The fixer’s in a fix
April 24, 2018
Michael Cohen, the self-proclaimed fixer for President Donald Trump, is in a fix. He was dealt a blow when a federal judge denied a motion by his attorney and attorneys for President Trump that federal prosecutors for the United States Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York hand over to Trump evidence seized as a result of a search warrant of Cohen's home, office and hotel room, and prevent prosecutors from examining the evidence.
In denying the request, Federal Judge Kimba Wood said, "I have faith in the Southern District prosecutors that their integrity is unimpeachable." Not lost on me is the fact that the plaintiff, President Trump, isn't unimpeachable.
Cohen named only three clients: President Trump, Elliot Broidy, a deputy finance chair of the RNC, and to everyone's surprise, Sean Hannity, who is also a client of Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow. Cohen arranged for a $1.6 million hush payment to a woman who had an abortion after being impregnated by Broidy. Broidy has resigned from his position with the RNC. Hannity has been railing against the treatment of Cohen without revealing that he is Cohen's client. Fox will do nothing. Hannity says Cohen was not necessarily his attorney, but he wants lawyer/client privilege. Why worry if they only discussed real estate?
The biggest problem for Cohen is a recent revelation by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy, a highly respected news agency. They cited two sources who stated that Mueller had evidence of a trip by Cohen to Prague in late summer of 2016 to meet with Russian hackers. Cohen has consistently denied he has ever been to Prague, furnishing his passport as proof. Allegedly, Cohen went to Italy, then went to Prague via Germany. A passport would not have been required. If this is proven true, Cohen could be guilty of collusion.
The Prague trip was first revealed in the now famous dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele. This new finding would put a more favorable light on the dossier, which also alleges Trump's escapade with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. To date, not much, if anything, in the dossier has proven to be false.
In Jim Comey's book, he talks about Trump's obsession with the prostitute issue and that Trump even asked him to use the FBI and federal resources to disprove the allegations. That request was totally inappropriate and Comey correctly declined.
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Cohen may face charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, violating campaign finance laws, and whatever else the FBI comes up with. Add to that possible collusion charges and Cohen could be facing many years in prison if convicted. The most apparent charge is bank fraud. It is a fraud to receive a loan from a bank on false pretense of what the money is to be used for. Do you honestly think Cohen told the bank he needed $130,000 to pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels? The money seems obviously intended to keep Daniels quiet to protect Trump's chances of winning the presidency. That would be an illegal campaign contribution.
There is no telling what's in Cohen's records, but Cohen actually taped some conversations with clients. He only had three! Discussions involving the promotion or execution of illegal activity is not protected under the lawyer/client privilege.
According to the New Yorker magazine, Trump was raging, furious, and terrified after the FBI raided Cohen's office. The fact that the president has been flailing about like a fish out of water since the seizure of Cohen's records, is telling. The FBI seized thousands and thousands of documents and material from Cohen. It is doubtful much was about Broidy or Hannity.
The search warrant was signed off by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and approved by a federal judge. The DOJ would have had to make a strong case to get a search warrant for the records of an attorney, let alone the president's attorney. The DOJ clearly believes Cohen has broken the law. The judge would have had to determine that a crime had probably been committed, or was in the process of being committed, and it was not likely that Cohen would voluntarily hand over what the FBI was after without a search warrant.
Do Cohen's records contain evidence of bank fraud, mail fraud, or campaign finance violations? Do they implicate others? Do they contain evidence of Trump's attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign? Do they contain evidence of Cohen's Prague trip, with perhaps the President's knowledge? Oh, oh, double jeopardy.
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at email@example.com.