Manafort Guilty on Eight Counts; Cohen Implicates Trump

Trump Maladministration

We’re having a clearinghouse on criminal justice today. The Washington Post is reporting that Paul Manafort has been convicted on eight counts and that the judge has declared a mistrial on ten other counts. “Manafort was convicted on five counts of filing false tax returns, one count of not filing a required IRS form, and two bank fraud counts.”

Manafort’s guilty verdict may strengthen Mueller’s hand as he continues to investigate possible conspiracy and seeks an interview with the president; an acquittal could have led to a broader effort by conservatives to shut down the special counsel’s office. …

… When the jurors were brought into the courtroom, Ellis told them only that if they failed to agree on a verdict, the case would be “left open and undecided,” and that there was no reason another 12 jurors could decide the case “better or more exhaustively” than they could.

It’s not clear to me what charges they “split” on, and of course we don’t know yet of Mueller will try Manafort again on those charges, just that he could.  Manafort’s other trial, on allegations about lying to the FBI, money laundering and foreign lobbying, is scheduled to begin September 17.

Earlier today, there were news reports that Michael Cohen had pleaded guilty, yet there were no details of a deal. Now we have some more information. The New York Times:

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to campaign finance and other charges. He made the extraordinary admission that he paid a pornographic actress “at the direction of the candidate,” referring to Mr. Trump, to secure her silence about an affair she said she had with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payment was “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016.

I’ll come back to that.

Mr. Cohen also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and bank fraud, bringing to a close a monthslong investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors who examined his personal business dealings and his role in helping to arrange financial deals with women connected to Mr. Trump.

Now, here’s a critical part:

The plea agreement does not call for Mr. Cohen to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, but it does not preclude him from providing information to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining the Trump campaign’s possible involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.

If Mr. Cohen were to substantially assist the special counsel’s investigation, Mr. Mueller could recommend a reduction in his sentence.

In other words, there’s no deal yet. The deal is still being negotiated.

Now, let’s go back to the first part of Cohen’s plea, about paying a pornographic actress at the direction of a candidate. Doesn’t this implicate Trump in direct violation of campaign finance law? Cohen may not have named Trump. But who else was he working for?

Big news day, folks.

Update: Here’s one more:

A judge in Washington, D.C., has thrown out a lawsuit against former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who had been sued by Russian oligarchs claiming he defamed them in his dossier about the Trump campaign’s alleged links with Russia.

This feels like three for three.

Update: 13 legal experts weigh in on the Michael Cohen plea. Can we say “unindicted co-conspirator”? Yes, I believe we can!

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Bernie  •  Aug 21, 2018 @6:49 pm

    Two honorable discharges, Two college degrees, retired.  This is the first day in a long time I want to wrap myself in the flag and say it was all worth while and all my life and my life's work had any meaning at all. 

  2. uncledad  •  Aug 21, 2018 @7:43 pm

    Also Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) indicted on campaign fraud charges! Just another business as usual day for the criminal enterprise known as the GOP! The good thing is just because Manafort was a Russian asset and was working on Trumps campaign his conviction of fraud using Russian cash had nothing to do with Russia and or Trumps campaign. NO COLLUSION! NO CONNECTION TO RUSSIA! SAD!

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 21, 2018 @7:51 pm

    There sure are a hell of a lot of witches in this "Witch Hunt" into  tRUMP's past.  It's like veritable witch conventions!

    Btw:  Witch = Vehdmah, in Russian. 

  4. Ed  •  Aug 21, 2018 @10:15 pm

    "The worst day of Trump's presidency." 

    Also known as Tuesday. 

  5. Swami  •  Aug 21, 2018 @10:57 pm

    I wonder if a presidential pardon for Michael Cohen is now off the table? Seeing how Trump is now an unindicted co-conspirator it might give the illusion of being an obstruction of justice if Trump pardons him. Trump's daily tweets are probably going to change from no collusion, no collusion to no coitus, no coitus.

     It should be interesting to see how Sarah Sanders swats down these latest revelations.   

  6. Vagabonde  •  Aug 21, 2018 @11:03 pm

    Oh la la! I stopped reading my mystery to watch this soap opera on the télé… as the White House Turns …. and turns.  Can’t wait for the next juicy installment…

  7. aj  •  Aug 22, 2018 @1:46 am

    Finally. Hopefully there will be consequences for the first time in his life. 

