Sorry to tell you this, Trumpsters, but his entire life is one big LIE

There was plenty of awful legal news for President Trump this week, but the worst may have come from an official who hasn’t yet been sworn in.

Letitia James, who will become the New York state attorney general next month, told NBC she plans to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.” James also said she hopes to pursue state charges against Trump associates whom the president might pardon for federal crimes.

No wonder Trump was so untethered when Chuck and Nancy dropped by.

Trump has been walking a tightrope of lies all his adult life, and now he is teetering. He has inflated his wealth. He has aggrandized his business acumen. He has managed to convince supporters that he is a respected businessman who brilliantly commanded a vast real estate empire. In a fanciful 2015 statement of his net worth, he claimed that his brand alone — just the name Trump — was worth $3 billion.

I wonder what it’s worth now.

In reality, Trump has never come anywhere near the top rank of New York real estate developers. He ran not a huge, sprawling enterprise but a small family firm in which he and his children had direct control. He was seen as so unreliable that genuine moguls refused to have anything to do with him. When he tried to go big — risking everything on casino development in Atlantic City — he failed miserably despite his father’s efforts to bail him out. His bankers were left holding the bag, and now major financial institutions won’t lend the Trump Organization a dime. It was Trump’s undeniable skill as a television performer carnival barker on “The Apprentice” that saved him from total ruin.

Now the law is beginning to squeeze him from all directions. His former consigliere, Michael Cohen, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison. One of the crimes Cohen confessed to was violating federal campaign finance laws by orchestrating six-figure payments to a Playboy model and an adult-film star, in the weeks before the 2016 election, to ensure their silence about sexual encounters they say they had with Trump. Cohen says he did this at Trump’s direction.

Trump’s see-no-evil allies dismiss Cohen as a proven liar about other matters. But also Wednesday, the company that owns the National Enquirer — American Media Inc. (AMI), which is run by Trump’s close friend David Pecker — admitted playing a major role in that same hush-money scheme. The aim, according to the company, was to help Trump win the election.

Trump responded by tweeting that “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law.” But in the past, the president has also said that there weren’t any hush-money payments; that if such payments were made, he didn’t know about them; and that the payments, which totaled $280,000, were a “simple private transaction.”

The bottom line is that two witnesses, Cohen and AMI, independently now implicate the president of the United States in the commission of two felonies.

The campaign finance case is being brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Back in Washington, meanwhile, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has been busy, as well.

We learned this week that Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, has met with Mueller’s team 19 times to tell them what he knows. We also learned that Cohen has been eagerly cooperating with the Mueller probe. This means that at least two people in a position to know whether collusion with the Russians took place are singing like songbirds.

Potentially more serious for Trump and his family in the long run, however, is what the New York state probe might discover.

How much of the Trump Organization’s revenue has come from the sale of luxury real estate to oligarchs from Russia and other kleptocracies? Where did these buyers’ money come from? Why was Deutsche Bank — recently raided by German authorities and under investigation for money laundering — the only major financial institution willing to lend money to Trump in recent years? Where did Trump’s company get the large amounts of cash used in several transactions that Post reporters uncovered? How much commingling of funds was there between Trump’s company and his eponymous foundation?

Trump’s longtime accountant, Allen Weisselberg, has turned state’s evidence. He may be the Virgil who guides federal, state and local prosecutors through a Trumpian inferno of shell companies and opaque transactions. The outlines of Trump’s fate begin to emerge.

Fox won’t tell you this, but, trust me — the Trump criminal enterprise is going down

FBI raids offices of Trump’s former tax attorney — again

Donald Trump’s former Chicago tax attorney, Alderman Ed Burke, had his City Hall office raided by the FBI on Thursday — and it wasn’t the first time he had an office searched by the bureau.

NBC5 political editor Carol Marin tweeted Thursday evening that Burke’s City Hall office was “re-raided” by the bureau — the second time his office had been raided in a month after the FBI searched it on November 29.

