Michael Cohen Yuks It Up For House Intel Committee: It's Your SURPRISE LIVEBLOG!
We did not intend to write a liveblog today .... BUT, there are 641 pages of Michael Cohen testimony that just dropped. And they are so full of batshittery! Also, Jay Sekulow, call your lawyer! The pardon dangles, the unspoken agreements, the unpaid bills -- it's like a bad bar mitzvah, as Michael Cohen would say. As he did say, in fact!
VEY IZ MIR! Okay, kids let's get our Borscht Belt on. We've got a hot date with the House Intel Comittee for a bad bar mitzvah -- service on
February 28, 2019, with kiddush to follow on March 6. Bring a nosh in your purse, since the food is terrible. And the portions are so small!
Rarely is the question asked, "Is our children learning?"
THEY IS! House Intel Members are actually outsourcing the questioning to IRL lawyers! Adam Schiff hired Daniel Goldman, a serious litigator, to ask questions instead of just letting members grandstand for five minutes a piece. And it made the whole thing like 10,000 percent less moronic. Sure that dumbass Texas Congressman Ratcliffe derped his ass off, but at least the Democrats hired a professional.
Daniel Goldman, your bar mitzvah date. Mazal Tov! assets.rbl.ms
Hey, remember that time when it was UNPOSSIBLE for Bill Barr to testify to Judiciary because the Committee wanted to use staff to ask questions? LOL, such a whiner.
Donald Trump, Sparkling Conversationalist
Goldman, being an IRL lawyer, is working to establish that Trump's M.O. isn't to say, "Tell this lie." Rather he states his version of the truth, and everyone is expected to repeat it like trained seals.
True for a hamburger, true for false testimony to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow. Allegedly.
Please, let him go down for insurance fraud in the bathroom at Trump Tower
They redacted Melania's humidifier. FOR NATIONAL SECURITY.
So many pathetic little scams!
What does a fixer do, besides mop up Melania's bathroom? WELL! He ratfucks online polls to make it seem like Donald Trump is a respected businessman, then threatens NBC execs when they throw out the worthless results.
He makes sure that all the creditors of Trump University take 20 cents on the dollar, and are bloody grateful to get it.
And sometimes he just repeats whatever the lie of the day is. Because when you're a fixer, that's your job.
Felix Sater, COME ON DOWN!
Have we neglected to give you page numbers? Sorry 'bout that! Around page 30 is where they get to discussing the origins of the Trump Tower Moscow Deal. Apparently, Felix Sater -- the Forrest Gump of American foreign policy, who has been a federal cooperator for like 20 years and helped lead the feds to Bin Laden -- had some bad blood with the Trumps.
There was some bad blood. There was a very bad television piece that took place earlier, and it dealt a lot with Felix's relationship to Mr. Trump. Alan Garten was on television, said some relatively unflattering things. Felix probably leaked some negative stuff, and there was some back-and-forth bad blood between the two. And when Mr. Trump asked Felix to leave the office, it just didn't go well.
So Sater is representing the developer of a highrise in Moscow, and he wants to license the Trump name. But he knows he is dead to Poppy Trump and all the spawn, so he calls up Michael Cohen in October of 2015 and offers him the deal. Cohen convinces Trump to let him run with it, and that's how they ended up trying to negotiate with the Kremlin to get a tacky highrise built in Moscow during the 2016 election.
Oh, and FUNNY STORY! Remember how there was a Letter of Intent with plans for a Ivanka Spa and drawings for the building? Apparently, the whole design was just a placeholder to get the ball rolling.
Or Michael Cohen is lying out his ass. WHO EVEN KNOWS!
Who knows? The kids. They know about the Trump Tower deal from the jump.
So the kids -- including Ivanka, that's called foreshadowing -- know about the deal from November of 2015, and they know Sater is the guy running point in Russia.
Stuff we got wrong, MAYBE
We have said one million times that it was ALWAYS about the sanctions. And we're sticking by that one -- that was Russia's overriding goal. But perhaps Robert Mueller was right, that none of the Trumpers had enough brain cells to form the requisite intent to collude. According to Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization was totally kosher to do license its name for a project in Moscow financed by a sanctioned Russian bank. WHY EVER WOULD IT BE A PROBLEM to do business with people the US Treasury explicitly makes it a crime to do business with?
We also said one million times that Michael Cohen is
dumb as dirt. We were right about that.
The Whinyass Little Bitches of the GOP spent several minutes bitching that they weren't given exhibits in advance.
To which Chairman Schiff responded, FUCKERS, I HAVE THE RECEIPTS.
Don't faint, but if you peek ahead ten pages you'll find Congressman Ratcliffe trying to sneak in exhibits without giving copies to the Democratic members of the Committee.
