Donald Trump had yet another really bad day. It began with a series of ridiculously childish Twitter outburts, including one in which he accused Rex Tillerson of being "dumb as rocks" and another in which he screamed "ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE" possibly triggering a bomb threat called in to CNN. Whenever Trump screeches on social media, it's like a trick knee aching just before a big thunderstorm.
And the thunderstorm dropped directly on Trump's head late Friday when prosecutors from the Southern District of New York dropped a bombshell sentencing memo regarding charges against Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Other than the fact that prosecutors suggest to the federal court that Cohen deserves a "substantial term of imprisonment," the headlines appear to be...
- ...Confirmation that Cohen "provided [Mueller's office] with useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with [Trump Organization] executives during the campaign." My read of this is that Cohen gave Mueller testimony and possibly evidence showing a conspiracy between Trump and Russia.
- The document also notes that "Cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House" after the inauguration. Specifically, the memo cites the 2017-2018 time period. This could be information regarding obstruction of justice, though it's difficult to know for sure. Suffice to say, it appears Mueller's focus includes events through this year.
- In a footnote, the memo states that Cohen "in fact conferred with [Trump] about contacting the Russian government before reaching out to gauge Russia's interest in such a meeting."
- Even worse for Trump, remember how he said that payments to Cohen were retainers for legal services rather than reimbursements for payments Cohen made to Daniels and McDougal? Turns out, shocker!, that's not the case. Indeed, the memo reports that the payments were reimbursements disguised as retainer payments. "In fact, no such retainer agreement existed and these payments were not 'legal expenses.'" The memo says the Trump Organization generated fake invoices, which could, I believe, constitute serious fraud that feels like a racket.
So, not only was Trump aware of what Cohen was doing, whether regarding Russia or the payoffs to Daniels and McDougal, but Trump appears to have ordered Cohen to take specific actions to commit felonies along those lines. Put another way, prosecutors are alleging that Trump and Cohen conspired to commit campaign finance violations with the goal of "influencing the 2016 presidential election." SDNY is also suggesting the Trump Organization was in on the crimes as well.
The big takeaway? As the headline reads: Trump is very, very screwed.
Is Maddow on yet?
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