On December 10, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the FBI had also seized Burke’s cell phone. The same day, the newspaper also reported that the long-serving alderman’s  top political aide was questioned by the feds before the late November raid.

Burke, who’s been an alderman for almost 50 years, did Trump’s property taxes from 2006 until 2018.

 

Trump has just screwed up his attorney-client privilege — goddam but this clown is stupid, stupid, stupid

The former chief of staff at the FBI explained how President Donald Trump may be committing a critical mistake in his legal defense against having conspired to commit felony campaign finance violations.

Chuck Rosenberg explained the blunder on MSNBC “Deadline: White House” with anchor Nicolle Wallace on Thursday.

“Donald Trump has been engaged in a day-long rolling, rambling and rage-filled commentary on his own legal fate and on the sentencing of his former fixer and lawyer,” Wallace noted. “Coming in multiple tweets. his central contention is that he isn’t a crook.”

“The president not even able to keep his supporters at Fox News quiet about the clear and mounting evidence that he may very well face criminal liability in the cases out of the Southern District of New York which may explain his private concerns about impeachment as NBC News reports today,” Wallace explained.

“By the way, this is only the latest iteration of his defense. As I recall, the first defense was, I have no idea what in the heck you’re talking about, this never happened,” Rosenberg noted. “So we’re at a different defense and it’s also unavailing.”

“By the way, I think he’s also — he the president — has also hinted there’s an advice of counsel defense. And Dan [Goldman] knows this better than anybody, but there’s a fascinating problem for the president,” he explained. “If he really wants to travel down this path, which is if you are going to assert advice of counsel, you’re also effectively waving any attorney/client privilege.”

“Put aside the fact that advice of counsel defenses almost never work, the president may have just opened up a whole new avenue of hurt legally, if he really wants to assert that he relied on [Michael] Cohen,” he continued. “I don’t think that’s going to work, and I don’t think it’s wise.”

 

Now turns out that Trump’s inauguration was illegal

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are investigating Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” The Journal reports the criminal probe is misspent funds and “also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions.”

Donations in exchange for favors could violate anti-corruption law.

The committee was registered as a nonprofit and spent a record $107 million dollars.

“In April raids of Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents obtained a recorded conversation between Mr. Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump, who worked on the inaugural events,” The Journal reported. “In the recording, Ms. Wolkoff expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money, according to a person familiar with the Cohen investigation.”

“The inaugural committee has publicly identified vendors accounting for $61 million of the $103 million it spent, and it hasn’t provided details on those expenses, according to tax filings,” The Journal added. “The committee raised more than double what former President Barack Obama’s first inaugural fund reported raising in 2009, the previous record. President Trump’s funds came largely from wealthy donors and corporations who gave $1 million or more—including casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co., according to Federal Election Commission filings.”

The federal government has a key cooperating witness in the investigation.

Rick Gates, Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager, served as deputy chairman of the inauguration.

Gates has been cooperating with federal prosecutors since a February plea deal.

 

GEN John Kelly tells friends he is happy to be free from the Trump curse

Outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly begun revealing to friends his feelings about leaving the Trump administration.

CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on-air Thursday that a source close to the White House said Kelly “is confiding to friends that he’s relieved to be leaving” his post.

Tensions between Kelly and President Donald Trump were rumored for months prior to reports that the retired Marine general will be leaving the White House.

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward wrote in “Fear,” his nonfiction look into the Trump White House, that Kelly thinks Trump is both “crazy” and an “idiot.”

Amid ample speculation about who will replace Kelly, HuffPost reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is in the running for the next White House chief of staff.

House GOP leaves town . . . without approving Trump’s wall . . forget the wall, it’s dead

There was some big talk on Wednesday from House Republicans about how they totally have enough votes to approve the $5 billion in border wall funding Individual 1 is demanding the government be shut down over. They so much have all the Republican votes they need, they were definitely going to have a vote on that this week.