File Under: Stupid Shit You Forgot Already
Hey remember back in March when the GOP Derp du Jour was some lies about Adam Schiff coaching Michael Cohen before his testimony? Ratliffe spent like ten minutes trying to get Cohen to admit that Schiff had told him what to say and threatening to send him to jail for lying about it.
Ratcliffe thinks he's a real good lawyer. Michael Cohen thought he was a real good lawyer, too. AHEM.
Ooops, did Rep. Ratcliffe inadvertently threaten to charge Mr. Cohen with more crimes?
Golly, he'll try not to do that again!
More Mea Culpa Time
Ratcliffe may be a smarmy little fucker, but he ain't wrong about everything. Walking Michael Cohen through all the allegations in the Steele Dossier and having him deny that he was the mastermind of the whole Russian ratfucking operation is pretty effective. Either Michael Cohen is the best actor in the world, or he's kind of a schlubby hustler.
Was he engaged in clandestine negotiations with the Kremlin for Trump's personal financial benefit: ABSOLUTELY. Was he the clean-up man, paying off the Russian hackers after Manafort got dumped from the campaign: EH....
Michael Cohen's Got Your Obstruction of Justice RIGHT HERE
Maybe don't ask an open-ended question, RatFace. Because threatening to put a witness's wife and father-in-law in jail might be considered a wee tiny bit of witness tampering.
Do you need A BLACK FRIEND? Michael Cohen's got the hook up!
Diamond and Silk? Darrell Scott and all his TOP GANG THUGS? Michael Cohen brings the rainbow!
Michael Cohen's got JOKES!
Was Michael Cohen medicated after his recent shoulder surgery? Or was he just punch drunk from exhaustion and stress? Dunno, but this bad bar mitzvah got weirder and weirder.
The OTHER Trump Tower Deal
Okay, this is probably another red herring, but just in case it turns out to be the detail that blows this whole thing wide open, we should probably mention that Michael Cohen had a back up plan for the Trump Tower Moscow that he was working with a Georgian-American developer named Giorgi Rtskhiladze. The Mueller Report refers to a text from Rtskhiladze to Cohen in October of 2016 saying, "Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else. Just so you know..." Cohen professes to believe that there never really were any tapes, and the Rtskhiladze deal appears never to have gone anyway. But Rtskhiladze did claim to have contacted the Kremlin and mayor of Moscow on Trump/Cohen's behalf. So, if Christopher Steele picked up "chatter" about Cohen putting out feelers all over Russia, this might well be where it came from.
OR IT COULD BE YET ANOTHER DEAD END.
Hey, remember that time Michael Cohen hit up all those rich guys to give money to the RNC?
MICHAEL COHEN REMEMBERS.
Steve Wynn? You mean that old perv the RNC keeps taking money from after they tried to claim that Hillary Clinton did Benghazi with Harvey Weinstein? That train is never late.
Ratcliffe is, like, REALLY BAD at this!
Is he as bad as Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows? Hard to say! Here he is doing GOTCHAS to get Michael Cohen to admit that Donald Trump told him to lie to Congress.
Here he is doing GOTCHAS to make Michael Cohen admit that Donald Trump directed him to make an illegal corporate, errr ... campaign contribution.
How many crimes did Donald Trump ask you to commit, Mr. Cohen? Again, THIS IS NOT A TRICK QUESTION.
Then Ratcliffe asked Michael Cohen how Donald Trump could be at fault for a check Michael Cohen wrote to himself to pay him back for the Stormy Daniels payout. Yeah, sound it out ... and then you'll know how we feel reading a hundred pages of Congressman Dipshit trying to do GOTCHAS and getting his ass kicked by Cooley Law's most famous disbarred graduate.
If we might paraphrase ....
RATCLIFFE: Weren't you lying when you said Donald Trump was a Russian agent, Mister Cohen?
COHEN: For the seventh time, I never said he was an agent. I said it was weird that Roger Stone called and said Wikileaks was going to dump all Hillary's emails, then it actually happened.
RATCLIFFE: Objection, HEARSAY!
COHEN: Dude, I just got disbarred and all, but you know that Wikileaks actually did dump the emails during the campaign, right?
RATCLIFFE: My point exactly. Because you say you spent all day with Trump every day, and yet you never saw any Russian spying. Don't you think you would have known if he was a spy?
OH THANK GOD, It's Mike Conaway!
JK! This actually happened -- not even paraphrasing.
MR. CONAWAY: I'll talk real loud. On page 3, you said that you filed false financial statements with Deutsche Bank. Was Deutsche Bank your largest creditor? Or how did you -- l'm sorry, page 3 of your statement. Was Deutsche Bank your largest creditor? Why did you list that bank and not some other bank?
MR. COHEN: Congressman, I don't agree with your question. I never stated that Mr. Trump filed false financial statements with Deutsche Bank.