    Thank you Stormy Daniels.

    the con man's mouthpiece giuliani must have been given a heads-up. They report he went to Scotland. After 4 months of all of us being verbally abused by the con's yapper.

    Yes, Lordy there are tapes.

  8. Tom_b  •  Aug 22, 2018 @8:56 am

    Time to subpoena other Trump accessories. Maybe Nunes. That would cause the GOP to collectively foul its undies. And possibly remind them how to spell “impeach”.

  9. doug  •  Aug 22, 2018 @9:35 am

    I heard from Cohen's attorney on Madow last night. Cohen is worshiping at the altar of truth these days. Sainthood expected soon. BUT Cohen is interested in talking to Mueller and has information that, if I remember rightly, "should be of interest to the Special Counsel." There was the hint that Cohen has info related to Trump being aware in advance of "electronic communications" with the Russians. 

    Cohen may be worried about 1) reduced jail time and 2) his reputation with his children. Yeah, he's a low-life thug who didn't engage in overt violence, but he's aware that Trump will unload on Cohen and Cohen may be worried about winning the PR war. (Omarosa syndrome, but Cohen won't be allowed to write a book by Mueller until this is over.)

    The media is wetting themselves in the short-term implications of what Cohen said about election-related crimes at Trump's direction. That's the tip of the iceberg, potentially. Stormy Daniels lawyer has suggested that her previous lawyer (who also represented the Playboy model that the Inquirer paid off for Trump) was on Trump's payroll. That's huge if Trump bought the girls' silence AND did it buy buying the lawyer the girls expected was representing them!

    More critical to the Russia investigation is an answer to the question raised in the Steele Dosier. Was Cohen sent to Europe by Trump to meet with Putin's representative? Second question – did Trump know from the Russians about the hack? To what degree did Trump coordinate with the hackers during the campaign?

    When will Trump's poll numbers go down and how much? The GOP worships Trump because taking the idiot down with an impeachment before the voters have soured on Trump will cause the mob of GOP voters to turn on the GOP establishment. 

  10. syskill  •  Aug 22, 2018 @10:33 am

    I expect that Mueller won’t bother retrying those other ten charges, because under the law Manafort may be sentenced as if he were found guilty of them. (Radley Balko has written about this more than once.)

  11. Anonymous  •  Aug 22, 2018 @11:34 am

    a little OT, Spocko’s brief video on Maria Butima and the NRA. Interspersed with helpful clips of Boris and Natasha.

  12. Swami  •  Aug 22, 2018 @11:42 am

    It's good to see that Cohen has decided to walk the path of righteousness.

     "Yea tho I walk through the valley of criminal prosecution I will fear no evil for Mueller's rod of correction and staff of 7 angry democrats they comfort me."

     I'll spare the link to Karen Carpenter's song…We've only just begun.

    Mueller hasn't even taken his shot at Cohen yet.. and yet Cohen has managed to sink a harpoon in the great white whale. It's gonna be interesting how things play out in the days ahead.. It's looking like Trump's options to control the narrative or alter the trajectory of the investigation is being constricted big time.. Manafort has another trial coming up in September that deals specifically with the collusion aspect of Mueller's investigation. It's time for Paulie to roll!

     

  13. Swami  •  Aug 22, 2018 @11:50 am

    syskill …Mueller can threaten the possibility to retry if only to jack up the legal costs for Manafort. A little incentive to induce cooperation.

  14. Swami  •  Aug 22, 2018 @4:34 pm

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/york-state-subpoenas-cohen-trump-foundation-probe-191109002.html?soc_trk=gcm&soc_src=dbb2094c-7d9a-37c0-96b9-7f844af62e78&.tsrc=notification-brknews

    Seek and you shall find. 

     It's funny how the scriptures talk to us. In the scriptures it says that the Lord will show himself through signs and wonders. Just yesterday I was wondering who was footing the bill for Trump's sexual escapades with Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. Was it the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization,or the Trump foundation? And today the Lord has given me a sign to satisfy my wonder..in the form of a Yahoo news story. It looks like the charitable works of the Trump foundation was picking up the tab.