Or not. They’re leaving town today, with no votes scheduled now until next Wednesday afternoon, two days before the partial government shutdown deadline. They are on standby to return if needed. But they’re not slinking off because they don’t have the votes to back up Trump, Republicans insist. Nope, they could totally do it, they just don’t see any point. “Do we have the votes for a measure that includes $5 billion for the wall? Yes,” says Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC), one of the leadership team, but “The question of whether to do it is a question of wisdom and strategy and tactics, and it’s highly debatable about whether that’s the right move.” Uh-huh.

“They do not have the votes to pass the president’s proposal,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said of the $5 billion wall plan. Believe her. If they had the votes, they would have passed it months ago. So they seem to be at an impasse, with nominal House Speaker Paul Ryan ditching any responsibility for getting a deal made in the next eight days. Trump isn’t going to have the House backing him on his $5 billion demand, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, well, who knows what he’s doing? He continues to offer nothing more than an oblique “I’m optimistic there won’t be a government shutdown.” But he’s not scheduled to be talking to Trump, or anyone else, according to public schedules.

About 75 percent of government is already funded, so maybe they just don’t really give a damn. That’s what Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) implies. “The fact is, the vast majority of the government is not going to be shut down under any scenario,” he rationalized. “So there’s this little tiny sliver, and within that universe, anybody that is an essential employee still works. So I think this has all gotten a lot overblown.” That “tiny sliver” included tens of thousands of employees in Homeland Security, Interior, Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Transportation and State departments and NASA. The essential employees in those departments would get the great Christmas present of having to show up for work and not getting paid for it.

Maybe they all see room for Trump backing down with his latest about how Mexico is paying for the wall anyway except it’s really still taxpayers who are on the hook because it’s money we’re “saving” because of his trade deal. What a stable genius to come up with that one.

Trump denies knowledge of porn star payoffs — he lies — he was in the room when decision was made

After Donald Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, the president tried out a series of excuses to distance himself from the disgraced attorney.

In the past, he’s also claimed to be unaware of the payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to silence them ahead of the election.

But NBC reports that Donald Trump was in the room when Cohen agreed to pay the women the hush money.

“Donald Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 when his lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump’s relationships with women,” NBC News writes.

Read here.

FACTS about immigration and “border security”

Now, I know you TeaPublicans have your heads so far up Trump’s ass that truth cannot penetrate — and I know you spend you waking hours foaming at the mouth watching Fox.

Still, I hope maybe facts can penetrate the pile of bullshit under which you live.

FACTS

LIE: Trump says immigrants are bringing in disease — speaking specifically about people coming in from Central and South America.

FACT:  The countries of Central and South America have vaccination requirements that are far more strict than ours.  Vaccination against common and uncommon diseases are MANDATORY in those countries and the rate of vaccination is almost 100%.  Unlike the US, there is no one permitted to opt-out. Now, I know some of you have heard of a measles outbreak among the Somalia community in Minnesota.  That happened after a grouip of anti-vaccination biblethumpers got into the community and convinced people to not vaccinate their children.  Public health authorities stopped that nonsense but not until 40 or so kids contracted measles.  Trump lies.

 

LIE.  “They’re bringing drugs . . .”

FACT. Most drugs that enter the US illegally come in through LEGAL BORDER CROSSING POINTS, smuggled in on trucks carrying legal cargo.

 

LIE. ” They are rapists and murderers and criminals . . . ”

FACT.  Acccording to FBI and state statistics,  immigrant communities from all countries have the lowest rates of all crime.  Yes, occasionally an immigrant — legal or illegal — commits a heinous crime.  But they are the minority and there’s nothing unusual about it.

 

LIE.  “They are flooding across our border. . .”

FACT.  Bullshit.  Illegal border crossings are now at their lowest rate in over 40 years.  The main reason is improved economic conditions in South and Central America — people no longer have to leave home to find work in the US.

