don't see why he'd go out of his way to risk obstruction of justice charges multiple times if he's not involved. Add to the fact that he is hiding his tax returns, and there's definitely something he doesn't want people to see. It may just be money laundering or something, rather than collusion. But he's very much behaving like a guilty person.

Then we have the Trump tower meeting, where his son Don Jr already admitted to attempting to collude with a Russian official. His story is that they never got anything, and instead talked about adoption. Even if that's true, he went there with the intention of conspiring, which is enough. And in case his story about the abortion isn't true, Manafort may have something interesting to say about it.

As for Manafort would have agreed to cooperate already if he had something. That's possible, but it's not certain. Unlike Cohen who pleaded guilty, Manafort's approach was to plead not guilty. And on 10 of the 18 counts, the jury was indecisive. (Resulting in a mistrial on those counts.)
This trial could have ended with him being found not guilty on any count. And no matter how it ended, his lawyer could dispute the convictions. It seems like they won't though, because his lawyer thanked the judge for "being fair".

Let's assume Manafort has something on Trump and Trump knows it. The first course of action, if they believe they have a case for 'not guilty' would be to try that in court first. It's not a good look for Trump to pardon him all of a sudden, so that would be a last resort.
If that is the situation, then these convictions Manafort got may serve to provoke Trump to pardon him. Because now, Manafort is facing jail time. Possibly for the rest of his life. And most certainly, if he is found guilty of some of the upcoming charges. Now that jail time is not just a possibility, but a certainty, he'd be more inclined to coperate with the special council if he has something of value.

There's no reason to go over the history.  Asking Comey not to pursue Flynn was inappropriate as far as norms and appearance of propriety ethics go, but is in keeping with Trump's general behavior.  You assume criminal intent, but it's something he would do either way, so there's really no significance.

He's hiding his tax returns from the press, not the IRS.  Why you think that would be significant to Russia, I don't know.

Don Jr. has never admitted to anything that would amount to collusion.

You can believe what you will about Manafort.  I don't see him holding back and putting the rest of his life in the hands of a jury to protect Trump.  Just not going to happen.

I'm not sure why you brought up Sally Yates being fired as her firing was for gross insubordination, and properly so.  If she couldn't perform her role, she should have resigned instead of instructing her department to undermine the president's policies.  If she had resigned, that would have been the honorable path and I would have respected it.  And, ultimately, the travel restrictions that she ordered her department not to defend were upheld in court.  Frankly, she has no business in government if she thinks she can set up her own policy directly contradicting her superiors and should be forever disqualified from public service.

 

No reason to go over the history?
After you said "I rather doubt that the Russia stuff amounts to anything", I should just reply with "I think there's something to it", with no explanation given?
I prefer to explain my reasoning. And in order to do that, I'd have to go over the events.

Trump's general behavior does not mean his behavior doesn't have legal consequences. I'm sure he doesn't know what he's doing half the time, like when he told Lester Holt on air that he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation, and that he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he did it. Accidentally admitting to possible obstruction of justice on TV just because it's something Trump would normally do wouldn't make it any less severe if he stands trial for it.
Likewise if a jury decides that he was trying to influence Comey to stop a criminal investigation. Doesn't matter if it's something Trump would normally do. You don't have to be aware of the laws you break, in order to be convicted of committing the crime.
By the way, even Bill Clinton was charged on obstruction of justice regarding the Monica Lewinski case.

Regarding his tax returns, I said "there's definitely something he doesn't want us to see." That would include giving people a reason to look deeper into his finances. Now that there's a special council involved, they can probably access his tax statements though.

Can you explain how Don Jr saying he agreed to meet with a Russian government official “as part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump” (it stated clearly in the email he so kindly provided for us to read) to get dirt on a political opponent isn't attempt to collude? I believe the exact legal term is 'conspiring against a US citizen'. 

