You Don’t Get What You Don’t Pay For

Trump Maladministration

The Inspector General report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation is supp0sed to be released today, and when it is it will probably eat the rest of the day’s news. Bloomberg has a preview:

Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from FBI and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the law enforcement agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by political bias, the department’s watchdog found in a highly anticipated report.

“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report’s conclusions, which were obtained Thursday by Bloomberg News.

Probably few will notice that New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood just filed an interesting lawsuit.

The New York attorney general on Thursday filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit — to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion dollar giveaway athis 2016 campaign events.

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.

No jail time, alas. But this gets to the topic I want to write about, which is that Donald Trump really hates to be parted from his own money.

It was reported yesterday that Michael Cohen is letting go of his legal team, and word is that this is partly because he’s struggling to pay them.  “The dispute between Mr. Cohen and his lawyers involves the payment of his legal bills, part of which are being financed by the Trump family,” says the New York Times.  He is likely to hire a smaller team with more criminal trial experience, it is said.

However, also, too:

One person with knowledge of the legal staffing change said Mr. Trump’s camp was “very displeased” with the way the Cohen investigation had so far been conducted. Mr. Trump himself has told people he is angry at Mr. Cohen over the messiness of the situation — especially those aspects involving Ms. Clifford. But the president has also indicated to allies that he is worried that if he pushes Mr. Cohen away too hard, it could increase the likelihood that Mr. Cohen will offer information to the government. ….

… Mr. Trump’s businesses have not been funding Mr. Cohen’s entire legal defense, but the Trump family has been paying for the time-consuming — and enormously expensive — process of reviewing the voluminous materials seized in the raids on Mr. Cohen, according to people familiar with the case. Recently, however, a dispute has erupted over the amount that Mr. Cohen’s lawyers want to charge the Trump family enterprises for the review, which the lawyers have said they are running with a large team of associates and data specialists. The disagreement could serve to further isolate Mr. Cohen from Mr. Trump — a risky move for the president.

People are scratching their heads over why Trump would be so stingy, since he’s the one who will lose if Cohen flips. Josh Marshall wrote,

You can see all the frictions and resentments at work here. Trump is pissed that Cohen was so sloppy and that he got caught. He also must fear that Cohen will betray him. But he doesn’t want to let his anger over that potential betrayal drive Cohen to actual betrayal. It’s a bit of a bind! Meanwhile Cohen is apparently bouncing between sad-sackery and defiance, his own impossible predicament.

But what’s striking about these paragraphs is this: why have this dispute over money? Would it not be worth even a few million more dollars for even the hope of keeping Cohen on board? Can Trump possibly be this cheap? Don’t answer that. It seems like all the friction is leading him to push Cohen away over mere money.

Maybe Mr. “I Just Established World Peace” thinks he’s untouchable.

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  1. doug  •  Jun 14, 2018 @12:14 pm

    Trump may be facing realistically that sum total of his defense rests squarely on his ability to bamboozle millions. Trump has no intention of putting on a legal defense – he's based his survival on a PR campaign.

    Flynn has flipped. So has Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and George Nader. I don't think Manifort or Cohen will hold out once it's known that Trump can't protect them from life in jail. (He can't – there are state charges in NY & MDTrump can't touch  which relate to the federal charges Trump can wipe.)

    There's going to be more crimes that we can count levied against Trump, from violations related to how he did business in NY to quid pro quo deals with foreign nations during the election, IMO. There will be an overwhelming amount of proof and witnesses. Trump is counting on a base who will disbelieve facts on every jury.

    Trump won't pay the big bucks for a dream team of lawyers. He's counting on the law of averages and at least one idiot per jury if the PR campaign can keep doubt in objective reality high enough.

    There is a problem which I found out about when discussing jury selection at length with my lawyers. And I worked with two EXCELLENT LAWYERS. The prosecution can "excuse" a fixed number of jurors from the pool of prospective jurors w/out cause. The defense can "excuse" a much larger number from the jury pool w/out cause. The judge can excuse an unlimited number of jurors from the pool. Many judges will question jurors on whether they will obey the judges instructions which the judge delivers after closing arguments just prior to deliberations. I did not have a chance of a sympathetic juror in my trial unless a potential juror could hoodwink the judge in the jury selection. And judges are not dummies.

    I don't think anyone has told Trump that the 30% who is sympathetic to Trumpism to the point of suspending reason will be excluded from the jury in some of Trump's trials. And there will be trials, I think after Trump is not POTUS.