 

LIE.  Mexico is going to pay for the wall through the new NAFTA agreement.

FACT.  Bullshit.  The new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is nothing but NAFTA slightly revised.  Nothing in the agreement will result in Mexico paying for our border security.

 

BOTTOM LINE:  Trump lies and you dimwits eat it up.

 

Memo to Trump’s kids: Don’t spend that inheritance just yet

There’s a saying in New York: “To meet Donald Trump is to wish that you had never met Donald Trump.”  Donald Trump has been to New York what the Cubs were to Chicago, a lovable loser. Nobody took his claims to wealth, sexual prowess, or business acumen seriously. He was like the loud uncle at Thanksgiving that you get wasted watching football, so that he sleeps through dinner.

All of which suited Donald Trump just fine. Mainly because it was the perfect cover. After all, who would ever think that a guy you have to remind to zip up before he leaves the bathroom could be a criminal mastermind.

Trump got away with his myriad schemes in New York for 35 years mainly because he just wasn’t worth the trouble. He ran a mom and pop bodega operation, and as long as he was discreet enough to provide at least some cover to his chicanery, he just wasn’t worth the trouble.

Not anymore. And it was Trump’s unrelenting ego and narcissism that did him in.

The problem for Trump with the Mueller investigation isn’t so much Russia, as it is the fact that the investigation gave the agents and prosecutors access to many other things that might not touch directly on Russia, but sure did make for interesting bedtime reading on other subjects.

The incoming Attorney General for the state of New York has quite the laundry list of sins that she can’t wait to see if she can’t wrap Trump up in like a dead fish in yesterday’s newspaper. I’m not so sure that she actually has the authority to investigate the Trump Tower meeting, but I admire her spirit. But there are a host of other shenanigans, such as money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud, and state income tax evasion that should keep her quite busy for the foreseeable future.

The thing to remember is that a pardon can’t save Trump from retribution, not even on the federal level. Forget the issue of whether a President can pardon himself, it doesn’t matter. While Trump may be able to make his own criminal negligence go away, his company is a different matter. You can’t pardon a company, and the Trump organization is the vehicle that Trump used for most of his nefarious schemes. It is also his sole source of wealth.

Trump’s favorite excuse for not releasing his tax returns is that they are perpetually “under audit.” True or not, Trump’s assertion that his annual tax return is the size of the greater Manhattan white pages only indicates just how intricately his personal wealth is interlinked with his business entities.Which can kill him. If he is found guilty of tax fraud, or money laundering, or bank fraud, prison is the least of his worries. The penalties, back payments, and interest could bankrupt the company.  Knowing the endless avarice of Trump, and his belief in his own criminal brilliance, there are plenty of crimes to find that are well short of any statute of limitations come January of 2021. And if a Democrat wins the White Hose, I don’t see the new Attorney General having serious qualms about unleashing the justice department dogs of war. And call me silly, but I don’t think that Allen Weisselberg is too crazy about modeling an orange jumpsuit to protect Trump.

And the state is even worse for Trump. First of all, Trump can’t pardon himself from criminal prosecution on state charges. But more importantly, criminal charges may again be the least of his worries. Thanks to incredible journalism, the state of New York is now undertaking unraveling all of the shabbily hidden “gifts” that Trump and his siblings received from their parents. If those are found to have been made in a way that sheltered them from legitimate taxes, I heard one estimate that the Trump’s may owe in excess of $150 million in back taxes, interest, and fines. And that’s personal money we’re talking about, not company funds.

Trump’s real problem, whether state of federal, is his rather convoluted definition of “wealth.” He has proudly proclaimed himself the “king of debt,” and he wants this to be how America is great again. Trump is right. He doesn’t actually own Trump Force One, it belongs to a corporate spin off. Say Trump Tower is worth $100 million. but if it’s leveraged by $80 million in mortgages and loan guarantees, its true value to Trump is $20 million. This is where the tax and other financial litigation kills Trump, if he’s hit with heavy enough fines and compensation, his assets won’t be enough to cover it all.