This is the law he may have admitted to breaking:

A provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, Section 30121 of Title 52, broadly outlaws donations or other contributions of a “thing of value” by any foreigner in connection with a US election – or even an express or implied promise to take such action, directly or indirectly.

As for Manafort, I didn't say I believed anything. I have no reason to believe one way or another regarding him (unlike Trump). I simply told you one possible scenario, because you ruled it out.

I brought up Sally Yates being fired, because Trump fired several people involved in the Russia/Flynn investigation. Around the same time as Yates there was another man who I forget the name of. Then Comey. Then "according to sources", he tried to fire Muller in June of 2017. I don't know exactly where this information came from. But when Sean Hanity of Fox News' sources tell him the same thing, and prompts him to do a 180 on TV after he just a few hours earlier said he heard nothing of the sort, it looks like it's someone they trust to be in a position of that information.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSOBm2idVXI

Either way, whether it's firing people involved in these investigations, risking criminal charges to protect someone who lied to the vice president and the FBI (and has since pleaded guilty for doing so), and continuously trying to discredit the investigation, he certainly isn't acting like a man who is innocent.
If he wasn't guilty, he'd gladly let the investigation clear his name rather than complaining about it every day, and firing people. Whether you count Yates to that or not, Comey certainly was, and Muller is.

Cohen choosing to plead guilty on that specific charge does not strengthen the legal theory that it's a campaign contribution.  All it means is that Cohen chose not to challenge it as a part of the deal he made.

It's still a fairly weak legal theory.  I wouldn't want to base a prosecution on it.

I understand your point here, and I agree. I'm just saying that for now, we have a man who under oath pleaded guilty to campaign finance crimes.
Right now, no one is contesting this legally. And the only way that could even happen (I think) is if Trump stands trial. That's what I was getting at.

Whether it's something you want to base your prosecution on, I'd say that depends on how much else Muller uncovers in the meantime. You don't ideally want to build a case against a president that isn't very strong. However, if there's nothing more severe uncovered by the Russia investigation, then I wouldn't rule out a case built on this, because like I said, Clinton was impeached for lying about having sex in the oval office.

Btw, you may have missed the edit in my post above, but it had some interesting information from Cohen's lawyer.
Apparently Trump's lawyers told the special council that Trump "directed Cohen to make that payment."
So if it goes to court, they already admitted that it was Trump's idea. So it would seemingly indeed come down to them trying to disprove that it broke campaign finance laws. in that case.

Last edited by Hiku - on 22 August 2018

bowserthedog said:
Hiku said:

That Cohen said that Trump instructed him and co-conspired with him to commit federal crimes is huge.
If Trump had not won the election, he would likely have been indicted. (You can't indict a sitting president.)

I'm also interested in the second trial for Manafort coming up. He's 69 years old, and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison just on the 8 convictions he got from the first trial. If he has something incriminating on Trump, now would be the time to make a deal with the special council. 
If he doesn't and Trump doesn't pardon him, then at least one crook is off the streets.

There will be a second trial for Manafort in a few weeks, and that one is where the more serious charges come in.
It will be very interesting to see how that plays out, because if he has something incriminating on Trump to hand over to the special council, this is the time he would do it.
Manafort was present during the infamous Trump tower meeting where they went to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian official, so he may have something in regards to that.

If Trump all of a sudden pardons Manafort before the second trial is over, then we can be 100% sure that he has something valuable to offer the special council in a plea deal.

Because he is the president, he is exempt from being indicted for crimes. But the house can move to impeach him on these grounds. However, the Republicans control the house and will undoubtedly not do it. But if enough people vote democrat in the midterms this year, he could very well be impeached for this and stand trial.

Based on everything ive researched it doesn't look like the excessive donations is the serious part of his plea. Rosie O'Donnel had done this recently as well as thousands of others. Typically nothing is done about it. At most money is paid back to the donor or in the worst cases there is a fine to pay. Nothing indictable based on what ive been reading.  This was a big issue for Bernie Sanders too but nothing came of it.