    Trump has miscalculated bigly.

  2. uncledad  •  Jun 14, 2018 @12:20 pm

    "bouncing between sad-sackery and defiance "

    Interesting, that's some bi-polar shit there! Trump is somehow blaming the Trump foundation lawsuit on " disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman", that's a stretch seeing as Schneiderman is a private citizen and has zero authority over the NY AG office? Poor lil-donnie, anytime anyone looks beyond his veneer of legitimacy they find criminal activity. SAD!

  3. Swami  •  Jun 14, 2018 @2:23 pm

    Make no mistake about it…Cohen is going to flip. Trump has nothing to offer him in the way of protection. Mueller can offer him the security of knowing he'll come through this ordeal a little battered, but can rebuild a life on the other side his ordeal. Who in their right mind would put their faith and future in the hands of Donald trump. Donny has made it clear that he's in it for Donny..and Donny alone. There is no honor among thieves! 

     All this nonsense about loyalty to Trump is just an emotional placebo to impart some sense of self worth that can be enjoyed from a position of safety and security when there are no external forces pressing in on it. Cohen is going to be faced with making some harsh value judgments. He's also going to be faced with the natural instinct of self preservation. The question is would you throw your life away for a bag of shit like Trump whose only allegiance is to himself? Answer that question and you'll know why Cohen is going to flip.

    Aside from that, Mueller's team has pinned down and made public Manafort's communications to try and shape his situation to the point where Cohen must be paranoid to even risk an attempt to coordinate some sort of a scheme of providing a defense in conjunction with Trump.  

     As the old toast goes in relation to Cohen and Trump….Here's to you, and here's to me. I hope we never disagree,but if we do.. to hell with you. So here's to me!

  4. John M.  •  Jun 14, 2018 @2:38 pm

    Another possible answer to the question of why the president seems so stingy with his money, even in serving his long-term legal and personal self-interest, is that he is not nearly as rich as he says he is, and suffers from a serious cash shortage — enough to lead him to second-guess a number of seemingly obvious expenditures. I think I've read several speculations on this angle, in various Trump-watching blogs.

  5. doug  •  Jun 14, 2018 @4:43 pm

    I'm going off-topic but there's a point not being addressed in the media, and even underplayed in the blogosphere.

    "Or the dog gets it!" 

    Is the punch line of a cheesy meme about blackmail. A hand with a gun pointed a stray puppy whose been abducted if the blackmail isn't paid. Funny stuff, as if any person will pay ridiculous ransom to save a dog who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The Trump administration isn't being subtle that this is the strategy of separating children from parents at the border. 

    “Because it's the law,” Sanders said. “It doesn't have to be the law. The president has called on Democrats in Congress to fix those loopholes. The Democrats have failed to come to the table, failed to help this president close these loopholes and fix this problem. We don't want this to be a problem…"

    We will free the children and stop taking hostages if the Democrats fund the wall. Is this accidental or unplanned?

    "GOP leaders… are still writing the second bill. Republicans said it would contain a way for Dreamers to qualify for permanent residence and potentially become citizens, while accepting conservatives' demands to finance Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico and restrictions on legal immigration."  ABC News

    The GOP is negotiating with itself over funding the wall in exchange for the Dreamers status and freeing the child hostages, presumably. It can NOT pass without Democrats assistance, which the hostage-taking is intended to force.

    ICE is committing atrocities under the President's direction to coerce the Democrats.  It's being treated with dignity by Democrats and the press.

  6. uncledad  •  Jun 14, 2018 @7:43 pm

    "It can NOT pass without Democrats assistance "

    That is basically tRumps argument? I'm not sure how the Democrats are to blame for the situation at the border, the GOP controls all three branches of government?

  7. uncledad  •  Jun 14, 2018 @8:45 pm

    Another word-turd caught in the twit filter?

  8. uncledad  •  Jun 15, 2018 @9:50 am

    Trump rambling about Kim Jung Un on FAUX and Friends today; " “He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”

    Wow. Does Trump just dream up outrageous shit just to prove what a bunch of hypocrite sycophants his supporters are? What I can I say today that Obama would have been lynched for, is that what he says to himself when he wakes up everyday?

  9. grannyeagle  •  Jun 15, 2018 @3:59 pm

    "He speaks and his people sit up in attention.  I want my people to do the same."  Do we get a special treat if we do?  Excuse me, I'm getting sick again.