Patterico's Pontifications

7/17/2019

DOJ Ends Hush Money Probe of Trump

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 9:30 am



[Headlines from DRJ]

Justice Department ends probe of hush-money payments in final months of Donald Trump’s campaign, judge says:

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York have concluded their investigation of hush-money payments President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer orchestrated to quiet potential sex scandals in the final months of his campaign, a judge said Wednesday.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said he engineered payments to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump to silence them before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors said those payments violated federal campaign finance laws, and both they and Cohen have said publicly that Cohen arranged them at Trump’s direction.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley revealed the end of the probe in a brief order on Wednesday, in which he instructed the government to make public some of the search warrants it used when investigating Cohen.

Judge Pauley’s Order is here. It orders the release of the Status report and search warrants by July 18, 2019, at 11:00 AM EST.

So this means Trump’s DOJ believes there is insufficient evidence of obstruction campaign/hush money violations to indict Trump, right? Or maybe it means the DOJ Guidelines that it cannot indict a sitting President apply here, too.

— DRJ

62 Responses to “DOJ Ends Hush Money Probe of Trump”

  1. Looks like the DOJ doesn’t believe they can win the case.

    The interesting thing here, is that the Judge is wanting the prosecution reports made public (unless the government appeals).

    Seeing the details of the investigation would be interesting…

    whembly (fd57f6)

  2. I thought the claim was the DOJ is an independent branch? Now that they ruled against the way you wish, they’re “Trump’s DOJ?”

    NJRob (4d595c)

  3. Michael Cohen is sitting in a jail cell because he pled guilty to the pornstar hush-money scheme. Since it’s DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, the message is that they found no other indictable co-conspirators except for Cohen, and “Individual 1″ is not indictable until 2021 or 2025. This does not prevent Pelosi from adding Trump’s felonious hush-money scheme to any articles of impeachment.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  4. They can’t indict Trump no matter what crimes he commits, Cohen is already serving time for his involvement, and the Trump Org CFO who make the illegal, fraudulent payments to him was granted immunity in return for his testimony almost a year ago.

    So this is just another referral to Congress.

    Dave (1bb933)

  5. *made

    Dave (1bb933)

  6. One would think the never trumpers would get tired of losing in sudden death day after day after day.

    mg (8cbc69)

  7. The subject didnt drown obviously a warlock.

    Narciso (09b0bf)

  8. Thin case, very thin. Thinner than Trump’s skin. Thin legally, thin factually. A better case can be made that Pelosi’s botox shots are illegal campaign contributions if they were paid for by her government health insurance. And I’m pretty sure her insurance claims manager is not a self-confessed, convicted perjurer, too.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. funny, nk.

    mg (8cbc69)

  10. Or maybe it means that the law on what is, or is not, a personal expenditure while campaigning is vague and subject to conflicting interpretations.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  11. Michael Cohen is sitting in a jail cell because he pled guilty to the pornstar hush-money scheme

    More importantly, he pled guilty to a crime, in order to avoid other charges, where the prosecutor’s interpretation of the statute is not universally accepted.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  12. Cohen mostly pleaded guilty to lying whole lot, from the IRS to banks to Congress, things that he was indicted on. He then went and voluntarily pleaded guilty to this horsesh!t that he was not indicted on in the hope that Mueller and SDNY wanted to get Trump more than they wanted to get him. If he had been a real lawyer he’d have known that once you’ve pleaded guilty to perjury you’re pretty much worthless as a witness.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. The DOJ is unusual because it is an arm of the executive but it has legal/professional responsibilities that require it to be independent in applying the law.

    DRJ (3a8a8a)

  14. DRJ,

    my point is that you only called the DOJ “Trump’s DOJ” to give the appearance that they were covering for him. It’s beneath you and does this site no favors.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  15. Cohen faced indictments in two forums (the Mueller investigation and in the SDNY) and plead guilty to charges in both. The hush money charges were in a SDNY indictment.

    DRJ (3a8a8a)

  16. my point is that you only called the DOJ “Trump’s DOJ” to give the appearance that they were covering for him.

    I did not realize you are a mindreader.

    DRJ (3a8a8a)

  17. FWIW, NJRob, that wasn’t in my mind. I would be happy to call it Barr’s DOJ.

    DRJ (3a8a8a)

  18. 3. Paul Montagu (fc91e5) — 7/17/2019 @ 9:42 am

    3.Michael Cohen is sitting in a jail cell because he pled guilty to the pornstar hush-money scheme.

    No, hes sitting in jail because he pled guilty to various financial crimes (some maybe almost technical) He added these “crimes” in order to have something on which e could turn state;s eidence, but these were not campaign finance law violations. Trump was the one with the money.

    Sammy Finkelman (0cf810)

  19. Cohen plead guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges in the SDNY case:

    Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Eight Counts, Including Criminal Tax Evasion And Campaign Finance Violations

    DRJ (3a8a8a)

  20. @ NJRob: If we look back in your own comments here, will we not find you referring to “Obama’s DoJ”? I’ll bet we will.

    I don’t recall DRJ, nor our host, nor any of his co-bloggers, nor anyone else ever claiming, as you claim that the DoJ is “an independent branch” of government. That’s obviously preposterous, and if you are going to accuse DRJ or anyone else of making a preposterous claim, you need to provide links and quotes.

    Otherwise you’re just being nasty. (Which was my conclusion from your comment at #2.)

    If DRJ’s post here is “beneath her” or does “this site no favors,” why don’t you go elsewhere, instead of throwing undeserved and unverified falsehoods at those who are critical of your cult leader?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  21. why don’t you go elsewhere

    OMG, even Beldar has gone full Trump.

    (j/k!)

    Dave (1bb933)

  22. Go for it Beldar.

    NJRob (bc2fa1)

  23. The remarks give the appearance of snark and are beneath DRJ’s usual fact base posts.

    Beldar stop being rude.

    NJRob (bc2fa1)

  24. The claim is often that it isn’t Trump’s DOJ “contrary to what he may think” which is why Trump has his own lawyer and not the AG.

    Does anyone dispute that?

    NJRob (bc2fa1)

  25. because holder hand picked the civil rights division and stocked them with progressive activists, hans spakovsky among others noted this, how much of Main justice is focused on the Trump agenda, I would say 20%, Rosenstein certainly was an obstacle, at best, lieu and co, buried the awan case,

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. What happened to all those secret, sealed indictments we heard about for several months? How many more times will these expert legal analysts be proven wrong?

    It raises interesting questions, lol.

    Colonel Haiku (5243a2)

  27. You may as well ask the Sun not to rise in the east, Rob.

    Colonel Haiku (5243a2)

  28. Rob, let me explain what I was thinking because it was not what you interpreted it as.

    1. I used the term “Trump’s DOJ” because it is his DOJ — the same DOJ that decided Trump would not be indicted for obstruction. Obama’s DOJ did not do that, Trump’s did, so I viewed it as a descriptive term not as a pejorative. If I had it to do over again, I might say “Barr’s DOJ” because I don’t think Trump had anything to do with that decision, but I stand by my use of the term “Trump’s DOJ” as accurate.

    2. My point was that IMO there are three reasons why the DOJ might decide to drop the campaign finance violation case against Trump:

    A. The obvious first reason is that Cohen masterminded this plot and Trump was innocent, so only Cohen engaged in campaign finance violations. I don’t find that logical or credible but you are free to decide otherwise. Because I don’t find it logical or credible, I did not include it.

    B. The second reason is that there is evidence Trump may have committed campaign finance violations but for legal/other reasons the Barr/Trump DOJ decided that the case should be dropped — just as they decided not to pursue the obstruction case. Maybe here they determined that Trump’s intent/conduct did not rise to a criminal violation, or that the evidence was not sufficient to proceed, or (your assumption) that “the fix was in.”

    I do not see this as a corrupt decision, nor did I see it that way in the obstruction case. I think Barr worked himself into a legal pretzel to exonerate Trump but he is not corrupt. Instead, I think he is Clintonian. People convince themselves their actions and motives are pure when they really want something.

    C. The third reason — and the one I believe — is that in this case the Barr/Trump DOJ decided the DOJ Guidelines prohibit it from indicting a sitting President so it doesn’t matter what the evidence shows.

    Rob, you are free to think whatever you want about me. I don’t write blog posts for approval. I write because I like discussion with people who are interested in law, politics, ideas, and debate.

    Also, FWIW, I don’t hate Trump but I feel sorry for him. I think he is in way over his head and he is gambling with America the way he has gambled with his own life, often unsuccessfully. If that isn’t something we are allowed to question or criticize, nothing is.

    DRJ (15874d)

  29. Also, FWIW, I don’t hate Trump but I feel sorry for him. I think he is in way over his head and he is gambling with America the way he has gambled with his own life, often unsuccessfully.

    Oh, shoot, here I go disagreeing with DRJ again. I think Trump is a garden slug in the American lettuce patch who should have had a box of salt poured on him three years ago. Give or take a day.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Also, I don’t want you to leave and I don’t think Beldar does either. Beldar is my friend and he is defending me when he agrees with me, as I would defend him. As I would you and anyone here.

    DRJ (15874d)

  31. The CBS Evening News did astory about abig demonstration in San Juan Puerto Rico calling for the governor to resign, eithout explaining at all what this was all about.

    The reporter said it has been bubbling up for years and mentioned mismanagement, Hurricane Maria and the Telegram CHAT -w without one word as to what exactly was in the chats.

    I guess they were almost expecting the governor to resign during the broadcast.

    Sammy Finkelman (0cf810)

  32. nk (dbc370) — 7/17/2019 @ 4:09 pm

    Garden slugs aren’t nearly as slimy.

    Dave (1bb933)

  33. No, hes sitting in jail because he pled guilty to various financial crimes…

    I’m aware, but the topic is about the hush-money scheme, and Cohen is now a convicted felon for his role in said scheme, among other things. Dave mentioned that Weisselberg got an immunity deal, and that sleazebag Pecker also got an immunity deal. Since Trump cannot be indicted per DOJ rules, it sounds to me like the investigation ran its course. There’re no other indictable parties.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  34. Roger Kimball writes:

    “Bottom line: I think that ‘the Squad’ are like the jesters that monarchs of old used to have. Not in every respect. They are not, for example, intentionally funny. But they are a source of entertainment. No one takes them seriously.

    Some of my readers may forget, but I entered this fray as a dedicated anti-Trumper. I wrote, gosh, a score of articles criticizing Trump in the most categorical terms.

    But then the worst happened and the choice was Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I have rehearsed all of this before and will not repeat it now. Suffice it to say that I regarded the choice as binary. I was not going to throw my vote away on Evan McMuffin or whatever his name was. It was Hillary, who was impossible, or Trump, who was merely frightful.

    I chose frightful and have been pleasantly surprised. As I have said many times over the last couple of years, Donald Trump has presided over the most astonishingly successful opening years as president in a very long time, maybe ever. I don’t worry about his ‘character’ or his Tabasco tweets. I rather enjoy them, to tell the truth, not least because they challenge the pieties of political correctness.”

    Read it all…

    https://spectator.us/the-white-supremacy-phantom/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. The chats were the straw that broke the camel’s back, like the merchant lighting himself on fire in tunisia

    Narciso (09b0bf)

  36. Well said, DRJ. I agree that the case was dropped because of DOJ policy. However, it is clear that Barr is going out of his way to protect Trump from incrimination, just as Republicans are going out of his way to defend him, no matter what he says or does.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, and it’s what led Amash to leave the Freedom Caucus and resign from the Republican party.

    https://reason.com/2019/07/17/amash-republicans-defending-trump-are-hurting-themselves-and-theyre-hurting-the-country/

    I don’t hate Trump either, but I certainly don’t feel sorry for him. I just know he is a total fraud, and I think he should get what he deserves, which is ridicule, scorn and derision.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  37. Kavanaugh was cleared in less than a week — but that was the DOJ, not Trump’s DOJ. So, yay.

    Munroe (0b2761)

  38. @ NJRob, who wrote (#24):

    The claim is often that it isn’t Trump’s DOJ “contrary to what he may think” which is why Trump has his own lawyer and not the AG.

    Does anyone dispute that?

    Yes, you’re damn right: I dispute it. I already have, and I dispute it again. How many more times, and how many more different ways, do I have to say it?

    And so where is the link, where is the quote, where DRJ has ever supposedly made that supposed claim, as you accused her of?

    You have no quote. You have no link. You pulled what you said out of your butt, and now, like your cult leader, you’re hiding behind passive voice “people often say”-sort of vague rhetoric, in a fruitless, embarrassing effort to conceal the fact that you pulled a factual claim about the person who write this post out of your butt, and it’s false. You got nothing.

    DRJ is habitually more gracious than almost anyone else who regularly posts here. I rarely disagree with her, but this time (#30), I do: I wouldn’t miss you at all, NJRob. I am DRJ’s friend, indeed, and will defend her from lying liars who try to pull Trump-like games of blaming someone else when it’s him — or in this case, you — who are guilty of what you’re complaining of someone else about. And even were she not my friend, I’d be offended by you pulling something out of your butt and then pretending otherwise.

    Post the link and the quotes, or admit you pulled this out of your butt. Or if you think I’ve violated the blog’s policies and have falsely accused you, let’s ask our host for a ruling. We can’t possibly both be correct, because I’m accusing you of starting the comments to this thread (#2) with a deliberate, shameful lie.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  39. By the way, your new slant — “… Trump has his own lawyer and not the AG” — is another attempt at diversion, at sliding sideways and trying the pretend you didn’t write what you clearly wrote in #2, which was, in case you forgot:

    I thought the claim was the DOJ is an independent branch?

    Do you deny that in the following sentence, when you used the pronoun “you,” you were referring to the author of this post?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  40. *trying to pretend

    Beldar (fa637a)

  41. There is no such thing as an ‘independent branch’ whose appointees are all dependent on nominations from explicitly political operatives.

    But I would strongly prefer nakedly to subtly partisan judges, though I understand that declaring where you came from any why you believe what you believe openly is frowned upon by certain lawyer types. When America has enough in common again that it can define the meaning of ‘impartiality’ in a truly shared culture instead of poor partisan college hothouse indoctrination or paid television agitprop, perhaps the play-acting at it will come to approximate the real thing again.

    Advocat (c79ce5)

  42. 34. Puerto Rico is part of the United States – they cab’t have a revolution. Now a=maybe theres something in the constitution of Puerto Rico to remove a Governor.

    Prosecutors could also make a deal, but there’s nothing actually illegal here.

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e)

  43. There were two different payoffs, done in two different ways. The one with nmore legal probkems is the NAtional Enquirer “catch and kill” contract with Karen McDougal. That could look like an illegal corporate campaign contribution. Trump was brought into it after the fact, and in the discussion with Cohen, Cohen is trying to tell him to worry about a time after the election. (David Pecker could get hit by a truck so Trump should buy the contract)

    The Stormy Daniels (Stepahnie Clifford) settlement agreement seems also to have used money advancdd by Cohen – maybe he couldn’t get the National Enquirer to pay for that. Trump, at some point agreed to slowly reimburse Cohen. It’s a possible campaign finance violation by Cohen even if it was always a loan. Not by Trump. Trump had a personal motive but neither Cohen nor the National Enquirer did.

    If Trump had used campaign money that could be considered very improper, because that could be considered a personal expense.

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e)

  44. I am sure I have said that the AG and DOJ are not Trump’s lawyers — as in, they don’t represent Trump personally — but I have never said it is not Trump’s DOJ. In fact, I have repeatedly said that Trump is the only person who can decide whether the DOJ can do things like investigate Hillary (let alone “lock her up”) — something Trump refuses to do.

    Maybe that is confusing to non-lawyers and/or seems like a contradiction: The DOJ attorneys aren’t there to represent Trump personally, but they are there for President Trump in his capacity as President.

    DRJ (15874d)

  45. So when the Washington post or the times, cover up a story, what is that called?

    Narciso (09b0bf)

  46. So when the Washington post or the times, cover up a story, what is that called?

    Your febrile imagination?

    Dave (1bb933)

  47. Maybe not, Sammy.

    DRJ (15874d)

  48. Dave, I don’t think that is a helpful comment.

    DRJ (15874d)

  49. So when the Washington post or the times, cover up a story, what is that called?

    Someone’s febrile imagination?

    Dave (1bb933)

  50. Heh.

    DRJ (15874d)

  51. Rob, you are free to think whatever you want about me. I don’t write blog posts for approval. I write because I like discussion with people who are interested in law, politics, ideas, and debate.

    Also, FWIW, I don’t hate Trump but I feel sorry for him. I think he is in way over his head and he is gambling with America the way he has gambled with his own life, often unsuccessfully. If that isn’t something we are allowed to question or criticize, nothing is.

    DRJ (15874d) — 7/17/2019 @ 4:04 pm

    DRJ,

    I wouldn’t have spent time on a comment if I thought it was wasted on you. I enjoy reading your work because it is objective. I saw something that appeared to be deliberately playing to certain members of the crowd here and called it out. If I was mistaken, I apologize.

    For Beldar I have nothing to say other than he’s just trying to be a bully but failing miserably.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  52. We’ve gambling for at least 25 years since Jimmy Carter and the framework, around that time Iraq was festering into the failed state that became evident in 03, Iran was an even harder but to crack

    Narciso (c67b88)

  53. Same with China at least since the WTO, which they failed to abide by 20 years ago.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  54. As for “failing miserably,” as always I’ll let other readers draw their own conclusions as to that. However, when it comes to producing a quote or a link which supports what you stated as a matter of fact, you have unequivocally, indisputably “failed miserably,” NJRob.

    And even your apologies are qualified, NJRob: “If I was mistaken ….”

    There’s no “if” about it: You were mistaken in attributing to DRJ a past statement she never made, you were mistaken in pretending from the statement you made up that you had correctly interpreted her intentions in this post, and you were mistaken in arguing about it with me. That’s why you needed to apologize. But if DRJ is satisfied with that, certainly I would be too, since it’s DRJ whom you pulled something out of your butt to malign in the second comment on this post.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  55. It’s genuinely revolting how — in general — Trump super-fans, when finally cornered and force to admit something, whine about it just like Trump does. “Oh, it’s a witch-hunt.” Or: “Oh, Beldar’s a bully” — for pointing out a fabrication, that’s supposed to be “bullying.”

    Then the same Trump super-fan will, at the very next opportunity, snark it up about some RINO’s “pearl-clutching” or some such cliched trash talk.

    It’s like it’s a contagious disease by which Trump fans voluntarily transform themselves to mimic all of Trump’s very worst qualities, foremost among them his comprehensive, compulsive eagerness to lie all the time, about everything, whether it’s important or not, in his constant desire to be worshiped.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  56. Beldar, you find your own sins in others. So be it.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  57. Actually, it’s been more conservative whine; bitter dregs. Welcome to 1964.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  58. Politics has become more frustrating to discuss and I’m not talking about a specific politician or Party. It’s been this way for me for years because we’ve become more polarized and rigid. I am not blameless but I was not trying to be snide when I referred to the Trump DOJ. I think it was correct to end this case but I am curious what the basis was.

    DRJ (15874d)

  59. There is one rule for Republicans (Steven’s delay mcdonnell) one for Democrats (Menendez Richardson McAuliffe corzine) to actually put sympathetic officials at main justice was made a scandal a decade ago, with the helpful input of James comey.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  60. The US Attorney for the SDNY has released the documents as ordered by the court.

    DRJ (15874d)

  61. Its really sad how Trump enemies are always whining about “Trump’s DoJ”. Or whining about Trump “getting away with it” – Could they just stop whining?

    rcocean (1a839e)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2959 secs.