By "excessive donations", are you referring to the hush money Cohen paid to the women?
Well in this case we have a criminal conviction for just that, while his co-conspirator, and the person who instructed him to do it, was named under oath.
I believe the Sander's case you're referring to was in regards to some Australian's who offered to volunteer for his campaign? The difference there was that it seemingly was an honest mistake, and it involved something of relatively low value in comparison, so they simply paid a fine for it. Not to mention that Sanders himself probably wasn't aware of every volunteer working for him. In this case we not only have Trump and Cohen on tape discussing the matter (and there's supposedly more info to come), but according to Cohen's lawyer just now, Trump's lawyers wrote to the special council and told them that Trump "directed Cohen to make that payment."
So there seems to be no question or dispute of Trump's involvement. But his legal team would probably try to make the case that it didn't break campaign finance laws, if he were to stand trial.
And since Cohen was convicted on this specific charge, it certainly raises the possibility that the named co-constrictor of this criminal charge stands trial as well, if possible. 

As I said in an earlier post. Clinton was impeached for lying about having sex in his office. In comparison, this seems like a bigger deal.

Last edited by Hiku - on 22 August 2018

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So they might finally have something on Trump (weak as it is). Well if Clinton can lose the Presidency for copping a bj from his secretary and lying about it, then Trump could potentially go too.

That would be 2 good presidents undone for ridiculous reasons, while Bush and Obama managed to run the USA almost into the ground between them and hardly anybody questioned them. Not to mention they were both trigger happy with the war machine.



Locknuts said:
So they might finally have something on Trump (weak as it is). Well if Clinton can lose the Presidency for copping a bj from his secretary and lying about it, then Trump could potentially go too.

That would be 2 good presidents undone for ridiculous reasons, while Bush and Obama managed to run the USA almost into the ground between them and hardly anybody questioned them. Not to mention they were both trigger happy with the war machine.

Which war did Obama go into again? *crickets* The whole freaking economic recovery that Trump is riding on started under Obama. 



Locknuts said:
So they might finally have something on Trump (weak as it is). Well if Clinton can lose the Presidency for copping a bj from his secretary and lying about it, then Trump could potentially go too.

That would be 2 good presidents undone for ridiculous reasons, while Bush and Obama managed to run the USA almost into the ground between them and hardly anybody questioned them. Not to mention they were both trigger happy with the war machine.

Bill Clinton wasn't removed from office as a result of the impeachment though. But he nearly was.

Last edited by Hiku - on 22 August 2018

Hiku said:

No reason to go over the history?
After you said "I rather doubt that the Russia stuff amounts to anything", I should just reply with "I think there's something to it", with no explanation given?
I prefer to explain my reasoning. And in order to do that, I'd have to go over the events.

Trump's general behavior does not mean his behavior doesn't have legal consequences. I'm sure he doesn't know what he's doing half the time, like when he told Lester Holt on air that he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation, and that he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he did it. Accidentally admitting to possible obstruction of justice on TV just because it's something Trump would normally do wouldn't make it any less severe if he stands trial for it.
Likewise if a jury decides that he was trying to influence Comey to stop a criminal investigation. Doesn't matter if it's something Trump would normally do. You don't have to be aware of the laws you break, in order to be convicted of committing the crime.

Regarding his tax returns, I said "there's definitely something he doesn't want us to see." That would include giving people a reason to look deeper into his finances. Now that there's a special council involved, they can probably access his tax statements though.

Can you explain how Don Jr saying he agreed to meet with a Russian government official “as part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump” (it stated clearly in the email he so kindly provided for us to read) to get dirt on a political opponent isn't attempt to collude? I believe the exact legal term is 'conspiring against a US citizen'. 

This is the law he may have admitted to breaking:

A provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, Section 30121 of Title 52, broadly outlaws donations or other contributions of a “thing of value” by any foreigner in connection with a US election – or even an express or implied promise to take such action, directly or indirectly.

