Michael Cohen, Liveblogged On Tape Before A Closed Door Intel Committee Studio Audience
Okay, we admit it. We skipped ahead and "live-blogged" in the night. After writing 4,000 words about Michael Cohen yesterday, we COULD. NOT. STOP. Lock us up in the cell next to Michael Cohen, we hear he's got JOKES. Seriously, here's Michael Cohen talking about Robert Costello, the attorney Rudy (allegedly) dispatched to dangle a pardon after Cohen flipped, without using his name.
LAWYER: Close to the President.
LAWYER: Employed by the White House?
COHEN: What, are we playing that game where you put it on your forehead?
LAWYER I'm grasping for straws here, Mr. Cohen. I'm just trying to figure out who the - not the intermediary. You don't have to talk about the intermediary.
COHEN: Well, if you ask me any more questions, it's either the person or King Kong, right?
Mike Conaway (R-Irrelevance) got the ball rolling by reminding Cohen that he was still under oath -- "Typically, it finishes off with, 'So help me God,' some phrase like that." Not that he wanted Cohen to swear again, but Mike Conaway was just sayin'. Can Mike Conaway pour piss from a boot with instructions written on the heel? We would not swear to it!
Also, either Robert Costello's name is redacted all over this document because he's getting an award for excellence in legal ethics and they don't want to ruin the surprise, or he's in deep shit with SDNY. (Spoiler Alert ...)
Alright, whatcha got for us Mikey?
Verbal Contracts, the Very Finest Kind
In his telling, Michael Cohen, President Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka, Jared, and the Trump Organization all agreed VERBALLY to spread a nice, warm blanket of privilege over themselves so as to be able to get their stories straight.
Everyone was going to work together for the common purpose of staying on message.
Poppy Trump was going to pay everyone's legal bills, and they'd all live happily ever after. Except, wake up Sleeping Beauty, Donald Trump ALWAYS stiffs his lawyers. Which is how this particular joint defense agreement fell apart, since McDermott, Will & Emery quit working when they quit getting paid, at which point it dawned on Michael Cohen that he was about to get hung out to dry.
Did Vanky Make a FIB?
Oh, noes! Unpossible that princess could get her lawyer Abbe Lowell to tell oopsies on her behalf. Have you not eyes to see how very tall and very blonde she is, cretin?
Since the last time he testified, Cohen went home and dug up the edits each lawyer asked for in his written testimony to Congress. Here's what Abbe Lowell asked for, according to the email chain:
- Ivanka was "not involved in the backs and forths with FS and MC." Only, according to MC (Michael Cohen), Ivanka was kept abreast of his ongoing negotiations with FS (Felix Sater), so she knew damn well that the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations continued through the summer and his testimony that it ended in January, 2016 was a LIE.
- Lowell also wanted the testimony altered to say that Ivanka "did not know FS was involved in the possible project in that country." MC says this one is bullshit, as well.
- Despite the fact that Vanky spoke on the phone with "the wife of Dmitry Klokov" about the project, Lowell wanted Cohen to testify that, "She was not in any meetings or calls with people putting it together (especially from that country)." (We could tell you who Dmitry Klokov is, but then we'd have to give you CPR when you slipped into a coma from boredom.)
- Princess wanted Cohen to testify that she was, like, totally skeeved out by Sater. "And maybe that, by the, MC knew she was at the least skeptical about him." You know, if Cohen wasn't willing to out and out perjure himself and say that he never discussed it with her, perhaps he'd be wiling to say he dragged her into it kicking and screaming?
Lowell also asked Cohen to say that he "did not discuss Mr. Sater's recommendations, requests, ideas, or even his involvement in any aspect of this potential project with lvanka Trump."
Lawsplainer: Hello Felix, Goodbye Privilege
Okay, Pop Quiz! Ready?
Which of these people was NOT involved in that "verbal" joint defense agreement:
- Michael Cohen
- Donald Trump
- Dipshit Junior
- Felix Sater
If you picked Felix, then MAZAL TOV. In fact, the presence of a third party destroys any attorney-client privilege, and with it the right of confidentiality. Hey, look who showed up on the email chain to edit Cohen's congressional testimony?
Looks like everyone here can be called to testify about it because they included a third party to the defense agreement. WOMP WOMP.
