Patterico's Pontifications

12/13/2018

Trump Campaign Finance Case Starting to Look Worse for Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am



With the official cooperation of AMI (the owner of the National Enquirer) with federal prosecutors, the potential campaign finance violations case against Donald Trump is looking stronger and stronger all the time. Stronger, in fact, than the John Edwards case.

There are many details that go into that conclusion, but let’s review two. Yesterday an agreement was made public between the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and AMI. The agreement contains this passage:

In or about August 2015, David Pecker, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMI, met with Michael Cohen, an attorney for a presidential candidate, and at least one other member of the campaign. At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because the Wall Street Journal reported it on November 9 (credit to Justin Miller for catching this):

As a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.

What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

Now, most of the details of that WSJ story have been corroborated by federal prosecutors in their agreement with AMI. The one key detail federal prosecutors did not yet say explicitly is who the “other member of the campaign” was. If the WSJ is correct, that member was Donald Trump.

Following the age-old wisdom of keeping your mouth shut when under the scrutiny of law enforcement, Trump took to Twitter this morning. He blames the lawyer:

The charges were indeed crimes, Trump’s whinging notwithstanding. And the above evidence (as well as the timing, as I have discussed before) shows it was done for the benefit of his campaign, rather to protect his marriage — which was John Edwards’s argument.

Now, Trump has a potential defense: I didn’t know it was illegal to secretly pay money to cover up a story about a mistress for the benefit of my campaign. His ignorance and stupidity would be a bonus here. What’s the problem with that defense? And that brings me to the second piece of evidence I want to mention. You know how they say “there’s a Trump tweet for everything”? Yeah.

Trump tweeted about the John Edwards case.

He knew making this payment was for the benefit of his campaign, and he knew it was illegal. He directed his lawyer to make the payment, and now his lawyer is going to prison for it.

Increasingly, it looks like Donald Trump belongs in prison as well.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

266 Responses to “Trump Campaign Finance Case Starting to Look Worse for Trump”

  1. And John McCain smiled.

    (Beat you to it, DCSCA.)

    nk (dbc370)

  2. How could I have possibly known there was anything dodgy about this perfectly normal private business transaction with Peggy Peterson that I handled through my lawyer?

    — /s/ David Dennison

    Beldar (fa637a)

  3. lol this is the best gestapo mueller can do?

    one thing for sure

    you can’t trust the dirty men and women of the sleazy FBI to enforce the laws equally cause they’re corrupt and perverse

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. It’s always so cute when the guy who’s supposedly in charge of executing the nation’s laws and presiding over its law enforcement structure pleads ignorance of the law.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  5. Trump could call Cohen a lawyer but, when he directed him to make those payoffs, Cohen wasn’t lawyering, he acting as Trump’s fixer. Not that Trump would understand the difference.

    Paul Montagu (0b79a9)

  6. lol this is the best gestapo mueller can do?

    The irony is that Mueller’s dad fought the Gestapo in WWII.

    Paul Montagu (0b79a9)

  7. Trump is referring to a principle that he lacked any criminal intent. This legal concept was established by FBI Chief James Comey and kept Hillary out of prison Another principle that Trump will rely on is that everyone has the right to lie about extra-marital affairs. This right to privacy was never written expressly into the Bill of Rights but it was established during the Bill Clinton era an implied right.

    AZ Bob (885937)

  8. By the way, the Texas Law Review Manual on Style, like most other modern authorities on style and usage, tells us that “pled” is anachronistic. One pleads guilty or not guilty; afterwards, one is recalled to have pleaded guilty or not guilty. If one recalls that he pled guilty, presumably one is very, very old and fusty.

    In no circumstances, however, is “he plead to two campaign charges” anything but ungrammatical gibberish. It is not a sign of stable genius to mangle the language.

    See also: hanged vs. hung.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  9. i bet mueller’s daddy was a cowardly corrupt poopface just like him

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. And the Dog Trainer continues to cackle as does every media group that pushes the left at the expense of the country.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  11. Beldar (fa637a) — 12/13/2018 @ 7:42 am

    “I’m very highly educated. I know words, I know the best words. But there’s no better word than stupid.”
    – Donald Trump

    Dave (1bb933)

  12. here’s a good overview of how sleazy the butt-wipe FBI is (shameful and degraded)

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  13. NOW, let’s look at the last part of Trump’s tweet:

    Those charges were just agreed to by [Cohen] in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook.

    “Temporarily”. If that’s not a veiled threat, I don’t know what is. Trump is still the chief law enforcement officer of the United State, the USA of SDNY works for him and can be replaced by him, and a future USA or other prosecutor in Trump’s DOJ can still bring criminal charges against Cohen’s family up until the statute of limitations expires.

    “I can still whack your family, you rat!”

    Also the same thing for the AMI guy unless his deal includes transactional immunity which I doubt.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. The former head of the FEC – Bradley Smith – doesn’t think there’s a case to be made here on campaign finance law violations. He’s been saying as much for nearly a year.

    Colonel Haiku (f00165)

  15. Give Trump credit, though, Beldar – he has definitely mastered the legal concept of arguing in the alternative:

    “I never had any affair, and even if I did, I never made any payment, and even if I made a payment, I didn’t know about it, and even if I knew about it, it was Michael Cohen’s money, and even if it wasn’t Michael Cohen’s money, it wasn’t related to the campaign, and even if it was related to the campaign, it wasn’t illegal, and even if it was illegal it was all Michael Cohen’s fault, and even if it isn’t Michael’s fault, this is all a RIGGED WITCHHUNT by the FAKE MEDIA to tarnish my unblemished reputation for always telling the truth. Which I always do, believe me.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  16. Trump is referring to a principle that he lacked any criminal intent.

    I think he was actually pleading ignorance, which is more plausible for him, and then blaming his “lawyer” for legal malpractice, even though Cohen was being a fixer instead of a lawyer. But unlike Hillary, Trump wasn’t messing around classified information, so not a good analogy.
    As Ms. Wheeler points out, Trump knowingly engaged in a conspiracy to commit fraud, not just against the FEC, but against the American people.

    Paul Montagu (0b79a9)

  17. By the way, the Texas Law Review Manual on Style, like most other modern authorities on style and usage, tells us that “pled” is anachronistic.

    I have pled guilty for the use of the term before. To me, it just sounds better than “pleaded”.

    Paul Montagu (0b79a9)

  18. Does it need to be pointed out that when Trump and Cohen were secretly paying off the porn stars while Trump was denying anything improper to the electoral public, Mueller was still a lawyer in private practice? Does it need pointing out that — whether it’s ultimately found to be a violation of campaign finance law or not — this was sleazy, dishonest, immoral, and shameful conduct, undertaken with indisputable knowledge of its shameful character (as proved conclusively by the efforts taken to deny and cover it up) that Trump tried to keep from the American public, not one single bit of which had anything (at that time) to do with Robert Mueller or the FBI?

    #TrumpIsTheSwamp

    Beldar (fa637a)

  19. #TrumpIsTheSwamp

    Compared to Trump, the swamp smells like a rose garden…

    Dave (1bb933)

  20. And let’s look at Michael Cohen, too. The really heavy charges against him were criminal tax evasion and bank fraud, for which he could have gotten up to thirty years. However, because he could dish dirt on Trump, he managed to make a deal for three years. So, in the end, he did manage to get something for himself out of his relationship with Trump, even though the influence-peddling consulting contracts did not last.😉

    nk (dbc370)

  21. yes shilling for apple, facebook, (is there a conflict there) receiving honoraria, from corrupt Mexican banks, kind of smaller fry than hsbc,

    narciso (d1f714)

  22. “He pled guilty.”
    “He pleaded to the charges.”

    It’s more a matter of rhetorical flow and euphony than anything else.

    nk (dbc370)

  23. And what about my paperboy throwing my paper into the bushes instead of on the front steps if I don’t slip him a $20 at Christmas time, narciso?

    nk (dbc370)

  24. Tip your butcher.

    mg (8cbc69)

  25. Tip your butcher.

    Jamal Khashoggi was unavailable for comment.

    Dave (1bb933)

  26. lol that’s cause he got killed at the embassy

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  27. “not one single bit of which had anything (at that time) to do with Robert Mueller or the FBI?”
    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/13/2018 @ 8:08 am

    “No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” — James Comey

    How many unknown crimes by prominent pols would we know about if we only unleashed an IC to find them? Never mind. Let’s pick and choose who is subject to that and who isn’t — and for how long. Kavanaugh — one whole week. Clinton — never. Yada, yada…. swamp, swamp….

    Munroe (fc8c86)

  28. 29. It looks like a distinct possibility to me, that not only is Trump not draining the swamp, but that he never intended to and is enjoying wallowing in it.

    Gryph (08c844)

  29. Also, no decent person wants to work for him, not for long anyway, so we’re not going to get any better a Deep State than what’s already there.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. dirty Chris Wray is extremely corrupt and he protects all the slimy men and women of the FBI doing crimes and planting evidence all up in it

    it’s really quite shameful

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  31. If we only had had an intelligent President who had appointed a good man to head the FBI after he fired Comey instead of this Wray loser.

    nk (dbc370)

  32. @1. Stiff smile; grim grin, nk; there are no patriots in Congress today. Our Captain’s gonna beat the rap.

    “Take the tow line- defective equipment, no more, no less.” – Captain Queeg [Humphrey Bogart] ‘The Caine Mutiny’ 1954

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  33. Seriously, Trump’s vilification of Cohen is about as vile a thing as he has done in this whole mess. He sucks.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. Mark Levin disagrees. In any case this isn’t about the law, this is about charging Trump with something, anything, in the hopes that something sticks. In the hopes they can get some leverage over him, get some kind of bargaining position.

    Ingot9455 (0cc587)

  35. True, DCSCA, if only on a technicality. A sitting President will not be indicted, and there are not enough votes in the Senate to convict him even if the House impeaches him. Even if he is voted out in 2020, the Democrat President will reciprocate the courtesy he extended to the Clintons — yell “Lock him up” during the campaign and then forego prosecution once in office (b!tching and moaning about a useless Attorney General optional).

    nk (dbc370)

  36. @34. Helsinki. ‘Nuff said.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. wray was a backstabbing weasel with comey, going back to 2004, he was just less a lizard than mike rogers, formerly of the fbi,

    narciso (d1f714)

  38. @34. There’s only one person in America today who can best him at his own game; if/when Winfrey announces a run next year- on her terms, with her financing and general popularity w/t masses- she’d win. Won’t be surprised it it’s ‘no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no… yes.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. Process Crimes!?!? Where’s Muh Russian Collusion?