As for Manafort, I didn't say I believed anything. I have no reason to believe one way or another regarding him (unlike Trump). I simply told you one possible scenario, because you ruled it out.

I brought up Sally Yates being fired, because Trump fired several people involved in the Russia/Flynn investigation. Around the same time as Yates there was another man who I forget the name of. Then Comey. Then "according to sources", he tried to fire Muller in June of 2017. I don't know exactly where this information came from. But when Sean Hanity of Fox News' sources tell him the same thing, and prompts him to do a 180 on TV after he just a few hours earlier said he heard nothing of the sort, it looks like it's someone they trust to be in a position of that information.

Either way, whether it's firing people involved in these investigations, risking criminal charges to protect someone who lied to the vice president and the FBI (and has since pleaded guilty for doing so), and continuously trying to discredit the investigation, he certainly isn't acting like a man who is innocent.
If he wasn't guilty, he'd gladly let the investigation clear his name rather than complaining about it every day, and firing people. Whether you count Yates to that or not, Comey certainly was, and Muller is.

Cohen choosing to plead guilty on that specific charge does not strengthen the legal theory that it's a campaign contribution.  All it means is that Cohen chose not to challenge it as a part of the deal he made.

It's still a fairly weak legal theory.  I wouldn't want to base a prosecution on it.

I understand your point here, and I agree. I'm just saying that for now, we have a man who under oath pleaded guilty to campaign finance crimes.
Right now, no one is contesting this legally. And the only way that could even happen (I think) is if Trump stands trial. That's what I was getting at.

Whether it's something you want to base your prosecution on, I'd say that depends on how much else Muller uncovers in the meantime. You don't ideally want to build a case against a president that isn't very strong. However, if there's nothing more severe uncovered by the Russia investigation, then I wouldn't rule out a case built on this, because like I said, Clinton was impeached for lying about having sex in the oval office.

Btw, you may have missed the edit in my post above, but it had some interesting information from Cohen's lawyer.
Apparently Trump's lawyers told the special council that Trump "directed Cohen to make that payment."
So if it goes to court, they already admitted that it was Trump's idea. So it would seemingly indeed come down to them trying to disprove that it broke campaign finance laws. in that case.

I said there was no reason to go over the history because I was aware of it already.  You were telling me allegations I was already aware of.

Trump is actually allowed to try to influence people on investigations.  He's the president and the FBI Director's boss.  I'll grant you it's quite inappropriate and ill-advised, but there's nothing illegal about it.

Information is not something that would be covered under "thing of value".  Candidates are allowed to gain information from foreign sources.

Yates was fired for a very specific reason of her own making.  Any president would have also fired her.  Beyond that, she would have been gone about a week later anyway since she was only the Acting Attorney General and Sessions was would soon be confirmed.  Her actions were pure political theater on her part as a means to make a big stink on the way out the door.

I assume the other person that was fired you're speaking of is Preet Bharara.  He was fired because he refused to offer his resignation when Trump (through Sessions) asked ALL of the U.S. Attorney's to tender their resignations.  Something that is typical from new presidents.

I'm not sure what the distinction is about the legal theory not actively being contested.  Untested is untested whether the controversy is active or not.

Clinton was impeached for perjury.  The thing was, they pretty much nailed him to the wall on that thanks to taped recordings and *ahem* DNA evidence on a dress.  That is significantly more substantial than what they have on Trump at the moment.  And recall that Clinton never got close to being removed from office.

Yes, I know that Cohen said that Trump told him to make the payment.  I said that was the first real problem I can see for Trump since this all began.  As I've said, the Russia stuff seems to be a dud to me.  A lot of smoke, but in the end nothing illegal has come out of any of it.  The payoff has a bit more legs to it.  The only problem, as discussed already, it the dubious legal theory it's based on.



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