Well, yeah, obviously Sekulow. But Lowell??? WTF!
How many times did Michael Cohen swear that Sekulow knew the statement they were workshopping was full of LIES? About a million. But Cohen is equally certain that Abbe Lowell, a lawyer with an otherwise sterling reputation, was not just repeating what his client had told him, but actively knew that he was encouraging Cohen to testify falsely to Congress.
All we can say is ... consider the source. AHEM.
Nunes Up at Bat!
MR. NUNES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. l will yield to Ms. Stefanik.
MS. STEFANIK: Thank you, Ranking Member Nunes. Thank you, Mr. Cohen, for your patience today.
And nothing of value was lost. Well, except for the Committee's time, since Rep. Stefanik spent the next eleventy minutes trying to GOTCHA Michael Cohen into saying that Adam Schiff and the Democratic staff lawyers coached him on his testimony and so it is LOCK THEM UP.
OH CHRIST, It's Conaway Again!
Rep. Mike Conaway, a man who somehow manages to chew his own food without suffocating (although we've never seen him do it), wants to know if Michael Cohen STOLED those dummied up financial statements from Donald Trump and thus it is UNLEGAL for Congress to investigate whether Trump committed fraud.
MR. CONAWAY: So how is it you took company property away from the company into your own possession? How did that happen?
MR. COHEN: They were in files, and ...
MR. CONAWAY: Were they company files? The point I'm getting to, Mr. Cohen, I don't think they were yours to give out. Were they? So you - for lack of a better phrase, did you steal those -
MR. COHEN: They gave them - the documents were given -
MR. CONAWAY: Did you steal them?
MR. COHEN: No, I did not steal them, sir. I actually -
MR. MONICO: Let him finish. Finish the question.
MR. CONAWAY: Did you steal the financial statements from the company, inadvertently?
MR. COHEN: No.
MR. CONAWAY: So how is it you took them in your personal possession if they were company property?
MR. COHEN: They were given to me, sir. They were also given to other -
MR. CONAWAY: They were given to you in your role as an employee.
Chris Stewart, FINE IF WE HAVE TO!
We were hoping to ignore this guy, but it looks like we'll have to talk about this walking loaf of Wonder Bread from Utah. After failing to get Michael Cohen to admit that the evil Democrats coached him on his testimony, he just stated it as fact himself.
MR. COHEN: No, sir, because, again, they're the ones that reached out to me. Had the minority reached out, I would have met with you as well. My sole purpose was to be able to find what documents that they were interested in obtaining from me to see if I had them. And I gave them, and I suspect that you probably have seen them as well.
MR. STEWART: That might have been your sole purpose in this meeting, but much more than that -
MR. COHEN: That as well as to clear the record.
MR. STEWART: Much more than that took place, though, as we've already discussed. You had hours-long conversations regarding your testimony, reviewing questions that you might be asked, reviewing potential answers. Much more than that took place.
Rep. Stewart, a sitting member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a full two years into the Russia investigation, then went on to ask WHO IN THE WORLD IS FELIX SATER?
I don't know who Mr. Sater is. I don't know why he's important. There seems to be a lot of questions regarding that. Help me understand. Who is Mr. Sater? How does he fit into this whole thing?
And, NO, we have no intention of splaining to you who Felix Sater is. Because, unlike Mike Conaway, we're pretty sure you follow this shit. And are not A IDIOT. (Hint: He's the guy who wrote that the Trump Tower Moscow would ensure Donald Trump's election, "Buddy, our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it!")
Here, watch Rep. Stewart, who was in the room when Cohen went over this on February 28, play tic-tac-toe against himself AND LOSE.
MR. STEWART: Can you describe any other reason why they would have asked him to leave after this negative information came out?
MR. COHEN: He wasn't paying rent for the room. He wasn't an employee of The Trump Organization.
MR. STEWART: Do you know any of those to be true?
MR. COHEN: Well, he was not paying rent, and he was in the office that I eventually took. He also had one of his employees, his own personal employees in the bullpen outside of the office. There was some bad blood, again, that resulted from the negative press. So there are many reasons.
MR. STEWART: Okay. l'm just curious. I don't think it's really meaningful, but it's curious to me. What -- he wasn't an employee. He had to pay rent. Was he in arrears for a long period of time, do you know?