So yes, I want to see Trump’s mug shot, and a perp walk would let me die in ecstasy. But just as badly, I want to see Trump reduced to living in a third floor, cold water walk up in one of Jared’s lousy rent controlled buildings on the lower east side. If, that is, he doesn’t drag Klan Kushner right on down with him. And what I wouldn’t give to see Melania walk out of this with a new jacket that says “I married a sexist pig, and all I got was a lousy US passport.”  Mueller isn’t the only one “following the money.” And impeaching Trump allows him to be a martyr to his followers, bankrupting Trump makes him a loser, and an inept one at that. Which one is worse? For Trump, I honestly believe the latter.

Fox will not tell you, but, Trump is finished, the rest is just a formality

Trump is seething, raging after Michael Cohen’s revelations

President Donald Trump’s bill signing was remarkably quiet Wednesday. The president didn’t pop off or randomly make jokes or schmooze the way he normally does. Instead, he signed the bill, shook a few hands and exited.

CNN’s Jim Acosta said that sources told him the president is “seething” in silence, even bellowing that former lawyer Michael Cohen “is a liar.”

The president had a moment to say anything he wanted to the press about Cohen when doing the signing but remained mostly reserved, not something typical of Trump.

Cohen implicated Trump in felonies when giving investigators information that pointed directly to the president.

Former top US attorney details how Trump will go down

Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained exactly how Donald Trump’s second-to-last defense against being indicted when AMI struck a no-prosecution plea deal in Michael Cohen’s sentencing.

Trump’s defenses surrounding accusations that he violated campaign finance laws with “hush agreements” to two women are “crumbling rapidly,” Katyal wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread on the subject.

Trump hires “only the best people” — but no one wants to work for him

President Donald Trump told Republican U.S. Representative Mark Meadows that he wants him to stay in Congress rather than take the White House chief of staff job the president is seeking to fill, three senior White House officials said on Wednesday.

Meadows had been among 10 or 12 people that Trump is considering for the post that retired General John Kelly is leaving early in 2019. Kelly, Trump’s second chief of staff, after Reince Priebus, had tried to bring more discipline to the chaotic Trump White House and frequently found himself at odds with the president.

Trump knows he is “bleeped”

Donald Trump biographer Tim O’Brien predicted there would be a new round of longtime allies of the president who “flip” and cooperate with prosecutors.

“You’ve covered Donald Trump for a long time,” MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace noted. “I think we look at Trump tells — the daily tweets about no collusion, the daily attacks against Robert Mueller for running a witch hunt.”

“Does it look like Donald Trump knows that he’s bleeped?” Wallace asked.

“I think it definitely looks like he knows he’s bleeped,” O’Brien replied.

“He’s cornered and spent a year and a half pointing to the Mueller investigation on a routine basis, nonstop, as being a witch hunt,” he noted. “Anytime he starts tweeting at the investigation or investigators, it’s usually when there’s a big shoe about to drop.”

“He knows in advance that something is about to hit the fan,” O’Brien added.

He also suggested that the investigations are going to entangle Trump’s children, the three eldest of whom worked at the Trump Organization.

“These are developments that are going to bleed into the Trump Organization for quite a long time,” he predicted. “It’s going to get to his children, it’s going to get to other people in that organization, and people are going to start flipping that Trump never thought would flip before.”

Triump’s very bad day is extending into a very bad week . . . month . . . years

Dec 12, 2018

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and the ex-deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, was sentenced to three years in jail on Wednesday as a part of the most significant chapter yet in the federal investigations encircling the president.

And the undeniable intensity of the sentence was only one of the damning facts for the president revealed in the outcome of Cohen’s sentencing. The prosecutors from the Southern District of New York have already said that Trump directed Cohen to carry out criminal violations of campaign finance law — and the case directly against the president appears to only be getting stronger.