    Colonel Haiku (f00165)

  40. No sexual molestation at Trump University
    Sexual molestation at the Winfrey School for Girls in S. Africa
    No newborn babies found dead in a bag at Trump University
    Newborn found dead in a bag at Winfrey School for Girls in S. Africa

    mg (8cbc69)

  41. The thing is, all this campaign finance stuff does is make me love President Trump even more.

    He’s like my number one favorite one, and I’m not just saying that cause of politics. I really love him as a person.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  42. no the grishenko hunt turns schwarma with Israel and the gulf states,

    narciso (d1f714)

  43. we’ll leave out the men who died in prison, because he was continuing bulger’s coverup,

    narciso (d1f714)

  44. A Boy And His Trump, by happyfeet. A heartwarming coming of age story in 21st Century America. Soon to be a major motion picture.

    nk (dbc370)

  45. yes yes Mr. nk

    you have to admit that all in all, President Trump is a top contender for the best accolades

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. @41. And so many South Africans vote in North Carolina, too!

    “So?” – Dick Cheney

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  47. Google Yahoo, Facebook, the whole panopticon is owned lock stock and barrel by the left, not just one chintzy tabloid,

    narciso (d1f714)

  48. mueller’s a deeply silly boy

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  49. @49. Yeah, you gotta do sumthin’ ’bout that free market capitalism thingy.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  50. that’s why they nuked scl Cambridge analytica from orbit, then they found some rubble, and said oops,

    narciso (d1f714)

  51. @50. A highly decorated jarhead, eh, Mr. Feet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. @ Beldar, #8:

    By the way, the Texas Law Review Manual on Style, like most other modern authorities on style and usage, tells us that “pled” is anachronistic. One pleads guilty or not guilty; afterwards, one is recalled to have pleaded guilty or not guilty. If one recalls that he pled guilty, presumably one is very, very old and fusty.

    Presumably the Texas Law Review Manual on Style (2068 edition) will say something like the following:

    With respect to recorded recollections, please use the following terminology: ‘read into evidence’ (present); ‘readed into evidence’ (past).

    Examples:
    “Your Honor, my client wishes to read into evidence his recollection of the contents of the letter.”
    “Allow me to refer to the recollection which Mr. Jones readed into evidence during the proceedings of January 12.”

    The proper past tense of the verb “to plead,” of course, is, has been, and evermore shall be “pled” — regardless of the opinions of the Texas Law Review Manual of Style, or any other so-called “modern” authorities on the English language.

    Now if you’ll excuse this commenter, old and fusty me has a hill on which to go die.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  53. as was oliver north, but we know how the press treated him, because he was doing the job that president Reagan tasked him to do,

    narciso (d1f714)

  54. “No sexual molestation at Trump University”

    There are some things Trump refuses to delegate

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  55. “as was oliver north, but we know how the press treated him, because he was doing the job that president Reagan tasked him to do,”

    Ah, the Nuremberg defense

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  56. @ myself, #54:

    I have just realized that I passed up a chance to use the technically correct, but extremely archaic, “old and fusty I.”

    And now I am ashamed.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  57. that was back when the cold war was hot. and the liberals were quite blind, disco is exhibit a, I don’t know which encarnation is the squid man, now,

    narciso (d1f714)

  58. — Bart! I heard you was hung!
    — You heard right!

    Let’s see how old and fusty you really are, Demosthenes. Is a cigarette “lit” or “lighted”? And the same thing for the verb: Is it “I lit a cigarette” or “I lighted a cigarette”?

    nk (dbc370)

  59. Compared to Trump, the swamp smells like a rose garden…

    Yep, ol’ Spanky was sent to Washington to shake things up, but what we got instead was a Con Don shake-down.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  60. If I understand the whole SDNY thrust of things correctly — if you are a presidential candidate, you are not allowed to pay off your mistress, even if you use your own money.

    When the Feds tried that with John Edwards, they didn’t get the verdict they wanted. Even with Trump, it might be the same result.

    If I were Trump, I’d worry a lot more about Maria Butina’s guilty plea, than the Stormy Daniels nonsense. The details there are frankly shocking. Seems that the superpatriots over at the NRA aren’t so patriotic. I mean, the things Butina’s boyfriend was doing sound like what most of us call treason. I don’t think Butina can directly implicate Trump in anything, but her plea illustrates a willingness to collude among the noisy right that is really depressing.

    I’m not sure Putin is smiling today, DCSCA, but I can understand some of his goofy grins over the past couple of years.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  61. Muh Russian Collusion?

    Colonel Haiku (f00165)

  62. Good link at #62, narc. Reminds me why I click on your stuff if I have time.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  63. “And now I am ashamed.”

    —- Demosthenes

    Shouldn’t that read, “And now, ashamed am I.” ?

    Colonel Haiku (f00165)

  64. #55 — but don’t weep for Ollie North, narc. He has become awfully rich from his notoriety.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  65. The “unregistered foreign agent” law relies on voluntary compliance with that law, and it is seldom enforced, as I understand it.

    If it were, lobbyists would be severely hamstrung and the Beltway Feeding Frenzy would be reduced to light lunching.

    Colonel Haiku (f00165)

  66. Narciso re #62, thank god it wasnt an SI in during a week in February, if one catches my drift.

    Though I am both pleasantly surprised and quite disappointed that an outfit like Barstool Sports or Brobible hasnt put out a ranked list of Larry Nassar’s victims.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  67. 48 and 41, maybe by 2020, depending by what type of South African youre talkin bout. In fact maybe the spectre of white South Africans having the run of house over here will give the CBC cover to support the Wall bill and the Cruz bill currently in the Senate.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  68. Let’s see how old and fusty you really are, Demosthenes.

    Challenge accepted.

    Is a cigarette “lit” or “lighted”?

    Based on the second question, I’m assuming you mean how I would refer to a cigarette which is currently burning in someone’s hand. My answer would be “lit.” I understand from several people, however, that to allow lit cigarettes in my home is archaic; I should really be allowing lighted cigarettes. Then I ask them whether, given the current concensus on second-hand smoke, they really want to encourage me to allow lighted cigarettes in my home.

    I lose more friends that way.

    And the same thing for the verb: Is it “I lit a cigarette” or “I lighted a cigarette”?

    My answer would, again, be “lit.” And I look down my nose at anyone who says otherwise.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  69. They were very sloppy then, this time they silenced general Flynn before he could defend himself.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  70. “Now, Trump has a potential defense: I didn’t know it was illegal to secretly pay money to cover up a story about a mistress for the benefit of my campaign.”

    Based on well-established legal precedent, it isn’t. And if it actually was and they’re just discovering it now, like King Josiah discovering The Book Of The Law after decades of Israeli iniquity, there are a whole lot of reporters, Democrat party flacks, and journalistic organizations that belong on the chopping block before you dare to bring that Logan Act weaksauce against a duly elected President.

    “The charges were indeed crimes, Trump’s whinging notwithstanding.”

    The charges were not crimes by any definition in common legal practice or common legal precedent. Michael Cohen was imprisoned on his actual crimes and given a light sentence in exchange for pretending that the campaign finance charges were actually crimes. It remains to be seen whether he’s actually lying about that

    “He knew making this payment was for the benefit of his campaign, and he knew it was illegal. He directed his lawyer to make the payment, and now his lawyer is going to prison for it.

    Increasingly, it looks like Donald Trump belongs in prison as well.”

    Says increasingly nervous man for the 100th time this year. But if anyone important actually buys it, remember that all you had to do to hand this power over to an unelected government commision was to break the tradition of attorney-client privilege and the independence of news companies! Such laissez-faire, very conservative!

    I can see why you left the Republican Party, when you want the federal government to be big and powerful enough to crush those annoying upstarts and hidebound civic traditions on a whim, even mouthing the small government pieties becomes too much!

    Nicol (e69291)

  71. Michigan state paid a lot of money to pat Fitzgerald for a year before the revelations.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  72. “If I were Trump, I’d worry a lot more about Maria Butina’s guilty plea, than the Stormy Daniels nonsense. The details there are frankly shocking. Seems that the superpatriots over at the NRA aren’t so patriotic. I mean, the things Butina’s boyfriend was doing sound like what most of us call treason. I don’t think Butina can directly implicate Trump in anything, but her plea illustrates a willingness to collude among the noisy right that is really depressing.”

    Cite the relevant facts like a man and not an uptalking concern-trolling Twitter gossip or hit the bricks.

    Nicol (c291c2)

  73. They took notes on the Penn State affair which had the added benefit of taking out a cost-conscious but sport-loving sitting R governor and gave the nation a dark horse presidential candidate if society could get over the stigma of male pattern baldness.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  74. There was never much attention to what happened in Zimbabwe by either Reagan or Thatcher although the iron lady was particularly weak there.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  75. “Lighted” was the usage in popular literature as far back as the 1920s and into the ’30s and ’40s that I can prove. You are a modern man, Demosthenes.

    nk (dbc370)

  76. #76

    I’ll direct you here:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5626092-US-v-Butina-Plea-Agreement-and-SOF-EXECUTED.html

    Check on the statement of facts beginning on page 13. Basically, per Ms. Butina, Butina’s boyfriend, a GOP operative, materially assisted Butina with her proposal to Russian officials on how she could serve their interests and influence the US election. And that’s about the blandest way I can express that.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  77. @ the Colonel, #67:

    I reserve the right to be selective with my archaisms.

    @ nk, #80:

    Go back a bit further, my friend. “Lit” is the older form.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/12/16/the-cultural-genome-google-books-reveals-traces-of-fame-censorship-and-changing-languages/#.XBKuatJKjMp

    Sometimes everything old is new again.

    Demosthenes (1e7dbc)

  78. lol that’s cause he got killed at the embassy

    it’s a multi-purpose, cutting-edge facility

    Dave (1bb933)

  79. If I understand the whole SDNY thrust of things correctly — if you are a presidential candidate, you are not allowed to pay off your mistress, even if you use your own money.

    No, that’s exactly wrong.

    If he’d used his own money, and reported it, it would have been legal.

    But he didn’t and he didn’t, so it wasn’t.

    Dave (1bb933)

  80. The only difficulty the prosecutors will have is convincing people it’s actually a crime to use non-campaign funds for non-campaign activities.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  81. Let me get this straight. If I’m running for office and my buddy buys me breakfast, he;’s made an illegal campaign contribution? If this is true, we need to repeal the lot of these laws and disembowel anyone who objects.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  82. This is so stupid that only lawyers (and/or Trump-haters) can stomach it. Trump should just nuke the entire election contribution tomfoolery and grant a blanket pardon to all who are affected by this tommyrot.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  83. If he’d used his own money, and reported it, it would have been legal.

    HE has to REPORT what he does with his own money? What fracking country are we living in?

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  84. Kevin,

    the media is allowed to manipulate search finds to bring up the topics they want and they’re allowed to push their agenda on the public and lie for their beliefs as well as bury information that would be damaging to their cause, but no, you aren’t allowed to use your money freely.

    That about sums it up.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  85. Let me get this straight. If I’m running for office and my buddy buys me breakfast, he;’s made an illegal campaign contribution?

    No.