MR. CONAWAY: No, I said you did.
MR. COHEN: I didn't say that. Where do you -- that's not what it says.
MR. CONAWAY: All right, so why did you list Deutsche Bank on your statement? ls that the largest creditor at that point in time?
MR. COHEN: My creditor? Or are you talking about The Trump Organization?
MR. CONAWAY: I assume those copies of financial statements that you filed were your financial statements.
MR. COHEN: No, sir. They're personalfinancial statements of Donald Trump.
Never thought we'd say it but ... WE MISS TREY GOWDY.
How DUMB is Don Jr? REAL DUMB.
We all know that Poppy thinks Deej has "the worst judgment in the world." But did you know that Cohen got involved with the Trumps because DJ was going to default on a $3 million loan and it would have been so humiliating that Poppy had to bail him out? Almost like that time when Fred Trump sent his own fixer to Trump's casino to buy up all those chips so his dipshit kid wouldn't default. Like father like son!
Anyway, in Cohen's telling, it was probably Don Sr. who forced Jared and Paul Manafort to sit in on that meeting with all the Russians promising sexxxy Russian dirts on Hillary Clinton, since everyone knows Don Jr. needs an escort to the men's room to make sure he unzips his pants before taking a leak.
And the reason -- again, this is my opinion - the reason why Jared and Manafort were in the room at the time was because he would never let Don do that by himself So after - this is, again, my speculation from 10 years of being around both of them. He would turn around and say, Dad, I got a - I'm taking this meeting. Okay. He doesn't trust him. "Make sure Jared," who is the secretary of everything, "along with Manafort," who was the campaign chairman at the time, "make sure that they're in the room with you. Make sure they join."
Did the Trump Org make an EVIDENCE OOPSIE?
Heckuva coincidence that the Trump organization inadvertently fails to produce an email for the Special Counsel that would prove the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations went on past January 2016, huh? What are the odds!
WUT? Apparently, Robert Mueller showed Cohen the email from the assistant to the secretary to Vladimir Putin about arranging a visit to Moscow, and that's how Cohen figured out it wasn't in the batch produced by the Trump Organization, who by then had custody of his Trump Org emails.
Joint Defense Agreement: LET'S TALK LAWYERS
This is going to be important for later. Just trust us.
Donald Trump had like a dozen joint defense agreements going -- with Manafort, Flynn, Gates, maybe even Jerome Corsi. Who the hell even knows. According to Michael Cohen, he was in a verbal joint defense agreement with several people, united by Donald Trump's promise to foot the bill for all their lawyers. Those people are:
- Donald Trump, represented by Jay Sekulow
- Jared and Ivanka Kushner, represented by Abbe Lowell
- Don Jr, represented by Alan Futerfas
- The Trump Organization, represented by Alan Futerfas and Allen Garten
- Michael Cohen, represented by Stephen Ryan
The joint defense agreement was terminated after the privilege review of the documents seized on the raid of Michael Cohen's office because, having gotten a good look at all the cards Michael Cohen was holding, the Trump team had no further use for him and quit paying his legal bills.
Because Mr. Trump didn't pay McDermott Will & Emory and left a pretty large outstanding invoice. So, therefore, there was no point in bringing them in on the JDA. ln all fairness, McDermott Will & Emory did all the work for everybody and then got stiffed. So I wasn't going to now do that to Petrillo and owe even more money.
Cheap bastard coulda kept Cohen onside if he was only willing to keep paying the lawyers!
Michael Cohen's Got MORE Jokes!
Try the veal, folks!
How you livin', Jay Sekulow?
President Talking Hairpiece's talking hairpiece lawyer Jay Sekulow (aka, perpetrator of the greatest Christian scam foundation EVER) may be feeling a little hot under his starched white collar today. Remember how that email showing Michael Cohen communicating with the Kremlin in spring of 2016 mysteriously failed to make it into the evidence produced for Robert Mueller? Turns out, in (supposed) absence of that email, Jay Sekulow was perfectly comfortable coaching Michael Cohen to lie to Congress and say that the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations had concluded in January.
COHEN: We talked about staying on message. And the message was always was whether I was -- when I was with Mr. Trump or during these conversations, it was always about to stay on message, which is there's no Russia, there's no collusion, there's no business deals. And that was the message that we were staying on. And that was the message that I was going to put into the statement, and -
LAWYER: So, if I can interrupt, this statement deals only with the Trump Tower Moscow.
COHEN: Yes. But the reason it stops in January of 2016 is because the documents that we had, meaning Steve Ryan, were -- there were text messages between Felix and myself. And there's one in January where I said to him: l'm done. We're finished. And that's the message prior to the "if you don't believe me, call Peskov" text. That's why we used January as the date.
LAWYER: Did you discuss that with Jay Sekulow?
LAWYER: And what did he say about using January as the date?