MR. COHEN: I'm sorry?
MR. STEWART: Was he in arrears on his rent for a long period of time?
MR. COHEN: I'm not aware that there was ever any rent.
MR. STEWART: Maybe I misunderstood the answer to your question. I thought you said that he had not paid -
MR. COHEN: There was no rent. So he was there rent-free. His job was to source deals. That's why Mr. Trump allowed him to stay in that office.
Republicans Nope Out
After Rep. Stewart got both his hands stuck in a Kleenex box (probably), Reps. Stefanik and Ratcliffe used up the rest of the minority's time yelling at Cohen for having secret meetings with the Democrats and accusing Adam Schiff of hiding things from them. Then all the Gippers ... left. Because they'd gotten enough copy for Hannity, and it was time to hit the showers.
MR. COHEN: I lost all my Republican friends.
THE CHAIRMAN: The minority counsel has authorized us to begin in the absence of the Republican members
You could not make this shit up.
Conflict of Interest, HOW DO IT GO?
It's worth pointing out here that Jay Sekulow, in addition to allegedly dangling a pardon and assisting in fabricating Cohen's false testimony to Congress, has some pretty outstanding conflict of interest issues. And we're going to go out on a limb and guess that a guy who operated under a "verbal" joint defense agreement failed to get Michael Cohen to waive those conflicts in writing.
LAWYER: You testified last time that you met in the Oval Office with Donald Trump and Jay Sekulow in or about May of 2017?
LAWYER: During which conversation you discussed the possibility of a pardon. ls that accurate?
COHEN: Correct. To the best of my recollection, yes.
LAWYER: At that time was Jay Sekulow the President's lawyer?
COHEN: During the first meeting he was not, he actually was my attorney.
LAWYER: He was your attorney at that time?
COHEN: Yes. I brought him into the White House, and it was ultimately decided that he would represent the President and then provided me with the name of - and I think I testified to this last time -- and provided me with the names of a couple of different attorneys that I should reach out to. The first one I reached out to they had a conflict, the second one didn't want to do it because of previous payment issues, and the third one ended up being Steve Ryan.
So, Donald Trump poaches Cohen's lawyer, promises to buy him a new one, and then the attorney he refers him to won't take Cohen as a client because he knows Trump is a lousy pay. Natch.
Robert Costello, So Fucked They Aren't Even Bothering to Redact His Name Any More
After going on the record another hundred times to say that Jay Sekulow dangled a pardon all the way up until spring of 2018, Cohen went on to name Robert Costello, Giuliani's buddy who presented himself as a back channel to Pardonland after Cohen flipped.
COHEN: According to Mr. Costello he knows Rudy for over 30 years, that they're extremely close. And continuously through all my communications with him, he touted that relationship, that it's extremely important to have him on board as a back channel in order to get messages and get what you need from the President and the White House staff.
LAWYER: And what did you understand that to mean?
LAWYER: We're going to go through some of the documents in a minute, but just to set the scene. Did Mr. Costello ever relay to you that Rudy Giuliani was, on behalf of the President, offering you a pardon if you did not cooperate?
COHEN: I don't think that those are the terms or the way that he expressed it.
LAWYER: So how did he express it?
COHEN: That he's extremely close to Rudy. That it's extremely important that he remain on board. That all the things that you would want, you know, we can work on, we can make happen for you. But you need us to be part of your team, because the connection, again, is that backdoor channel to Rudy Giuliani, hence the President.
Nice of him to put all that in an email for posterity. And the SDNY.
That sound you hear is every lawyer in America banging their heads on the desk at once.
OH LORD, Dumb and Dumber are Back!
First Ratcliffe said it was UNPOSSIBLE for Trump to have obstructed justice by dangling a pardon because, last week, when Racliffe asked Cohen if Trump obstructed justice, he didn't mention the pardon dangle. And why would a Wookiee - an eight foot tall Wookiee - want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!
And then something about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Because if Democratic staffers ask Cohen a question about something before the hearing, they are BARRED BY LAW from asking him about it on the record? Or, honestly, who the hell knows what this idiot is on about.
MR. RATCLIFFE: So my question was, we talked about earlier I said, did you discuss with members of the Democratic staff of either committee the catch and kill operations against people who were making allegations against Mr. Trump? I heard you to say yes. ls that right?