    HE has to REPORT what he does with his own money? What fracking country are we living in?

    Try to stay calm. Money spent for the purpose of influencing an election has to be reported.

    There are a variety of exceptions, but none covering hush-money to porn actresses. Sorry.

    Dave (1bb933)

  86. @ Munroe (#28), who quoted selectively from my comment at #+18 (“not one single bit of which had anything (at that time) to do with Robert Mueller or the FBI”), just before quoting something that James Comey (not Robert Mueller) said while at the FBI:

    Do you contend that Hillary Clinton’s emails, or the FBI/DoJ’s investigation into that, in some way compelled, or caused, or had anything at all to do with Trump’s payoffs to the porn star and to the Playboy bunny?

    Or are you just indulging in any non sequitur that occurs to you out of spasmodic, mindless Trumpism? I conclude that it’s the latter, because what you quoted from me has nothing at all to do with what you quoted next.

    ****

    To fans of “pled”: I don’t normally quibble with those who continue to use “plead” instead of “pleaded.” I pick and choose my usage squabbles, and normally withhold my exasperation for those who use “disinterested” to mean “uninterested,” a barbaric corruption of the language that most dictionaries have given up upon trying to remedy. (“Disinterested” means “fair”; if you’re accused of a crime, you want a judge who listens with interest to both sides, rather than one who’s uninterested, but you also want a judge who’s disinterested, rather than having a stake or bias in the proceedings.)

    I will, however, mock relentlessly the low-wattage numbskulls who write “plead” when they mean to say either “pled” or “pleaded.” Trump also can’t keep straight the difference between civil and criminal, or the difference between statutes and judicial opinions; he’s exactly stupid enough to hire a lawyer like Cohen, but still somehow smart enough to win rabid fans, including some who comment here in reflexive support of him, even when the very best they can manage is some confused whataboutism.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  87. So persons who aren’t authorized to speak are putting their own spin, and we know their hands haven’t been clean for a long time.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  88. “If he’d used his own money, and reported it, it would have been legal.”

    That’s too vague a statement to be judged either true or false. There are personal funds and there are campaign funds. Personal funds are for “personal” expenses that the person would pay for, be he a candidate for office or not. Campaign funds are solely for expenses that would not have been incurred, but for being a candidate. Campaign expenditures must be reported. Personal ones do not.
    See here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/michael-cohen-sentencing-campaign-finance-law/
    Since Trump’s campaign was primarily funded by Trump himself, you might consider revising your comment regarding “his own money” to clarify your meaning?

    ColoComment (943515)

  89. I pick and choose my usage squabbles, and normally withhold my exasperation for those who use “disinterested” to mean “uninterested,” a barbaric corruption of the language that most dictionaries have given up upon trying to remedy.

    Don’t get me started on “begs the question”…

    Dave (1bb933)

  90. when do the congress get prosecuted for paying off sexual harassment claims with tax payer’s money? by the way have you noticed since real wide spread vote fraud has been found in north carolina their has been no more threads on voter fraud ???

    lany (4d9b8d)

  91. Cite the relevant facts like a man and not an uptalking concern-trolling Twitter gossip or hit the bricks.

    “Nicol”:

    The brick-hitting here is going to be done by you, thanks to your defiance of the rules against personal attacks. The length of your mandatory commenting vacation is one week minimum — longer if I forget to take you out of moderation.

    Patterico (8cb7cc)

  92. @ Kevin M: SCOTUS precedent on constitutional limitations to campaign finance restrictions is badly confused, and has been for decades, as has been the FEC’s interpretation of the laws Congress has passed toward those ends. But in general, if there is a single guiding principle, it is that disclosure requirements are indeed constitutional, even when absolute dollar-denominated caps may not be.

    Trump probably had a constitutional right under the First Amendment, as part of his right to speak and to petition government, to spend as much of his money as he wanted in trying to get elected. He does not have a constitutional right to do that in secret, and campaign finance laws and regulations which require reporting are generally constitutional.

    Whether they can be applied fairly and rationally and evenhandedly is a different and much harder question. But there can be no doubt that Trump was willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to suppress someone else’s speech about matters that he considered embarrassing, and that were certainly relevant to the question of his character and fitness for office. That’s why he used a shady, incompetent “fixer” of a lawyer like Cohen as his bagman rather than one of his better-pedigreed lawyers, and that’s why his lawyer used pseudonyms instead of real names, and special purpose shell companies and dummied-up reimbursement/payoff mechanisms.

    I do not share any of your apparent outrage that the law could require Trump to account to the voting public for what he’s done with his own money in an attempt to get elected. Why do you think he should be able to cover all this up? Do you think it would be a good thing if he could, free from any legal jeopardy?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  93. I do not share any of your apparent outrage that the law could require Trump to account to the voting public for what he’s done with his own money in an attempt to get elected. Why do you think he should be able to cover all this up? Do you think it would be a good thing if he could, free from any legal jeopardy?

    Agree. This seems like an odd thing to get exercised about.

    Patterico (8cb7cc)

  94. That’s too vague a statement to be judged either true or false.

    Nothing vague about it.

    A candidate is permitted to donate personal funds to their own campaign without limit, but these donations must be reported.

    Likewise, all expenditures made to influence the election must be reported.

    What actually happened with Sex Worker #2 (Daniels) was that Michael Cohen made an illegal loan to the campaign, which was later illegally repaid by the Trump Organization (not Donald Trump) and with the express intention of disguising what the payments were for. And none of this (obviously) was reported as it needed to be to comply with the law, since that would have alerted both the public and Sex Worker #1 (Knavs).

    With Sex Worker #3 (McDougal), a similar pattern of illegal loans by third parties and subterfuge was used.

    Dave (1bb933)

  95. Dave (1bb933) — 12/13/2018 @ 12:08 pm

    What actually happened with Sex Worker #2 (Daniels) was that Michael Cohen made an illegal loan to the campaign, which was later illegally repaid by the Trump Organization (not Donald Trump)

    This is really bad accounting, as it was a personal expense on the part of Donald Trump. But if the Trump Organzation is an alter ego for Donald Trump then it is the same as Donald Trump reimbursing him.

    You can on;y say it wss a loan to the campaign because the candidate knew about it.

    and with the express intention of disguising what the payments were for.

    Unlike the way the Hillary Clinton campaign disguised the payments for research into Donald Trump. And so the lesson is, if someone wants to run for president they must be really really professional? And sure hire lawyers who worked for the Clintons?

    And there’s another thing. If everything can be a campaign contribution, there’s no end to this.

    They’re going after Netanyahu in Israel because supposedly he did something favorable for acomany and the company gave him favorable press converage,.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  96. And none of this (obviously) was reported as it needed to be to comply with the law, since that would have alerted both the public and Sex Worker #1 (Knavs).

    It would have alerted nobody before the election, since it didn’t have to be reported till later, and would have alerted nobody to anything besideds a mystery if they’d used the right legal formalities.

    With Sex Worker #3 (McDougal), a similar pattern of illegal loans by third parties and subterfuge was used.

    She’s a sex worker?? This was an affair. Now it could be argued she didn’t want to be silenced so she had to be tricked by the National Enquirer. Donald trump’s purpose ion her case had nothing to do with the election because Cohen is on tape telling trump he should reimburse the National Enquirer’s parent company because David Pecker might get by a truck and the NAtional Enquirer publish all it had bottled up about Donald Trump.

    Now, the all important question:

    When is Donald Trump concerned that David Pecker might get hit by a truck?

    Before the election or after the election?

    A. Obviously, after the election!

    Donald Trump is thinking long term.

    Trump wants to pay personally and Cohen tells him, no, no, no, no, no.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/24/the-trump-michael-cohen-tape-transcript-annotated/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.aee819c9f4d9

    COHEN: All the stuff. Because — here, you never know where that company — you never know what he’s —

    TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.

    COHEN: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be —

    TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?

    COHEN: Well, I’ll have to pay him something.

    TRUMP: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash …

    COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.

    TRUMP: … check.

    (Michael Cohen, or rather Lanny Davis, probably cut off what he released from the tape at this point.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  97. My whole objection to this questionable exercise of alleged campaign finance violations is two fold -if John Edwards can’t be convicted of conspiracy to use loans from a major donor to hide his affair with his mistress in order to keep his campaign viable, how can Democrats and NeverTrumpers use Trump’s alleged violations as proof of impeachable conduct? And second, at what point does paying off a mistress with personal or company funds (Trump Org wasn’t publicly owned if I’m not mistaken) become a criminal violation without straying into unconstitutional excess? Trump could probably argue that his motivation to pay hush money to Daniels and the other woman was to avoid embarrassment that could cause problems in his marriage or his public image in general.

    CygnusAnalogMan (9c66ec)

  98. Now, Trump has a potential defense: I didn’t know it was illegal to secretly pay money to cover up a story about a mistress for the benefit of my campaign

    It wsasn’t illegal to pay money to cover up a story about a mistress. It wasn’t even illegal to do it secretly. The only possible problem is not dotting all the i’s and t’s.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  99. Concerning the proposition that a sitting President cannot be indicted, it seems to me there is less support for it in the Constitution than the purported right to an abortion. Which is to say, none.

    The impeachment clause of Article II says, in its entirety:

    The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

    It is impossible that this clause confers immunity from prosecution on the President while in office, unless it does the same for “all civil officers of the United States”.

    Separation of powers arguments seem entirely specious as well. The Congress and the Courts are all subject to the law; there is no exception for the Executive branch. In cases where the Constitution wants to grant legal immunity to certain institutional actors, it does so explicitly (e.g. Article I, Section 6 for members of Congress in the course of their duties).

    No constitutional crisis would ensue. A president, like any other civil officer, who was convicted in a court of law and sentenced to imprisonment, would perforce be unable to discharge their duties and could then be removed by impeachment or disability under Amendment 25. Or, the Vice President could act as President until the President’s sentence or term (whichever comes first) ends.

    The suggestion that the President should be above the law is at odds with every principle of the founding, and the Constitution.

    Dave (1bb933)

  100. But if the Trump Organzation is an alter ego for Donald Trump then it is the same as Donald Trump reimbursing him.

    Not in the eyes of the law. Corporations (and labor unions) are forbidden from making donations to candidates for office.

    Dave (1bb933)

  101. everybody knows you can’t let the corrupt dirty Rosenstein DOJ and their yappy little FBI dogs do a coup on the president

    even the berobed constitution-defiling trash on the supreme court understand this

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  102. Farmers are happy with
    china resuming soybean purchasing.

    mg (8cbc69)

  103. everybody’s happy cause we have freedom and democracy and prosperticity

    this is why it’s so good!

    and we owe it all to President Trump for breaking us out of obama’s stinky stagnancy!