     

     

  15. doug  •  Aug 22, 2018 @8:09 pm

    My recollection of the Nixon era (and some of you may remember better than I) was that the unravelling was slow, slow, slow.. chips falling slowly as small things became public. At some point, the pace accelerated not suddenly to a breakneck pace, but faster exposure.

    People in Nixon's orbit developed criminal liability and prison became a real possibility. Nixon didn't use pardon power for the same reason Trump isn't – it would cement the perception Trump is part of the criminal conspiracy. Trying to avoid an Obstruction charge makes any public act that seems like obstruction very dangerous.

    The "pardon" discussion is BS – Trump is sucking Manifort along with the tease, but there's no loyalty in the West Wing. If Trump escapes the noose, he has no problem with watching Manifort hang. But I digress.

    Once things got rolling, about when Dean volunteered the "Enemies List" and somebody else (I fail the history test) told of the West Wing taping system, the wheels really started to come off. It became obvious that Trump, I mean Nixon would throw anyone under the bus to save himself. 

    We are going to see the pace pick up, but the wheels aren't about to come off – not yet. I think Don Jr will come under indictment and I'd bet money that Roger Stone will. There's the chance that Assange will come into the grasp of the DOJ and that slime ball will talk to save his hide unless he's more frightened of Putin than life in an American prison.

    Stone, Don Jr and Assange (please God, let it happen) will take time but if all play out, I suspect the tie between Trump and Russia can be established, possibly to the level of treason. But it won't happen this year and forcing a premature Impeachment may undermine the full drama.

    I want Trump gone, but I want to know the full extent of what he's done and expose the full level of damage done to the infrastructure of democracy. How badly is the ship of state hurt is the fist step to saving the ship. I don't want this painted over with a cosmetic platitude that we need to let the nation "heal". Not if the cancer of undemocratic strategies from enemies foreign and domestic continue their schemes.

    Sorry to run on so long.. but we tend to focus on trees, branches and twigs. I wanted to suggest we look at the forest.

  16. Ed  •  Aug 22, 2018 @9:00 pm

    Victor Mitchell, who ran in the Colorado gubernatorial primary, supported Trump while campaigning. He lost to a bigger Trump supporter. However, today he called on Trump to resign. 

     

    He is still a politician with ambitions of his own. My hunch is that he figures it will be a feather in his cap to be the first political leader to do this, and that he anticipates a coming wave of me-too Republicans to do likewise. I am unaware of any other GOP politicians (pundits don't count) staking their political future on a likely coming trend. 

  17. csm  •  Aug 23, 2018 @9:26 am

    "I wonder if a presidential pardon for Michael Cohen is now off the table?"

    For Trump it will have to be, Swami, if only because if he pardons Cohen, a condition of that pardon is he has to tell all he knows in open court about what he's being pardon for, and declaring the fifth is no longer available at that point.  Even if he did, assuming Cohen has already told everything, there's the state charges around the Foundation that he cannot pardon him for.  

  18. csm  •  Aug 23, 2018 @9:31 am

    "Time to subpoena other Trump accessories. Maybe Nunes."

    I don't see how we get through this without Nunes being subpoenaed if not indicated as an un-indicted co-conspirator or charged on obstruction.  And if nothing else, if dems take control of the House one of the first steps should be to censure him, at the least.

     

  19. Swami  •  Aug 23, 2018 @12:54 pm

    Paulie Two-thumbs kept the code..omerta! I think we should convene a councel at the tower so Paulie can become a made man.( in absentia). And that little rat fink from Hewlett needs to go swimming with cement shoes in Sheepshead bay. No collusion! Witch hunt!

  20. Bill  •  Aug 23, 2018 @12:59 pm

    Speaking of the Lord, a certain "Gordon Klingenschmit" believes that anybody suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome is clearly inhabited by demons which need to be exorcised.

    I know that reality can be harsh, but seriously folks.  Circling drains with rafts of like-minded losers is no way to go through life… or preach much of anything.

  21. Swami  •  Aug 23, 2018 @2:11 pm

    Klingenschmit ? Sounds like a German medical term for bowel blockage. Down here in Florida we say…I'm all stopped up.

  22. Ed  •  Aug 23, 2018 @2:55 pm

    The National Enquirer may be tuning on Trump. You have to admit it would be pretty cool to have Trump brought down by a man named Pecker.