MR. COHEN: That is correct. I also stated I wasn't sure which, you know, committee I had spoken to.
MR. RATCLIFFE: That's fine. But my question is -- so my question is, last week when Ms. Ocasio-Cortez asked you a question in a public hearing about the catch and kill program and the people who were making allegations against Mr. Trump, you had previously had a conversation with Democratic staff about that same issue?
MR. COHEN: I can't tell you that that's a question Ms. Ocasio-Cortez stated.
MR. RATCLIFFE: That's my question. l just want to make sure that the record is clear. When she asked you that question on that subject, that you had previously discussed the same issue with Democratic staff members?
MR. COHEN: lf she asked me that question?
MR. RATCLIFFE: lf she asked you that question.
MR. COHEN: Then the answer would be yes.
It's a steep bar! Can Rep. Stewart out-stupid Rep. Ratcliffe?
YES HE CAN. First he asked whether it was possible that Jay Sekulow and Robert Costello were offering to pardon Cohen themselves, since Michael Cohen wasn't in the room when they talked to Trump, so how even could he be sure! And then ...
MR. STEWART: Again, I think you answered this, but I want to just for clarity and to understand, he had worked for the Trump campaign or Organization for about how long?
MR. COHEN: So Mr. Sater never worked with the campaign.
MR. STEWART: But he had an office in the organization?
MR. COHEN: On the 26th floor, yes.
MR. STEWART: And I'm sorry, I maybe confused you, because I did say campaign. But for The Trump Organization is what my questions are.
MR. COHEN: He never worked for The Trump Organization.
MR. STEWART: Can you explain that, how he has an office there but he doesn't work for the organization?
Have we mentioned that Cohen's got JOKES?
Eventually Rep. Stewart got bored asking how Felix Sater got fired if he never had a job HENGHHHH and wondering if maybe Cohen forgot an important detail like Rep. Stewart always forgets his wife's birthday (yes, for real) and he wandered off. For all we know he got lost in the Committee room, and is stranded in the corner there still.
MR. STEWART: Thank you. Ranking member? I believe we yield our time.
MR. NUNES: We yield back this time.
MR. STEWART: We will give you 8 minutes of your life back.
MR. COHEN: With that 8 minutes, I'll have a cookie.
The record does not reflect whether Cohen was maniacally laughing. Let's assume YES. Shortly after, when asked if he understood that Sekulow and Costello were required by law and legal ethics to only make offers after consultation with their client, he replied:
Yes. Though as a disbarred lawyer, I no longer remember any of those. I've wiped them from my brain. I'm sorry.
Michael Cohen is fresh outta fucks to give.
Okay, to save you from terminal boredom, here are the main points from the fifty pages of granular testimony on the failed Trump Tower Moscow Deal:
- It was going to make Trump shitloads of MONEY. And yes, it had occurred to Michael Cohen that the Russians were eager to make such a sweet bargain with him because Trump was running for president.
- The deal finally fell apart because Felix Sater couldn't conclusively prove that he had secured the land to make it happen.
- Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric all knew about the Trump Tower Moscow project because it was in an Excel spreadsheet of loose ends to be tied up after the election, which is how they knew they needed to terminate the Letter of Intent in 2017.
- Cohen told Trump about Sater's idea to give Vladimir Putin the penthouse to boost the value of the other units, and he thought it was HILARIOUS.
- Ivanka's full of shit that she didn't know much about the project, since she was fixated on getting a "starchitect" to design her namesake spa.
It's ALWAYS Ukraine-Thirty With These Guys!
According to Michael Cohen, Felix Sater called him in January of 2017 and insists that he come meet a Ukrainian named Andrey Artemenko at the Lowes Regency Hotel.
So Artemenko introduced himself, told me that he was a member of Parliament in the Ukraine, okay. And then he turned around and told me he was going to be running for the presidency of the Ukraine, that he's the Donald Trump of the Ukraine. Okay, that's great. Then he proceeded to tell me that he was aware that there were significant, significant dollars being stolen from USAID that was being sent to the Ukraine, and he had all the proof, and that was some of the things he was going to campaign on, the corruption that's taking place in the Ukrainian Parliament by its leadership. [...] A That they were stealing money from USAID. And I said, I'm pretty sure Mr. Trump wouldn't be happy about that. You should certainly notify the White House. [...] Artemenko then took over and he said, I also think that in order to stop all the killing that's going on in Crimea, that the way to do it would be for the Ukraine to lease to Russia for 100 years, Crimea. lt would stop over 10,000 deaths.