    So raise your glass to President Trump raise your glass to America

    and take a pause just for to enjoy this moment

    this is a really special time

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  104. well take the pentagon papers case, they proscribed diplomatic military or national security considerations, the times the post the journalwas fine with Assange leaking that when it came to sources methods personnel, et al, it was only when they focused on one particular politicians dirty laundry, it was danger will robinson,

    narciso (d1f714)

  105. everybody knows you can’t let the corrupt dirty Rosenstein DOJ and their yappy little FBI dogs do a coup on the president

    even the berobed constitution-defiling trash on the supreme court understand this

    Hmm, this is the 5th time you’ve pasted this in the last few days. Maybe you should get some new ones, hasn’t Unit 26165 given you the new sheets? Plus, capitalization and English grammar would help a bit.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (53dc67)

  106. “Do you contend that Hillary Clinton’s emails, or the FBI/DoJ’s investigation into that, in some way compelled, or caused, or had anything at all to do with Trump’s payoffs to the porn star and to the Playboy bunny?”
    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/13/2018 @ 11:51 am

    Err, no. Therefore, what?

    Mueller is as relevant to any legal jeopardy Trump may find himself in, as Comey was relevant to Hillary’s legal jeopardy, or lack thereof, and as Joseph Bottini was relevant to the legal jeopardy of Ted Stevens. If what Politician X actually did was the sole determinant of legal jeopardy, Trump and Stevens would have plenty of company. But, oddly, they don’t. Do you ever wonder or care why?

    Munroe (cfe541)

  107. Brenda murray, Bottini had a spate of guilt, you can substitute Ronnie earle and john Chisholm, the last helped poison the well against walker,

    narciso (d1f714)

  108. What’s the answer to this?:

    “Michael Cohen Pled Guilty to Something That Is Not a Crime”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/michael-cohen-sentencing-campaign-finance-law/

    He cites convincing authority that the statute is narrower than what is being asserted here.

    (I cannot reproduce the whole argument, but basically a campaign “expenditure” has to be for soemthing directly promoting a campaign, like an advertisement that says “Vote for Smith,” not merely something that helps the candidate. See particularly his example of settling pending baseless lawsuits.)

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  109. @64. Don’t kid yourself, Appalled; the PutiCat’s been sportin’ a Cheshire-Cat-grin since November 8, 2016.

    “How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?…” – Rodgers & Hammerstein, ‘The Sound Of Music’ 1959

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  110. the dirty men and women of the corrupt and sleazy fbi make up different laws depending on if they’re trying to nail a republican or let a democrat off the hook

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  111. ask prigozhin, mattis put his crack mercs in the borscht, we did get a little recognition, though, you know how hard it is to stand out in a city of 300 oligarchs treasury put the hurt on deripaska and a host of other oligarchs,

    narciso (d1f714)

  112. happyfeet (28a91b) — 12/13/2018 @ 1:39 pm

    That’s some old fashioned, pure propaganda isn’t it?

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  113. Weirdly nearly the exact same phraseology is used on many, many, subreddits, 4chan, 8chan, breitbart, it’s almost like someone is coordinating thousands of posts across the internet to try to get meme’s started. Hmm, who would do that? And it’s weird how it’s obviously done by a non-American English speaker.

    the important thing is to not let the sleazy CNN Jake Tapper fake news propaganda sluts and the corrupt gestapo FBI do a coup on President Trump!

    vigilance shall be our watchword yes yes

    And..

    President Trump does the best conservative solutions. This is why the dirty fbi should stop trying to turn america into nazi germany by doing a coup on the president.

    And…

    even putting aside the gestapo FBI working to do a coup on America the intensity of the corruptions permeating all levels and branches of government is alarming and extreme and since the DOJ’s the most corrupt institution of them all there’s not nearly enough being done to rectify this

    And…

    why would you need a sleazy piece of trash like bobby mueller to do your job for you? it makes no sense unless what you’re trying to do is to do a coup all up in it and subvert american foreign policy for that you turn to an unethical lowlife like bobby mueller

    And…

    nobody thought Mr. Trump would win – he surpassed everyone’s expectations and now herr mueller and the gestapo fbi want to do a coup on him

    And…

    Attorney General rod rosytwat and the dirty fbi mueller/comey criminal cartel are colluding together for to do a coup on America meanwhile harvardtrash ted and his harvardtrash uggle-bunny better get busy on the fundraising huh

    And…

    how can we afford to let a dirty corrupt military and a fascist FBI do a coup all up in it

    The best one though.

    the australians tried to do a coup on america to do hillary all up in it they’re dirty nasty unamerican people and I abjure them, these australians

    Ha, that one was funny, Australians “doing the coup”

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (abc493)

  114. If only Ike had been impeached for perforating public property with his golf shoes as he tore off those ‘do not remove under penalty of law’ tags from Oval Office sofa cushions…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  115. he’s a performance Pikachu, his act is odd, but our host doesn’t seem to mind, aussies are good people, every once in a while, they pick a fool like turnbull, a believer in skydragons and other fanciful things, of course his man, downer, is another one of these lures they put up for this snipe hunt

    narciso (d1f714)

  116. @105. Well, he does like to throw people under the bus;[=ba-thumpa= ‘ouch’ cries Cohen, etc.,] wait and see what happens when he actually does shoot some one on Fifth Avenue… it’s only a matter of time. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  117. @ CygnusAnalogMan, who asked in part (#103):

    [I]f John Edwards can’t be convicted of conspiracy to use loans from a major donor to hide his affair with his mistress in order to keep his campaign viable, how can Democrats and NeverTrumpers use Trump’s alleged violations as proof of impeachable conduct?

    But he could have been convicted. Edwards was acquitted by the jury, but before the charges against him got to that verdict at the end of a trial, the government’s legal theory against him had survived his lawyers’ pre-verdict motions to dismiss. Recall that just as Trump and his supporters now are insisting that the campaign finance law couldn’t be used to punish what he had done, Edwards and his supporters made the same arguments — and in the court where it mattered, which is not the court of public opinion on Fox or CNN, but rather the U.S. District Court, the judge disagreed with them and agreed with prosecutors’ legal arguments.

    In other words, if anything, the John Edwards example stands for the proposition that the law can support a guilty verdict and conviction for unreported hush money paid for campaign purposes.

    That the particular jury which judged Edwards’ guilt or innocence under the law and instructions given them by that judge doesn’t mean that every other jury must reach the same conclusion. It doesn’t mean that Edwards was innocent, either. It just means that that particular jury found some failure of proof as to at least one element each crime charged and submitted to them for consideration.

    It can thus be fairly said that the failure of the Edwards prosecutors to secure a conviction is a meaningful data point tending to demonstrate how hard it is to persuade jurors to convict. But the fact that the charges against him went all the way to verdict — that he lost his pretrial motions to dismiss and end-of-evidence motion for directed verdict, which were based in part on arguments that the campaign finance laws could not, as a matter of law, fit the facts alleged by Edwards’ prosecutors — actually stands as a district court precedent (in other words, one federal judge’s opinion, as yet untested by an appellate court) that schemes of the sort with which he was charged may in fact make out violations of the law, when and if every element thereof was proven to a jury’s satisfaction beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  118. “No constitutional crisis would ensue. A president, like any other civil officer, who was convicted in a court of law and sentenced to imprisonment, would perforce be unable to discharge their duties and could then be removed by impeachment or disability under Amendment 25. Or, the Vice President could act as President until the President’s sentence or term (whichever comes first) ends.”

    Yep, no constitutional crisis at all, just the cog wheels of justice spinning predictably and totally without any human direction, no one’s going to be offended or point at any agendas of the individual agents, this is all a closed system with easily predicted outcomes based on FACTS, not feelings.

    “The suggestion that the President should be above the law is at odds with every principle of the founding, and the Constitution.”

    What if we don’t actually trust the people interpreting and carrying out the law to be acting in anything other than their own personal or foreign interests, though?

    Jeklik (fd7f7d)

  119. @109. Yes, let’s ‘drink, a drink, a drink to Lily the Pink,’ Mr. Feet-

    “Old Ebenezer thought he was Julius Caesar
    And so they put him in a home
    Where the gave him medicinal compound
    And now he’s emperor of Rome”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  120. so who would be a source at that apocryphal meeting, well that would be cohen, which runs counter to his other statements, he’s going to jail for, notice they don’t say according to records,

    narciso (d1f714)

  121. #116 What’s the answer to this?:

    “Michael Cohen Pled Guilty to Something That Is Not a Crime”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/michael-cohen-sentencing-campaign-finance-law/

    He cites convincing authority that the statute is narrower than what is being asserted here.

    (I cannot reproduce the whole argument, but basically a campaign “expenditure” has to be for soemthing directly promoting a campaign, like an advertisement that says “Vote for Smith,” not merely something that helps the candidate. See particularly his example of settling pending baseless lawsuits.)

    Bored Lawyer (998177) — 12/13/2018 @ 3:04 pm

    I posted that link in the other threads…

    Basically, if it could be argued that such payments would be made even if he wasn’t running for office, then it couldn’t be construed as a “campaign expenditure”.

    Can any of you convince me that he wouldn’t have done this as private citizen Trump?

    whembly (d40ad5)

  122. I slightly misspoke in #125, but my mistake actually further illustrates the point I was trying to make: Edwards was actually acquitted on one count, and the jury hung on five others. Prosecutors could have chosen to re-try him on those five, but decided not to — not because the law won’t support such a prosecution, but because, one presumes, they didn’t think they could do any better with the evidence they had if it was presented to a second jury.

    Note well: People like Trump and Hillary and John Edwards and O.J. Simpson absolutely rely on the real-world difficulty of empaneling a fair and unbiased jury who will hold them to the standards of ordinary mortals. They think they’re above the law because there are so many examples of them getting away with breaking the law, not because the law doesn’t actually cover their misconduct.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  123. happyfeet is a very American English speaker.

    The non-American English speaker parroting neo-Nazi talking points is Mr. VPN a/k/a Nicol a/k/a Izzet a/k/a a new moniker every week that I can’t be bothered to remember a/k/a original moniker Christoph.

    nk (dbc370)

  124. But he could have been convicted. Edwards was acquitted by the jury, but before the charges against him got to that verdict at the end of a trial, the government’s legal theory against him had survived his lawyers’ pre-verdict motions to dismiss.

    “Look, what the law means is all ultimately up to the judge anyway!”

    In other words, if anything, the John Edwards example stands for the proposition that the law can support a guilty verdict and conviction for unreported hush money paid for campaign purposes.

    That the particular jury which judged Edwards’ guilt or innocence under the law and instructions given them by that judge doesn’t mean that every other jury must reach the same conclusion.

    “Look it might not be ‘law’ on the commonly understood level of ‘thou shalt not murder’ but if we keep pushing the same line in the same disapproving voice in enough friendly media with enough friendly judges we might actually force a precedent out of it, or at least a conviction on someone we don’t like! Eh? Eh?”