Here are five other details that emerged from the sentencing that should be devastating for Trump:

1. American Media, Inc., has been given a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for its cooperation in this case.

U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami revealed in a press release that AMI, which owns the National Enquirer, participated in corroborating facts in the charges against Cohen. And the fact the company received a non-prosecution agreement suggests that the case is far from over. It’s not clear why the Khuzami would agree to a non-prosecution agreement against AMI if the only target was Cohen. This suggests that Trump, the Trump Organization, or others in the president’s orbit may also be in the government’s sights.

2. AMI admitted the most crucial detail in the case against Trump.

To prove that, as Cohen has already pleaded guilty to, the hush money payments to women who say they had affairs with Trump were criminal violations of campaign finance law, prosecutors must show that the purpose of the payments was to directly influence the election. The president’s defenders have argued that Cohen is a particularly unreliable witness on this charge, given his shady character and that he might just be searching for leniency in sentencing for other crimes.

But Khuzami reveals that he has corroboration for Cohen’s damning account of events:

As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.  AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.

3. There’s also evidence of a willful attempt to hide the payments.

With regard to the hush money payment, Khuzami wrote: “COHEN was reimbursed for the latter payment in monthly installments disguised as payments for legal services performed pursuant to a retainer, when in fact no such retainer existed.”

The fact that the payments were disguised in this deceptive way suggests an attempt to hide wrongdoing, which will likely undercut any claim by the president to be unaware of the illegality of the payments. Perhaps even more damning for the president or others who worked on this matter is the fact that these attempts to hide the payment could raise the possibility of additional charges.

4. Khuzami also sent a pretty clear signal that others are guilty in this scheme.

Prosecutors almost certainly believe that it is not Cohen alone who is guilty in this campaign finance violations, as the following sentence makes clear: “COHEN made or caused both of these payments in order to influence the 2016 election and did so in coordination with one or more members of the campaign.” (Emphasis mine)

5. Cohen’s remarks in court are a stinging rebuke of the president.

“Time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds, rather than listen to my own inner voice,” Cohen told the court of Trump on Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. “My departure as a loyal soldier to the president bears a very hefty price.”

Meanwhile, Trump put in his usual half-hour of work today.

President Donald Trump‘s official White House schedule has grown increasingly empty as time goes by. Months into his tenure his aides infamously decided to claim he was on “executive time” every morning, until usually 11 AM, at which time he supposedly would receive his “daily” intelligence briefing.

“Executive time” is code for Trump hanging out in the East Wing (the residence), possibly in bed, watching Fox News and tweeting. He reportedly watches between 4 and 8 hours of TV news a day.

“Daily” intelligence briefings are now at 11:30 AM, and rare. According NCRM’s review of the president’s official schedule, he has been scheduled to receive only 5 since November 1. (There’s no public record of if he received them or not.)

Usually, Trump has a lunch scheduled for around noon or 1 PM, sometimes with a Cabinet official.

After that, well, it’s anyone’s guess.

This is why Trump is in trouble . . . deep, deep trouble

Democratic leaders are not inclined to overplay their hand. Rather they have been very cool, savvy and disciplined.

They will continue to ignore calls for impeachment.

They will investigate everyone around the president, while leaving his case for the special counsel to dissect.

They will work hard to ensure Trump is not reelected, although that should not be a problem — by 2020 the nation will be tired of him, except, of course, for a few diehard MAGAts.

They will continue to encourage tweets and statements that feed a mounting sense of outrage.

Let indictments happen after leaving office – that leaves Trump with no ability to mount a defense on the taxpayer’s dime or extend pardons.

In short, after two years and exceptional midterm results, the Democrats have recognized that the president is the political gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday’s bear-baiting in the oval office was a masterful exercise in what is the best strategy for winning.