And herein lies the problem with every single facet of the Mueller Investigation: You know damn well that the Russians were doing their best to COLLUDE with Trumpland. But everyone on this side of the water is just such a bumbling idiot! Was this a Russian effort to get the White House to bless a forced "lease" of Crimea to Russia? Or was it just a bunch of dipshit amateurs playing bigboy businessman?
COHEN: Then I sort of thanked him for his time. I finished my coffee and chocolate chip cookie. And I realized I was swimming in a lane that I had no business in, and I picked myself up. I thanked him. And they then asked me if I would take a document. And I said, for what reason? They said, well, who can we send this to? I said, you should send it to the White House and send it attention: President Trump, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They said they don't need a ZIP code, they know where the Capitol is. They said, well, who else can we send it too? So I said Michael Flynn. So he said, well, why Michael Flynn? Well, he's the only guy who has actually a post position as of right now, and that's who you probably should send it to. He said, okay, would you take a copy? so I said, sure. I didn't want to insult him. He was a member of Parliament. So I took it. lt's a one-pager, two-page. And it really wasn't about Crimea. lt was Felix had typed out the notes for what he wanted to discuss since Andrey Artemenko doesn't write in English. So I said, Sure. I took a copy. And as I was walking home, I threw it in the garbage can.
LAWYER: You never delivered it to Michael Flynn?
COHEN: No. I didn't think it would be nice to throw it away in front of his face.
LAWYER: Did you ever receive a letter from Felix Sater in connection to this Ukraine peace plan?
COHEN: lt's a bullet point. lt said, lease Crimea to Russia 100 years. I wouldn't call it a peace plan. l'd call it a bullet point
So maybe COLLUSION? Or maybe just .... CONFUSION?
Wait, the oligarchs want to sell vapes to the VA? WHO WHAT NOW?
Remember that Russian oligarch Victor Vekselberg and his American cousin Andrew Intrater who contributed $250,000 for inauguration tickets? Of course you don't! Why the hell would you remember something like that? But you probably remember that Michael Cohen started collecting all these consulting fees after the election, and one of the contracts was $1 million per year from Intrater's venture capital fund Columbus Nova. The contract was terminated once the shit hit the fan with Robert Mueller, but before that, Cohen managed to hook Intrater up with the the Veteran's Administration to flog his Juul knock-offs as a healthy alternative to cigarettes for soldiers.
So I spoke to David Shulkin about Andy lntrater is an investor, or Columbus Nova is an investor in - not Juul - Enjoy, which is one of the e-cigarettes. And one of the things he wanted to do is to get a name so that they could send a proposal to stop veterans from smoking tobacco, but rather to use Enjoy as opposed to cigarettes.
They also had an exciting plan to market alcoholic popsicles at Steve Wynn's casinos, but unfortunately Cohen's underage kids ate them all. Or something???
And because of my relationship to Steve Wynn, we were going to bring them to the Wynn as a test where instead of taking 100 people in order to sell a thousand drinks, here you have ice pops, which are more refreshing that taste exactly like it. And unfortunately, my kids sucked them up even though they're underage, but don't tell anybody, and they thought that they tasted exactly like a regular drink.
To be fair, Cohen, who was recovering from shoulder surgery and begging to get out of the room so he could take a pill and get a cortisone injection, had more or less stopped making sense at that point.
And a mere 5000 random questions later, it was OVER!
NO, he doesn't think Russians finance the golf courses -- they mostly pay for themselves. And Trump gets money from Deutsche Bank and Steve Mnuchin anyway.
NO, he didn't see a lot of foreign money routed through the campaign or the inauguration.
YEAH, Trump totally used the foundation to launder cash so he wouldn't have to pay income tax on it.
YEAH, Cohen totally thinks Ben Stiller nails him on Saturday Night Live.
And if you have any more questions, you know where to find him.
You can call me at Otisville State Penitentiary Camp. Thank you guys so much!
Such a KIDDER that guy!
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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.