    But the fact that the charges against him went all the way to verdict — that he lost his pretrial motions to dismiss and end-of-evidence motion for directed verdict, which were based in part on arguments that the campaign finance laws could not, as a matter of law, fit the facts alleged by Edwards’ prosecutors — actually stands as a district court precedent

    Just like rolling over and letting Amazon take over your city government and local legal community is “municipal government best practices!”

    Look, I get it. You don’t actually have the truth or respectable legal precedent on your side, but you have a lot of angry billionaires and aggrieved consultants sitting on a lot of disposable income from various government and business monopolies who want results RIGHT NOW or they stop the checks. But this line isn’t going to fly!

    Jeklik (04b1c8)

  125. And having been put in moderation as Nicol, came back right away as Jeklik.

    nk (dbc370)

  126. @ whembly, who asked (#129): The alleged sex between Stormy and Trump was in 2006. Rumors of it appeared in the press in 2011. But the payoff wasn’t made and the NDA wasn’t signed until October 2016.

    I don’t know if that timing is meaningful to you, but it is to me. Do you think it was a coincidence that private citizen Trump didn’t pay off the porn star year after year after year, but that presidential candidate Trump did, in the month just before the election?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  127. The ‘tell,’ nk, is whether folks like Mr. Feet prefer Russian dressing on burgers or salads. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  128. @ Jeklik: You quoted me in your #133, but I don’t have the foggiest clue why, or what you’re trying to say. If you have a question to ask me, or an argument to make about something I’ve written, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and a courteous response, provided that I understand you. So far, I don’t.

    FWIW, though, one thing you wrote, and put in quotes, certainly did not come from me, and I don’t agree with it:

    “Look, what the law means is all ultimately up to the judge anyway!”

    If you think that’s a correct paraphrase of anything I’ve ever written or said anywhere, you’re very wrong. If instead you’re not attributing that supposed quote to me, but to some other source, or if you’re using quote marks to indicate that you’re making something up for rhetorical purposes, I’d appreciate that clarification. Cheers.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  129. And is the paragraph, also in quotes, which ends “Eh? Eh?”, also supposed to be a quote from me, or a paraphrase of something I wrote? I call bullsh!t.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  130. “Note well: People like Trump and Hillary and John Edwards and O.J. Simpson absolutely rely on the real-world difficulty of empaneling a fair and unbiased jury who will hold them to the standards of ordinary mortals. They think they’re above the law because there are so many examples of them getting away with breaking the law, not because the law doesn’t actually cover their misconduct.”

    A very poor comparison. Hillary and O.J. could afford to, and were or had lawyers who were experts in, shopping for a sympathetic venue, urban blacks in O.J.’s case, fellow Washingtonians in Hillary’s case. John Edwards had no comparable notoriety or strong bias in audience favor, and the jury still failed to convict. Pretending that the issue is exactly the same is quite frankly a slander on the John Edwards jurors, or indeed any private citizen that has to be shanghaied into deliberating on essentially nebulous issues with strong political pushes behind the results.

    Jeklik (884f69)

  131. “Ha, that one was funny, Australians ‘doing the coup’ ”

    Actually and in all fairness, in the original French phrasing, it’s “faire un coup d’État” — which might be fairly translated as “to do [or make] a blow/strike/hit against the State.”

    ColoComment (943515)

  132. So Clinton and the DNC fund Fusion GPS and their phony piss report, FISA submissions are based on lies, Rosenstein writes the letter that recommends the firing of James Comey, which results in the appointment of a special counsel. Gee, you can almost see a pattern here.

    These Beltway Deep Staters know that a good offense is the best defense. And that’s the way this shameful chapter in America’s history is playing out.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  133. @ whembly, who asked (#129): The alleged sex between Stormy and Trump was in 2006. Rumors of it appeared in the press in 2011. But the payoff wasn’t made and the NDA wasn’t signed until October 2016.

    I don’t know if that timing is meaningful to you, but it is to me. Do you think it was a coincidence that private citizen Trump didn’t pay off the porn star year after year after year, but that presidential candidate Trump did, in the month just before the election?

    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/13/2018 @ 3:47 pm

    I don’t think the timing matters at all with respect to the law.

    Under the “irrespective test”:
    https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/making-disbursements/personal-use/

    Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder.

    If it could be argued, that Trump could have done these NDAs “irrespective” of running for office…then according to this test, it’s not a campaign expenditure.

    I think he *did* do that because he was running for office. But since it’s not something that could only EVER be done when running for office (ie, paying for internal polling or campaign advertising), it doesn’t count as a campaign expenditure as defined by the FEC’s irrespective test.

    Put it another way: we could reasonably agree that Trump could’ve facilitated NDA to McDougal/Daniels at any time, because he’s a wealth celebrity, married, have young kid, etc…

    That’s why internal polling expenditures would fall within FEC’s campaign expenditures, as you’d never do that if you’re not running for office.

    Am I being too pedantic here?

    whembly (d40ad5)

  134. “Note well: People like Trump and Hillary and John Edwards and O.J. Simpson absolutely rely on the real-world difficulty of empaneling a fair and unbiased jury who will hold them to the standards of ordinary mortals. They think they’re above the law because there are so many examples of them getting away with breaking the law, not because the law doesn’t actually cover their misconduct.”
    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/13/2018 @ 3:40 pm

    Ted Stevens could not be reached for comment.

    Munroe (cc590d)

  135. Trump may be half a buffoon, prone to gaffes, phony bravado, and his own worst enemy but that should not excuse what amounts to a soft coup being undertaken by the most excremental, federal law enforcement sh*theels that have ever disgraced their organizations. You want criminal, this is criminal.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  136. So Comey’s is talking about something (not following protocol) he “wouldn’t have gotten away with in a more organized administration” vis-a-vis Flynn… sounds like quite the upstanding lawman, doesn’t he.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  137. @ Jeklik (#140): There was no “forum shopping” in the prosecution of Hillary Clinton because she was never prosecuted. There was no “forum shopping” in the prosecution of John Edwards because he was tried in his home state of North Carolina (from which he’d been elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998), as he had a right to be under the Sixth Amendment; more fundamentally, other than insisting that prosecutors not violate their Sixth Amendment rights, criminal defendants otherwise don’t get to “forum shop,” since it’s the prosecutors who get to choose when there’s more than one permissible forum.

    So what you wrote makes zero sense. It certainly has nothing to do with what I wrote.

    I don’t think we’re having a very productive conversation. I’ll make you an offer: Stop trying to re-write my arguments so that you can argue with a straw man of your own construction (who’s considerably easier to argue with than I am, conveniently enough). Ignore me. And I’ll ignore you too. That way neither of us have to worry about whether we’re lying about the other when imputing arguments and beliefs to the other. And if you do have to make things up out of your imagination, please stop putting quote marks around what you’ve made up, just after quoting something that I’ve written, because you’re giving the impression that you’re actually quoting me in those made-up statements.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  138. (There was a forum mistake made, in the opinion of most knowledgeable trial lawyers, in the O.J. case, but it wasn’t a case of brilliant forum shopping by O.J.’s lawyers. They had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was a wholly unforced error by the prosecution team, which decided out of anticipatory political correctness to charge O.J. in downtown Los Angeles, when the law offered them a much more favorable forum (based on likely jury pool) where the crime was committed. So you’re wrong about O.J. too, dude, just for what that’s worth.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  139. Jeklik is the troll whom Patterico put into moderation under the moniker Nicol just a little earlier.

    nk (dbc370)

  140. Move along, nothing to see here…

    “The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released a report on its investigation into the recovery of text messages from FBI mobile devices that were once operated by disgraced former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

    The report reveals disturbing details about the inner workings and lack of transparency in the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election for the past 575 days and has failed to publicize any evidence of Trump-Russia “collusion.”

    The OIG report found that all of the texts off of Strzok’s and Page’s mobile phones that they had received while they were working for the special counsel’s office (SCO) were deleted.”

    https://www.conservativereview.com/news/obstruction-mueller-probe-wiped-strzok-phone-before-giving-it-to-investigators/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  141. Let’s hear more re: the concern about corruption, collusion, and obstruction of justice.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  142. Tonight there’s a bunch of reports about the money raised for the inauguration, $101M. That always struck me as a ridiculous number, especially when you look at the lack of actual events that happened.

    I suspect that with all of the Trump organization cronies involved that 10’s of millions went walkabout, that was just too much money for all the folks that work for the small business that Trump org is to not try to skim a bit, it’s an NYC real estate kind of thing to do.

    I doubt that Trump himself had much to do with it, but if he signed all the docs, it’s another paper felony from the campaign. The whole campaign was just a scam to make money, unfortunately for everyone, including Trump, he actually won.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (243bfa)

  143. Let’s see potential felonies and malfeasance perpetrated by government officials investigated and prosecuted.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  144. @148. Eagle Scout Tillerson was a ‘big tent’ backer.

    Times change.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  145. That’s just crazy talk coronello, they have the best intentions.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  146. “Let’s see potential felonies and malfeasance perpetrated by government officials investigated and prosecuted.”
    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 12/13/2018 @ 5:06 pm

    Bahahaha. That’ll be the day.

    As bad as the Stevens case was, none of those corrupt prosecutors were ever indicted, and even their minor suspensions were vacated.

    It’s called “professional courtesy”.

    Munroe (6e411c)

  147. If they don’t want us to know, like the fact that the Orlando shooter’s father was an asset for 15 years we don’t need to know.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  148. I just read a glowing review of The Mule, the new Eastwood flick, and in both the sub-headline and second paragraph it goes out of its way to assure moviegoers it is safe for liberals to experience:

    Far from the MAGA fantasy you might have feared…..

    …….is a far cry from the red state fantasy that some people feared from a MAGA-era vehicle by an auteur who’s publicly endorsed the Republican Party in the somewhat recent past…”

    Lol

    harkin (1161c2)

  149. 137: I think my paraphrase is, in fact, a fair paraphrase, despite your continued long and technical denials.

    “I don’t think we’re having a very productive conversation.”

    We’re not really having a conversation (people who consider themselves experts and their audience simple recipients of their expert knowledge almost never do.) so much as you’re holding forth a learned monologue with the expectation that most people will just nod their head and accept it and I’m having a translation when it sounds like you’re trying to pull a fast one from the bench. Not all judicial activists are as open and honest about their intentions as, say, a Tushnet.

    I think my interpretation holds up, though. And a ‘forum’ really doesn’t have to be a jury, it can be any authority or group of authorities likely to be sympathetic to you, like your own DOJ employees. Hillary did love her ‘controlling legal authority’ excuses.

    Finally, your clarification on which side exactly screwed up the demographic forum shopping in the O.J. case hasn’t really altered my main point at all: that an appeal to the ‘district court precedent’ is laughable, reaching, risible, reprehensible, and inane all at once, precisely because it leaves out how many on-their-face terrible judgments come out of them.

    Jeklik (4f675d)

  150. @146. Soft coo…

    ‘Cry Me A River’ – Julie London, 1955

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  151. The only Iraq war film that made money, they really resent that, they’d rather pass muster on a heist film of a drug dealer in the triple frontier, an idea they borrowed from chuck hogan

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  152. just scroll up

    look at how many comments here that are either disrespectful of President Trump or borderline disrespectful of President Trump

    i know people don’t do it on purpose I think they just don’t realize how they come across

    and it’s not any one comment but the cumulative effect that’s so jarring

    we can do better

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  153. Oh synema will be on the veterans affairs committee, that’s like coyotes on the chicken appreciation society

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  154. Mitt Romney’s on that society as well

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  155. OT- congratulations to Richard Branson and the team at Virgin Galactic on the successful test flight of SpaceShip Two today.

    Outstanding.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  156. @166. Trick question: does he respect us, Mr. Feet?

    His golf ball usually has a better lie.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  157. who has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election for the past 575 days and has failed to publicize any evidence of Trump-Russia “collusion.”

    LOL

    To: Donald Trump, Jr.
    Date: June 3, 2016

    The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

    This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

    From: Donald Trump, Jr.
    Date: June 3, 2016

    Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

    To: Donald Trump, Jr
    Date: June 7, 2016

    Don

    Hope all is well

    Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.

    I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you?

    I assume it would be at your office.

    From: Donald Trump, Jr.
    Date: June 7, 2016

    How about 3 at our offices? Thanks rob appreciate you helping set it up.

    D

    Dave (1bb933)

  158. 163… bet you thrill all your friends with your cooing.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  159. President Trump did tax cuts and regulation cuts and he gave us judges, many of whom have read and studied the constitution

    that’s pretty damn respectful if you ask me

    it’s humbling, how respectful he is of us

    we’re not all of us worthy

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  160. Hey, a new leader for the CoS position has finally been named, Jared. Yeah, that one.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  161. @174. ‘Worthy’- in rubles, eh, Mr. Feet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  162. we’re not all of us worthy

    That is obviously true.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  163. I am biased against Trump and I have a reasonable doubt that the payoffs to the roundheels were for the purposes of influencing the election. They could just as easily have been to protect his marriage and his children.

    A reasonable person can find that Trump’s candidacy only made the incidents newsworthy and that was the reason he did not care before that. Because the media would not have cared until he became the Republican nominee, and would have just shrugged if the bimbos had tried to peddle their stories to them. (They would have cared even less if he had been the Democrat nominee but that’s another story.)

    nk (dbc370)

  164. nicely said Mr. nk

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  165. missing texts
    no show fbi
    lawyers rule
    baa baa baa
    said the lamb

    mg (8cbc69)

  166. Correct me if I’m wrong didn’t the belle of baton rouge pop up like an unwelcome jacko’lantern

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  167. I do not share any of your apparent outrage that the law could require Trump to account to the voting public for what he’s done with his own money in an attempt to get elected.

    Trump has a history of these payments, long before he became a candidate. I would not be surprised if he attempted then to do so in secret because of the kind of weasel he is.

    For Trump, these are personal expenses that only relate to the campaign by coincidence. Yes, he should have used his own money but since they are STILL not campaign expenses I don’t see the reporting requirement if the expense is not unique to the campaign. Nor the utility of it, for that matter. If you have to report your blackmail payments (and that’s what it was), what’s the point?

    Look. If Melania had bought a new outfit which made her look more dazzling, would that be a campaign expense? Arguably useful to the campaign, but she buys clothes all the time. Just because it happens during a campaign, and just because it is (arguably) of use to the campaign does not make it a campaign expense that has to be reported.

    The “whataboutism” (which I don’t engage in generally) has a point: they are throwing the book at Trump where they ignore similar behavior from inside the club (such as Obama’s blatant disregard for foreign contribution laws). These charges are trumped up by those that want to bring Trump down. The long arm of the Deep State. This is the D’Souza travesty on steroids.

    I really do not think that those who back this play understand the danger they are risking. If they dispose of a President, elected to tear the system a new assh0le, because he was tearing the system a new assh0le, the fire next time will be furious.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  168. Said much better:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/michael-cohen-sentencing-campaign-finance-law/

    So what does it mean to be “for the purpose of influencing an[] election”? To understand this, we read the statutory language in conjunction other parts of the statute. Here the key is the statute’s prohibition on diverting campaign funds to “personal use.” This is a crucial distinction, because one of the primary factors separating campaign funds from personal funds is that the former must be spent on the candidate’s campaign, while the latter can be used to buy expensive vacations, cars, watches, furs, and such. The law defines “personal use” as spending “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.” So a candidate may intend for good toothpaste and soap, a quality suit, and a healthy breakfast to positively influence his election, but none of those are campaign expenditures, because all of those purchases would typically be made irrespective of running for office. And even if the candidate might not have brushed his teeth quite so often or would have bought a cheaper suit absent the campaign, these purchases still address his underlying obligations of maintaining hygiene and dressing himself.

    To use a more pertinent example, imagine a wealthy entrepreneur who decides to run for office. Like many men and women with substantial business activities, at any one time there are likely several lawsuits pending against him personally, or against those various businesses. The candidate calls in his company attorney: “I want all outstanding lawsuits against our various enterprises settled.” His lawyer protests that the suits are without merit — the company should clearly win at trial, and he should protect his reputation of not settling meritless lawsuits. “I agree that these suits lack merit,” says our candidate, “but I don’t want them as a distraction during the campaign, and I don’t want to take the risk that the papers will use them to portray me as a heartless tycoon. Get them settled.”

    The settlements in this hypothetical are made “for the purpose of influencing the election,” yet they are not “expenditures” under the Federal Election Campaign Act. Indeed, if they were, the candidate would have to pay for them with campaign funds. Thus, an unscrupulous but popular businessman could declare his candidacy, gather contributions from the public, use those contributions to settle various preexisting lawsuits, and then withdraw from the race. A nice trick!

    But in fact, the contrary rule prevails, because the candidate’s obligation to resolve the business’s lawsuits exists “irrespective” of the campaign. Similarly, any payments made to women by Mr. Trump or his associates are independent of the campaign.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  169. I imagine this whole scenario was one that occurred to Eugene McCarthy when he challenged LBJ in 1968, and was a reason he was a life-long opponent of these atrocious campaign finance laws.

    And, liberal as he was, he was more of a Libertarian in this than some who pretend to those beliefs here.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  170. that’s why the filth-dirty men and women of the putin-style fbi had to go to such lengths to get the enquirer people to lie and say it was all about the campaign and that’s why they extorted a phony campaign finance confession out of our weak and pliable friend Mr. Cohen

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  171. Yes Johnson would have been the prohibitive favorite without that small band of donors

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  172. “Just because it happens during a campaign, and just because it is (arguably) of use to the campaign does not make it a campaign expense that has to be reported.”

    This is the essence of Bradley Smith’s contention.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  173. Which I see you got to in your next comment…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  174. Now, Trump has a potential defense: I didn’t know it was illegal to secretly pay money to cover up a story about a mistress for the benefit of my campaign. His ignorance and stupidity would be a bonus here. What’s the problem with that defense?

    The problem is that Trump is self-admittedly the world’s foremost expert on absolutely everything and the idea of him claiming he knows less about campaign finance rules than Cohen, a mere lawyer, is ridiculous.

    But let’s be honest here – Trump’s in trouble for failing to report the hush money payments as campaign expenditures and pretending they were personal expenditures and we all know that had he reported them as campaign expenditures he would currently be in trouble for misreporting the clearly personal payments of hush money as campaign-related expenditures. The law is intentionally ambiguous that way I think – what’s the Latin phrase for “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”?

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  175. Look. If Melania had bought a new outfit which made her look more dazzling, would that be a campaign expense?

    There are specific exceptions in the law for clothing, personal grooming, and a number of other common items that everyone tries to use to defend Trump without knowing what they’re talking about…

    Dave (1bb933)

  176. BTW, hasn’t McCain-Feingold been held, several times, to infringe on all kinds of Constitutional rights, primarily First Amendment rights? Can anybody tell me the standard of scrutiny for the provision in question? 1. If it is found ambiguous, should it be struck down in toto? 2. If not struck down, in whose favor should the ambiguity be construed? (That’s a trick question.)

    nk (dbc370)

  177. “But let’s be honest here“

    You can’t say that while at the same time ignoring the unethical and in some instances, criminal behavior of those who are participating in the coup. Nothing honest about it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  178. No hes being punished for beating Hillary their foundation was a slush fund that would put spectre to shame, this whole travismickasham was sponsored by Russian dezinforma paid by the Dnc through perkins and Coe you forget thar.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  179. “There are specific exceptions in the law for clothing, personal grooming, and a number of other common items…”
    Dave (1bb933) — 12/13/2018 @ 6:45 pm

    Common items like a Russian sourced golden showers dossier, for example.

    Munroe (6877ae)

  180. Ah yes the last time there was a two minute hate for a certain candidate which yielded the bearded marxist they zeroed in on her housing allowance from the campaign

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  181. The bearded marxist is all in for Mueller as apparently that worthless punk Tom Tillis, when do they ever give a farthing about what we care about.

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  182. “what’s the Latin phrase for “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”?”

    In Trump’s case, hopefully it’s “nolo contendere”

    Leviticus (9d043f)

  183. President Trump has to stand up to the filthy corrupt FBI

    if he doesn’t then the filthy fascist men and women of the dirty chris wray fbi will go full nazi on everybody forever and ever (especially minorities)

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  184. they’re naming a human rights commission after cowardly war criminal John McCain?

    is this supposed to be funny

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  185. Still… just what is in that safe. ‘Enquiring’ minds want to know.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  186. Alea jacta est.

    nk (dbc370)

  187. There are specific exceptions in the law for clothing, personal grooming, and a number of other common items that everyone tries to use to defend Trump without knowing what they’re talking about…

    And the problem, as always, with laundry lists is that there is always something that ought to be on the list but isn’t. This is one of the places that lawyers, who think reality can be codified, always diverge from the way real people think.

    I note that a Congressman is charged with illegal use of campaign funds because his wife used them for her personal purposes (like clothing, grooming and similar things). And I will bet my house that, had Trump paid off Stormy Daniels with campaign funds (and reported it), the Trump haters here would be on the other side of this argument.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  188. In Trump’s case, hopefully it’s “nolo contendere”

    I favor “I issue a blanket pardon for everyone who may have run afoul of these unconstitutional laws.”

