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Trump's Pay To Play Scheme Is Exactly What He Accused Hillary Of

Trump's "fixer" Michael Cohen was paid millions by corporations looking for favors from the president. And that's just the money we know about.

On Tuesday, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, released a document detailing millions of dollars paid to Trump's mobbed up lawyer Michael Cohen by both a Russian oligarch and several corporations:

Among the other payments to Mr. Cohen’s company described in the financial records were four for $99,980 each between October and January by Novartis Investments S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Novartis, the multinational pharmaceutical giant based in Switzerland.

Korea Aerospace Industries paid Mr. Cohen’s company $150,000 last November, according to the records. The company, an aircraft manufacturer, has teamed with the American defense contractor Lockheed Martin in competing for a multibillion-dollar contract to provide trainer jets for the United States Air Force that is expected to be awarded this year. 

AT&T made four payments totaling $200,000 between October 2017 and January 2018, according to the documents. AT&T, whose proposed merger with Time Warner is pending before the Justice Department, issued a statement on Tuesday evening confirming that it made payments to Mr. Cohen’s firm.  

The Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, gave Cohen $500,000 for "consulting" purposes which doesn't seem at all sketchy since Cohen doesn't appear to actually have any legal skills beyond doing Donald Trump's dirty work.

The companies involved are going to have all kinds of rationales and none of them are going to stand up to scrutiny. AT&T's statement is already ludicrous on its face:

“Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,” the statement said. “They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”

Essential Consulting is not a firm. It has no employees. It's a shell corporation that Cohen used to hide money (poorly as it turns out). AT&T paid Cohen money because they knew that money would go into Trump's pockets and grease the wheels. This is literally pay to play.

And of course, there's a Trump tweet because there's always a Trump tweet accusing someone else of exactly what he just got caught doing:

The media went ballistic over this kind of corruption during the 2016 election when they thought it could be used against Hillary Clinton. When they couldn't find any pay for play corruption, they literally invented the new metric of the "perception" of pay to play to bash her with. Meanwhile, when the Trump Foundation paid Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi $25,000 to drop a case against the fraudulent Trump University, the press yawned and went back to savaging Hillary over what she was wearing that day.

This, of course, begs the question: Now that we know for a fact that the President of the United States is literally for sale, will the media do its job and bring the country to a screeching halt? Will the press hold Republicans accountable when they continue to do nothing? Will reporters demand real answers and refuse to settle for Sarah Huckabee Sanders' smokey eye lies? Or will they all roll over in the interest of preserving their precious access to the White House and ignore something they already deemed a deal breaker back when Hillary's name was attached to it?

I wish I could say I had more faith in the press but considering Chris Cillizza's imbecilic take on the story, I'm pretty sure we're fucked: