Michael Cohen, Lawyer Extraordinaire And A Week Of Stormy Weather
Boy are we tired of looking at this mook's stupid face! We've spent an entire week LOLing at Michael Cohen's epic fail to conduct a basic hush money transaction. Trump's affair with Stormy Daniels is dominating the news, and Cohen himself is facing possible criminal liability and disbarment. This guy is so incompetent that we're actually starting to believe that he only did this once!
Just yesterday CNN revealed that Cohen negotiated the entire transaction using his work email. This is Cohen forwarding the bank confirmation of the $130,000 transfer to Daniels's attorney Keith Davidson. From his Trump.org email account.
OF COURSE HE DID! Then Cohen used his own home equity line of credit to fund the transaction. Because who among us hasn't cut a six-figure check to benefit our boss, amirite?
How did we get here?
The key to understanding this mess is realizing that no one thought Trump was going to win. Trump was supposed to go back to his old life, only with a brand that was significantly more valuable. Daniels took the relatively low payoff of $130,000, because come December her story about sex with a horndog businessman was going to be worthless. And Cohen figured he'd get paid back the $130,000 after the election, when no one would bother looking at the obvious campaign finance violation.
But then the old fool actually did it! He won the election! And things got weird.
Who knew what, when, and why it matters.
For the past two weeks, Michael Cohen has been trying to limit the damage here by swearing up and down that he paid Daniels off all on his own. Clearly someone exceeded the $2,700 campaign finance limit -- you don't have to give directly to the campaign, actions that benefit the candidate count -- and Cohen wants to take all the blame on himself. Because if anyone from the Trump family or business participated in the payoff, they are also guilty of violating campaign finance laws. If the Trump campaign routed $130,000 of donor money through the Trump organization to pay Daniels, they face potential prosecution for money laundering on top of the campaign finance issues.
So Cohen is falling on this grenade and claiming that the campaign finance violation is his alone. Forget about him postponing the payoff twice because he couldn't get the go-ahead from Trump. Forget about him complaining that he didn't get reimbursed fast enough. That's Michael Cohen's story, and he's sticking to it!
What's Stormy Daniels' play here?
Well, Stormy woke up on November 9, 2016 to the realization that she'd been grossly underpaid. You don't have to like her to appreciate that she had every motivation to go over that NDA with a fine-tooth comb looking for holes. If Cohen wanted to buy her silence, he should have drafted a better document! And he should have said, "NO COMMENT," over and over until reporters stopped asking him about it. Instead, he told ten different lies about Daniels, violating the non-disclosure part of the non-disclosure agreement. And he forced her to put out a statement denying the affair, violating legal ethics. Now's the time in every Michael Cohen piece when we slag him for going to Cooley Law School.
As for Daniels, well she wants to get paid! Once she gets the court to declare the NDA unenforceable, her career will get a huge boost and she'll be able to sell her story for a gazillion Ameros. Add a zero to every dollar figure if you can label it, "The Story The White House Didn't Want You To See!"
But Daniels also wants to make them pay. Donald Trump sent his lackey out to threaten her behind closed doors and slag her in the media. Because if you have a problem, Michael Cohen can make it worse! If there was an amicable settlement to be had, it probably went out the window when he called her a liar. Daniels's lawsuit makes explicit reference to all the ways Cohen violated legal ethics rules in the State of New York. If he wants to insist that he did this whole deal on his own, then she'll point out the law requires lawyers to keep their clients informed and not to use personal money to fund a case. He wanted a dirty fight, so she she gave it to him.
But first Daniels needs to get out of the NDA so she can tell her story and sell the dick pics or whatever she's got. She's betting that Trump would rather take the hit from the bad publicity than get embroiled in another campaign finance investigation if he contests the lawsuit.
Which leaves Trump with two options. He can sue her and demand she keep quiet, acknowledging his role in both the affair and the campaign finance violation. Or he can just let her tell her story and hope to weather the ... storm. These are not good options.
But we're sure the Dealmaker in Chief will work it all out. Right after he builds that wall and talks North Korea out of its nukes. YOU BET.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.