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  189. @ Jeklik (#162): You’re right, we’re really not having a conversation. Get back to me when you’ve figured out the difference between venue, fondue, and Scooby-Do, or why the Federal Supplement series of legal reporters (as distinct from, say, the Federal Reporter or U.S. Reports) is now well into its third series, comprising thousands of printed volumes. Until then, please stop trying to “paraphrase” anything I’ve written here: Your attempted paraphrases amount to lies about what I’ve written, and I object to that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  190. @ Kevin M (#202): If Trump had properly reported his hush-money payoffs as expenditures made by him on behalf of his campaign, instead of failing to report them, denying they happened, trying to hide behind attorney-client privilege (which doesn’t apply), and lying to the America public, I would definitely not be arguing that he had violated federal campaign finance laws. I understand that your bet was hypothetical and hyperbolic, but if we somehow could make and enforce it, you’d be looking for a new house.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  191. But Dave would.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  192. BTW, Beldar, I don’t count you as a “Trump-hater.” You will defend him at times. There are folks here who would cheer the sun going nova if they could blame it on Trump.

    Kevin M (6fea79)

  193. the blame should be on the cowardice rinos like paul ryan. what a useless pos.

    mg (8cbc69)

  194. @ Beldar – it would have made an interesting appeal by Edwards lawyers’ if he had been convicted on the campaign finance charges the jury couldn’t agree on. I would argue that the prosecution team’s legal theory blurs the line way too much between personal expenditures and campaign spending. Had he used campaign funds to make the payoffs, it would be a more clear violation of the law.

    CygnusAnalogMan (9c66ec)

  195. @ Kevin M (#202): If Trump had properly reported his hush-money payoffs as expenditures made by him on behalf of his campaign, instead of failing to report them, denying they happened, trying to hide behind attorney-client privilege (which doesn’t apply), and lying to the America public, I would definitely not be arguing that he had violated federal campaign finance laws. I understand that your bet was hypothetical and hyperbolic, but if we somehow could make and enforce it, you’d be looking for a new house.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/13/2018 @ 10:43 pm

    But that seems backwards Beldar…

    That action could conceively be argued that he’d do that had he not been running for office. Ergo, per that “irrespective test”, it cannot be considered as campaign expenditures.

    I mean, had he DONE just as you described, a vengeful prosecutor would call THAT a crime, claiming he “laundered” campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. The law would would actually support their position.

    whembly (51f28e)

  196. Further to Whembly and Kevin M —

    If this was, in fact a “campaign expenditure” that means he could have used campaign funds — including those sent by thousands of donors — to pay hush money to the high end w–re. The notion that that is legal boggles the mind. But it is an inescapable corrollary to saying this was an (unreported) campaign expenditure.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  197. And I will bet my house that, had Trump paid off Stormy Daniels with campaign funds (and reported it), the Trump haters here would be on the other side of this argument.

    Trump could have legally used campaign funds to pay Stormy to strip at his rallies and perform lap dances for his supporters.

    He could have legally used campaign funds to pay Putin to come spank him on stage.

    The issue in either case is not the legality but what it says about the candidate. Likewise with the hush money.

    And a fully-disclosed hush-money payment is sort of self-defeating, isn’t it?

    Dave (1bb933)

  198. The issue in either case is not the legality but what it says about the candidate. Likewise with the hush money.

    Except you have many people, including the owner of this blog, asserting that this was a crime, and that Trump will end up in jail.

    There is a difference between a sleazy act and a criminal act. If you want to assert that Trump is a sleaze, you will get no argument from me. But if you want to assert that he is a criminal, you better be prepared to defend that with legal argument and citation to a specific statute. Particularly where we are dealing with a technical crime like this one.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  199. There is a difference between a sleazy act and a criminal act. If you want to assert that Trump is a sleaze, you will get no argument from me. But if you want to assert that he is a criminal, you better be prepared to defend that with legal argument and citation to a specific statute. Particularly where we are dealing with a technical crime like this one.

    Except Cohen pleaded guilty to the crime, corroborated by David P and AMI, and Weiselberg for the payment. That this occurred is not in question, the question is would it rise to a High Crime and Misdemeanor.

    This isn’t the Obama campaign missing a reporting deadline by between 13 hours and 20 days for $1.8M, you must report all donations over $1k within 48hrs. Those were FEC violations, the FEC does not prosecute criminal violations, the DOJ does, hence they prosecuted John Edwards for a similar occurrence, a jury found him not guilty on one charge and hung on the other 5, but none of that makes the Trump violation anything less than criminal.

    OJ got off on murder, that doesn’t deter us from prosecuting other murderers. They already have convicted one of the parties in this case, and have another who reached an agreement (AMI), both put Trump directly in the room, and Weiselberg confirming the payment. Then there’s Trump going on TV confirming that it did happen, just that he doesn’t want it to be criminal. Like anything else Trump believes, he’s wrong. He’s a 12 year old, he may BELIEVE in Santa Claus, but that doesn’t make it so, no matter the volume of his shouting.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (64ca32)

  200. Colonel… just because in Cohen’s sentencing memo said Trump broke the law… that doesn’t mean Trump’s guilty.

    whembly (51f28e)

  201. Colonel… just because in Cohen’s sentencing memo said Trump broke the law… that doesn’t mean Trump’s guilty.

    That is a question for the jury.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (64ca32)

  202. No one is saying that they relied on Cohen alone. The prosecutors maintain that he was guilty, not just Cohen himself.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  203. These US Attorneys would maintain that, wouldn’t they.

    Colonel Haiku (2184e5)

  204. US Attorneys are unethical and corrupt

    everybody knows how trashy and unethical they are

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  205. @214

    No, it’s also a question of law for the court. Even assuming everything that Cohen allocuted to was true, is that a crime. That is very much in disputed. And Cohen did not even raise the argument, so that has not been determined by any court.

    Andrew McCarthy summarizes the point well:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/michael-cohen-donald-trumps-payoffs-to-mistresses-as-in-kind-contributions/

    Note that he says that in the John Edwards case, the FEC opined what he did is not illegal, but the DOJ thought otherwise.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  206. this is just a measure of how far dirty ex-marine nazi-butt bobby mueller is having to go to make up crap to justify his joke FBI investigation

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  207. Note that he says that in the John Edwards case, the FEC opined what he did is not illegal, but the DOJ thought otherwise.

    Well, the FEC and the DOJ disagreed. A retired Democratic FEC chairman doubted that it would apply, but the official FEC position was, and is, it’s a crime. The DOJ has standards for prosecution, they are well understood, and have a duty to prosecute in good faith.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  208. You can find opinions from the FEC, and from its former commissioners, pointing in every direction. A model of clarity, they have never been.

    But Trump’s is not a case where there were a close call, made in good faith, in an attempt to interpret the campaign finance laws and regulations, about which we’re now quibbling.

    Trump’s was a case of deliberate concealment and cover-up.

    Those of you who are ignoring the timing are willfully blinding yourself to the most critical contextual facts: The “he might have made this anyway” argument — after years and years and years of not making it — is too ridiculous to say out loud in front of a roomful of people. The calendar alone is overwhelmingly powerful circumstantial evidence that he was paying this money to bury facts that would have been harmful to his candidacy, not to Donald Trump the husband or Donald Trump the businessman, because the entire purpose of his candidacy would end one way or another the following month, and he was under a level of scrutiny for that month unlike anything the non-candidate Trump had ever experienced.

    Note that before these payoffs, he was at the far extreme of this sort of “sensitivity”: This was, after all, the same Trump who bragged repeatedly on Stern’s radio show about all the eye candy he banged; who insisted to someone in the media that young starlets would let him “grab” their “p*ssies”; who bought a beauty pageant, and sometimes the boob-jobs for its participants, whose dressing rooms he could roam at will. This is a guy, in other words, who historically reveled in the kind of publicity he was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to suppress in the last, most intense month of his presidential candidacy.

    That he also cloaked it in this amateurish NDA with pseudonyms, phony shell companies, and fraudulent accounting makes inescapable the conclusion that he knew he was violating campaign finance laws.

    As with the John Edwards case, the Dsouza case, and many other prominent campaign finance violation matters, the real objection most people have is to the notion that those laws are constitutional. But the disclosure parts of the campaign finance laws clearly are.

    I’m not surprised, but I’m nevertheless disappointed, that so many Americans seem to think Trump had some intrinsic right to orchestrate and pay for this elaborate cover-up without consequences.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  209. I’m not surprised, but I’m nevertheless disappointed, that so many Americans seem to think Trump had some intrinsic right to orchestrate and pay for this elaborate cover-up without consequences.

    Criminal penalty consequences? I don’t think it rates anything more than derision. Not even opprobrium in this day and age. Just mockery of an old fool (he was 60) who couldn’t keep it in his pants and had to pay through the nose.

    nk (dbc370)

  210. I’m sure glad that we’re getting down, finally, to the nitty gritty about this Russian collusion business.

    Oh, wait. Now it’s down to jaywalking?

    Harrumph! Harrumph! It’s still a crime.

    O/t but the canucks just recently retired the Sea King.

    https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/canada-retires-sea-king-50-years/

    Those six hours I spent flying in that paint mixer was the longest century I ever spent. Sure, it was kind of entertaining when I strapped on the gunner’s belt and leaned out the aircraft.

    And hoped it failed.

    It wasn’t exactly reassuring when the pilot, and to coin a phrase, I #$@% you not, confided in me, “I live in fear.”

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  211. I’m sure glad that we’re getting down, finally, to the nitty gritty about this Russian collusion business.

    Well, there is the Mueller investigation, unrelated to the porn actress and Playboy playmate payoffs. These crimes are being investigated by the Trump administration appointed prosecutors in the Southern District of NY, you know, a different jurisdiction.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  212. Rudy is right, this isn’t murder, or bribery or whatever.
    Doesn’t mean it’s not a crime.

    Trump probably did it.
    Doesn’t mean he get’s impeached, or sent to prison. Isn’t the usual penalty for campaign finance violations a fine and an apology?

    The Trump fans problem seems to be that can’t admit he did anything wrong.
    Trump shares this problem. Otherwise he’d just hire a decent lawyer to negotiate a plea deal. Admit that he paid some hush money and say “sorry I messed up the campaign finance laws. My lawyer was an idiot. I’ll have my butler pay the fine out of petty cash.” and go back to golf and twitter.

    Joe123 (ae9d89)

  213. You can find opinions from the FEC, and from its former commissioners, pointing in every direction. A model of clarity, they have never been.

    But Trump’s is not a case where there were a close call, made in good faith, in an attempt to interpret the campaign finance laws and regulations, about which we’re now quibbling.

    Trump’s was a case of deliberate concealment and cover-up.

    Those of you who are ignoring the timing are willfully blinding yourself to the most critical contextual facts: The “he might have made this anyway” argument — after years and years and years of not making it — is too ridiculous to say out loud in front of a roomful of people. The calendar alone is overwhelmingly powerful circumstantial evidence that he was paying this money to bury facts that would have been harmful to his candidacy, not to Donald Trump the husband or Donald Trump the businessman, because the entire purpose of his candidacy would end one way or another the following month, and he was under a level of scrutiny for that month unlike anything the non-candidate Trump had ever experienced.

    Note that before these payoffs, he was at the far extreme of this sort of “sensitivity”: This was, after all, the same Trump who bragged repeatedly on Stern’s radio show about all the eye candy he banged; who insisted to someone in the media that young starlets would let him “grab” their “p*ssies”; who bought a beauty pageant, and sometimes the boob-jobs for its participants, whose dressing rooms he could roam at will. This is a guy, in other words, who historically reveled in the kind of publicity he was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to suppress in the last, most intense month of his presidential candidacy.

    That he also cloaked it in this amateurish NDA with pseudonyms, phony shell companies, and fraudulent accounting makes inescapable the conclusion that he knew he was violating campaign finance laws.

    As with the John Edwards case, the Dsouza case, and many other prominent campaign finance violation matters, the real objection most people have is to the notion that those laws are constitutional. But the disclosure parts of the campaign finance laws clearly are.

    I’m not surprised, but I’m nevertheless disappointed, that so many Americans seem to think Trump had some intrinsic right to orchestrate and pay for this elaborate cover-up without consequences.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/14/2018 @ 10:46 am

    Is it possible that you’re conflating what Cohen did (bank frauds, lying to Congress) to whether or not the NDA itself is in-kind campaign contributions?

    I mean, are you really saying that it would be kosher for Trump to use actual campaign funds from donors AND disclose it to the FEC? Is that where we’re at?

    whembly (51f28e)

  214. Mr. Cohen’s not going to jail (father of the year lol) because he paid a fungus-hooker to keep her fungus mouth shut

    he cheated on his taxes and the corrupt fbi tried to use that to get to President Trump (incompetent trashy men and women of the slimy fbi)

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  215. Trumpets don’t care if Con Don fraudulently paid for covering up dirt before or during the election. Just as long as their guy wins. What a disgusting lot they are. It’s also extremely elitist – most of us can’t afford to pay off The National Enquirer, you know.

    Therefore, his whole Presidency is a fraud, and there is nothing anyone can do to change that.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  216. President Trump’s doing great president whereas cowardly navy piglet John McCain and boy-lovin Mitt Romney’s president skills are both sorely lacking (need more practice i guess)

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  217. President Trump’s doing great president whereas cowardly navy piglet John McCain and boy-lovin Mitt Romney’s president skills are both sorely lacking (need more practice i guess)

    You should run this by an English speaker, your Google Translate between Russian and English appears to be broken.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ffba1f)

  218. yeah well maybe your translate are broken ever think of that

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  219. My “translate are broken”? Hahhaahhaaahhaa…gulp…haahahahhhahah. Oh verb conjugation, it is hard.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ffba1f)

  220. 229… I predict your feverdreams will be dashed on the rocks, much like Hillary enjoys her Grey Goose.

    Colonel Haiku (2184e5)

  221. Time to read ’em and weep, Haiku. We don’t even know all his crimes yet, either. But we will, soon.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  222. Keep digging, you may find your pony yet, tillman.

    Colonel Haiku (2184e5)

  223. I find your habit of italicization of the things you find to be OMG-worthy most amusing!

    Colonel Haiku (2184e5)

  224. If Trump shuts down the gubmint – can he make recess appointments?

    mg (8cbc69)

  225. All your translate belong to us.

    Dis-missed, Klink!

    nk (dbc370)

  226. Autocucumber

    Of course who was the head of the faa

    Narciso (7d6e72)

  227. In or about August 2015, David Pecker, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMI, met with Michael Cohen, an attorney for a presidential candidate, and at least one other member of the campaign. At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.

    Rush Limbaugh and others seem to be saying that was in August 2014.

    So now what is it?

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  228. There’s no question that from the viewpoint of the National Enquirer it was an illegal corporate campaign contribution (or loan – Cohen seems to have promised Pecker that he’d be reimbursed without telling Trump and later he has to persuade Trump to do that)

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  229. Here’s Rush seeming to say it was really in 2014, not 2015.

    https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2018/12/14/breaking-down-the-rats-interview-with-stephanopoulos

    RUSH: “Donald Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 when his lawyer Michael Cohen and … Pecker discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump’s relationships with women…” Trump’s relationships with women? “It’s impeachable, Mr. Limbaugh! It’s criminal. We’re on the verge…” It is?

    “According to documents supplied by the SDNY, Trump and Cohen had a meeting one year before,” not 2015. It was August of 2014 they met “to discuss this arrangement.” Again, the memorandum from the Southern District of New York says, “In August 2014, Chairman [Pecker] had met with Cohen and [Trump] and had offered to help deal with negative stories about [Trump]’s relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and ‘killed.’”

    So this arrangement was made long before Trump became a candidate and probably even before he thought of running for the White House. So where’s the campaign finance violation?

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  230. We can’t get everyone to agree on the facts, let alone the law.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  231. #242 There’s no question that from the viewpoint of the National Enquirer it was an illegal corporate campaign contribution (or loan – Cohen seems to have promised Pecker that he’d be reimbursed without telling Trump and later he has to persuade Trump to do that)

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75) — 12/14/2018 @ 12:44 pm

    If that’s true… then, isn’t it also true for any publications that spikes unfavorable stories of their preferred candidates?

    whembly (51f28e)

  232. #244 We can’t get everyone to agree on the facts, let alone the law.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75) — 12/14/2018 @ 12:48 pm

    With respect to what is or is not a campaign expenditures… I think this highlights the problem with these sort of laws in trying to enforce it criminally. If we can’t agree to very clear, bright lines of what is/isn’t criminal, then it shouldn’t criminally be enforced.

    whembly (51f28e)

  233. mg (8cbc69) — 12/14/2018 @ 12:32 pm
    Heh. I don’t know if that would fly, but it sure as Gehenna would flap its wings!

    felipe (5b25e2)

  234. If that’s true… then, isn’t it also true for any publications that spikes unfavorable stories of their preferred candidates?

    To a certain degree, yes. It would depend on the degree of contact and coordination between the media outlet and the campaign.

    It could also work the other way, if a campaign helped publish a story that was negative about the opponent.

    But without that nexus of cooperation, you get the equivalent of a PAC running ads helpful to a candidate. Which are legal as long as they are not coordinated with the campaign.

    In this case, the spiking of the story was done in coordination with Trump himself.

    Kishnevi (2717fb)

  235. Felipe, the entitled would go wild.

    mg (8cbc69)

  236. Bias can be found in omission, much as it can be found in the way stories are reported/written.

    See Jim Treacher for the Omission Variant.

    Colonel Haiku (2184e5)

  237. Colonel Klink (Ret) (ffba1f) — 12/14/2018 @ 12:10 pm

    broken translate or no i don’t think footsies is a dirty rooskie with his quirky food and cultural references all up in it

    rooskies generally have a higher opinion of head lice too

    Dave (1bb933)

  238. And more to the point, footsies was here long before Donald Trump welcomed the Russian military and intelligence services into our election campaigns.

    Dave (1bb933)

  239. the answer was alexander butterfield, I’m a fan of spy thrillers, but make it interesting, so the lurid claims about butina really didn’t pan out, a very junior staffer in south Dakota is the linch pin of this plot, that’s why they had to use the equivalent of a suggestion box to make contact,

    narciso (d1f714)

  240. @ whembley, who asked (#):

    I mean, are you really saying that it would be kosher for Trump to use actual campaign funds from donors AND disclose it to the FEC?

    Not at all. The “what if” scenario that I have been discussing is instead, “What if Trump had paid off the bimbos from his own funds but disclosed those funds as in-kind contributions to his own campaign efforts, as to which there is no dollar limit?” If he had done that, he would not have violated campaign finance laws.

    But he did not do that. He did the opposite of that. He used funds from the Trump Organization, paid at his direction by the Trump Organization’s CFO to Cohen with a phony accounting trail claiming it was a “retainer,” i.e., legal fees. And he hid that from the FEC instead of reporting it truthfully. So let’s dispense with — laugh at, ridicule — the counterfactual that “He could have paid for this with his own money and it would have been okay,” because, in the first place, that argument would only be true if he’d also reported using his own money, and in the second place, that’s not at all what he actually did.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  241. whembly’s question, which I just quoted in #255, was from #227 above, which I inadvertently omitted in my attempted cross-reference.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  242. ot, mick Mulvaney has had more jobs then james byrnes, apparently as acting chief of staff,

    so what does the statute say about punishment for failure to disclose,

    narciso (d1f714)

  243. lawyer up Mick, its feeding time

    mg (8cbc69)

  244. Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney”… Kabuki Theater.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  245. 255. @ whembley, who asked (#):
    I mean, are you really saying that it would be kosher for Trump to use actual campaign funds from donors AND disclose it to the FEC?
    Not at all. The “what if” scenario that I have been discussing is instead, “What if Trump had paid off the bimbos from his own funds but disclosed those funds as in-kind contributions to his own campaign efforts, as to which there is no dollar limit?” If he had done that, he would not have violated campaign finance laws.

    But he did not do that. He did the opposite of that. He used funds from the Trump Organization, paid at his direction by the Trump Organization’s CFO to Cohen with a phony accounting trail claiming it was a “retainer,” i.e., legal fees. And he hid that from the FEC instead of reporting it truthfully. So let’s dispense with — laugh at, ridicule — the counterfactual that “He could have paid for this with his own money and it would have been okay,” because, in the first place, that argument would only be true if he’d also reported using his own money, and in the second place, that’s not at all what he actually did.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 12/14/2018 @ 3:25 pm

    I really do understand where you’re coming from…

    But, if its true that he had to report it as campaign expenditure, what’s to prohibit him from using a theoretical campaign donation to fund the NDA?

    Also, wouldn’t it defeat the whole purpose of trying to get a NDA in the first place… if you had to disclose it publicaly???

    whembly (d40ad5)

  246. On December 21, 1968, the U.S. government launched men to the moon.

    50 years later, closing the U.S. government down on December 21, 2018 is not ‘Making America Great Again” Captain, sir.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  247. that’s a nonsequitur, there was a legal path from cuba to the united states from 1965-1971, I was part of that, it took six (redacted) years of waiting to get a visa. but that’s what you do if want to go by the book,

    narciso (d1f714)

  248. But, if its true that he had to report it as campaign expenditure, what’s to prohibit him from using a theoretical campaign donation to fund the NDA?

    Nothing, except that the amount donated was about 50 times larger than the maximum allowed by individuals, and that corporations like the ones who made these payments are not allowed to donate *anything*.

    Also, wouldn’t it defeat the whole purpose of trying to get a NDA in the first place… if you had to disclose it publicaly???

    Yes. Actions have consequences.

    The law is not really set up to allow candidates for office to discreetly pay off sex workers for services rendered.

    Dave (1bb933)

  249. 261… quite the comparison there…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  250. Trump lives rent-free 24x7x365 in Dave’s head and if and when he wants to slum and eat some strawberries, he heads to ASPCA’s.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  251. Thank you for the personal attack.

    Dave (1bb933)


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