COHEN: Good. Good. Let's just stay on message. Keep this thing short.
First of all, WHY THE HELL did Cohen's lawyer let his client have all those one-on-one conversations with Sekulow? And second of all, JAY SEKULOW, CALL YOUR LAWYER.
Just to be clear, Sekulow know Cohen's testimony was bullshit, right?
COOL COOL. Jay Sekulow went over Cohen's false testimony, told him "the boss loves you" and this will all be "over in six weeks." Just normal lawyer stuff, like when you meet with your client Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, a potentially adverse party, without his lawyer present, in the Oval Office to discuss whether or not to cooperate with a Congressional investigation.
Michael Cohen's got EVEN MORE Jokes!
Dude just gave away his last ever fuck.
Donald Trump was MOST IMPRESSED with Michael Cohen's Sealed Congressional Testimony. Wait ... WHAT?
So Michael Cohen toed the party line and told Congress that he never did talk to no Russians after January 2016, after which he got a hearty attaboy conveyed through his trusty old pal Jay. But Adam Schiff is just wondering how Donald Trump knows what Michael Cohen told the House Intel Committee behind closed doors.
Hey, Devin Nunes, any thoughts on how everyone in Trumpland found out so fast what a good little boy Michael Cohen was in a sealed congressional hearing?
A Man's Got to Have a Code, If Only so he Can Violate the Shit Out of It!
You know, just to give you an example when you asked about code. So I'm sitting with a friend of mine in a car. We were heading to Teterboro (ph) Airport. And I get a phone call from Mr. Trump - President Trump. And the First Lady is on the phone at the same time.
And that was right after the announcement about the $130,000 payment. Now, obviously, he knows that I paid it. We'd had months'worth of conversation about it, not to mention he's already started to pay me back. And he says to me, Michael, he goes, did you really pay $130,000 to Stormy Daniels?
And I said, yes. And he, of course, had the First Lady on the phone. And I was like, yes. So he goes, well, why'd you do that? I said, well, because sometimes, you know, just because something's not true doesn't mean that it can't hurt you. He goes, wow. He goes, Melania, do you believe that? He took $130,000 out of his pocket.
And he goes, why didn't you tell me about it? I said, well, I figured I would tell you, but I expected you were going to lose the election. You know, then I would have told you. But, unfortunately, you won, and, you know, I guess I'lljust call it a cost of doing business.
He's like, man, you're the greatest. He goes, I can't believe that. I don't believe Melania believed it for a half a second, but that was the code, He didn't have to tell me in advance to lie to the First Lady. I knew exactly what he was saying.
Nope, you cannot make us feel sorry for Melania. Not going to happen. WE DON'T CARE, AND NEITHER DO U.
Another Pardon Dangle? Jay Sekulow's a BUSY BOY.
Holy obstruction of justice, Batman! John Dowd dangled pardons to Flynn and Manafort, and Jay Sekulow dangled them to Cohen?
Let's skip ahead to the news coverage of this for a hot second. The Washington Post reports:
Jane Serene Raskin and Patrick Strawbridge, attorneys for Sekulow, said in a statement that "Cohen's alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen's 'instinct to blame others is strong.' "
Jane Serene Raskin is Trump's attorney, so we're not clear how she can also be Sekulow's as well. Although, Donald Trump seems to possess a magic force field that turns lawyers' brains to goop so .... anything's possible. They are already arguing that Sekulow's conversation with Cohen is protected by attorney-client privilege, since the conversation took place when the joint defense agreement was in effect. And Adam Schiff -- who is definitely going to subpoena Jay Sekulow, will argue that it falls under the crime-fraud exception to privilege. It's gonna be a HOT MESS.
Apparently, Donald Trump and his legal team discussed giving everyone a "pre-pardon" to shut down the entire Mueller investigation, but decided against it because, without possible legal jeopardy, everyone could be forced to testify and barred from invoking their Fifth Amendment right to keep their yaps shut.
YEAH, LET'S TAKE OUR TIME. WOULDN'T WANT TO BE OVERHASTY WITH THOSE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS.
Robert Costello, Call Your Lawyer!
Remember Rudy Giuliani's lawyer buddy Robert Costello who approached Michael Cohen with a cool plan to keep Donald Trump in the loop even after Cohen flipped? The guy who Cohen accused of dangling a pardon and saying he could sleep well because he had "friends in high places?"
Well, there are two redacted sections in the questioning about pardons that sure as hell look like they're referring to Costello. And we guessing that's NOT because SDNY thinks he's so #BeBest at practicing law that they asked Congress to keep his name out of this whole mess.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Maybe. If Rebecca makes us. But now it's time for carpool.
LOCK THEM UP.
WE ALMOST forgot to ask you for money. As always! And follow Your FDF on Twitter!
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.