Not So Fast, Wingers! There Are Still One Or A Thousand Pending Investigations.
BREAKING! The guy who sent Trump a letter saying, "Presidents are kings who can't obstruct justice, hire me!" has found that the president didn't obstruct justice! Thanks, Bill Barr -- you're a hell of a wingman.
While we await the release of the REAL Mueller report, as opposed to the Barr whitewash letter, let's take a moment to remind ourselves that the president's legal troubles are in no way at an end. He might well get away with playing footsie with the Russians, winking and nodding about sanctions and gratefully accepting the massive electoral boost from Putin's pet hackers, but he's not getting away with all of it. So here's a helpful list of the pending legal threats to the Trumpland gangsters.
Donald Trump may be screwing around, but the SDNY prosecutors are not! They've got him by the short and Yetis in a conspiracy with Michael Cohen and the National Enquirer to benefit the Trump campaign by paying women for their silence -- an illegal campaign contribution -- and laundering those payments through the Trump Organization. That Idiot and Idiot Jr. were both stupid enough to sign the reimbursement checks with their very own tiny doll hands. Trump also failed to disclose the debt to Michael Cohen on his financial disclosure, which may explain why his lawyer Sherri Dillon tried so hard to get the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to accept it unsigned. Dillon and former White House lawyer Stefan Passentino, now employed at the Trump Org, natch, have been summoned by the House Oversight Committee to 'splain why they told OGE that Michael Cohen's retainer agreement was "legally privileged," when no such retainer agreement actually exists. Probably an honest mistake, right?
Roger Stone and Julian Assange and Wikileaks, OH MY!
Bill Barr was pretty careful to say that Mueller "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." As to coordination with non-state actors, like Wikileaks, Bill Barr was conspicuously silent. Roger Stone has been charged with lying to the government about his contacts with Wikileaks during the campaign, and it's pretty clear that Assange himself is under investigation, if not secret indictment. How did Wikileaks come to coordinate its doc dumps with the Trump campaign? Not clear! But Roger Stone is under gag order pending his trial in November and has so far been unable to keep his damn mouth shut. So, the next stop for him is the pokey, where he might suddenly become a lot chattier. And we note that Jay Sekulow has flatly refused to release Trump's answers to Mueller's questions about contacts with Stone and Wikileaks. Hmmmmmm.
Remember how Trump raised almost twice as much for his inauguration as Barack Obama, and the big acts were Toby Keith and a troop of baton twirlers from suburban Wichita? When prosecutors raided Michael Cohen's office they found a tape of him discussing potential price-gouging by the Trump Hotel, and Mueller has since indicted one of Manafort's cronies for acting as a straw purchaser to buy inauguration tickets for a Ukrainian gangster. As of last week, there were SIX pending investigations of the inaugural fuckery, if we may just quote our own selves here:
- Manhattan US Attorney's Office, aka SDNY: They got the ball rolling after seizing Michael Cohen's tapes and finding a recording of the head party planner worrying about the Trump Hotels gouging on the room rentals;
- Brooklyn US Attorney's Office, aka EDNY: These guys are wondering if illegal foreign donors used strawmen to funnel cash to the inauguration. More on that in a hot second;
- Special Counsel's Office: Having already indicted and gotten a plea from Manafort's associate Sam Patten for acting as a straw purchaser to buy inauguration tickets for Ukrainian billionaire Pavel Fuchs, Mr. Mueller would like to know why there were so many other shady Ukrainians at the inauguration festivities;
- House Judiciary Committee: Chairman Nadler has questions for the Inaugural Committee, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen about the inauguration;
- New Jersey Attorney General: Gurbir Grewal is making Trump's people an offer they can't refuse to hand over financial documents; and
- DC Attorney General: Karl Racine would like an accounting of money paid by the inaugural committee to Trump hotels and the Trump Organization.
Presumably, Mueller will pass his piece off to SDNY or someone at Main Justice in DC. But this investigation is not going away.
Remember how Trump's pal Tam Barrack and Paul Manafort set up the Rebuilding America PAC to mop up unlimited Ameros? Remember that Manafort's longtime pollster, Tony Fabrizio, was running a media company that paid kickbacks to Manafort and his buddies through the PAC? Remember that Tony Fabrizio was simultaneously working for the Trump campaign and likely did the polling that Manafort secretly passed to his buddy Konstantin Kilimnik? Hey, guess what! None of that goes away with the conclusion of the Mueller investigation. Federal prosecutors in DC will pick right up on that strand when Mueller closes up shop, not to mention whatever investigations the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees launch.
What Michael Cohen Is Going to Do to You Will Be FUCKING DISGUSTING!
After Michael Cohen testified to Congress that HELL YEAH Trump fudged financial documents to inflate/deflate his net worth and debt to suit the occasion, a thousand investigations bloomed. (Wonkette may be rounding up.) New York's Department of Financial Services subpoenaed Trump's longtime insurance broker, the New York AG joined Auntie Maxine's Financial Services Committee examining Trump's dealings with Deutsche Bank, and the Ways and Means Committee's demand to get Trump's tax returns kicked into high gear.
These joined the New York AG's pending investigation of the Trump family for using their "charitable foundation" as a slush fund to purchase hideous portraits of His Orangeness and illegal use of donated cash to support Trump's 2016 electoral campaign.
Trump is currently being sued by Michael Cohen, for failure to pay his legal fees, and former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, for defamation because Trump said she was lying about his sexual advances. Who knows what shady shit is going to come out when those lawyers get to depose Trump and the people around him!
Trump is also being sued by DC and Maryland for violating the Emoluments Clause. Maybe they'll be able to figure out how the federal government managed to pay $600,000 to keep the Old Post Office tower open at the Trump Hotel during the 35-day shut down!
Watch this space!
Not to Mention All the Trumpers Getting LOCK HER UPPED!
Paul Manafort is in jail and facing further state charges that can't be pardoned. Rick Gates is still cooperating. Michael Flynn is still cooperating in multiple investigations. Roger Stone is still going to trial. Don Jr., Jerome Corsi, and Erik Prince are all still vulnerable to prosecution for lying to Congress. And just this morning, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the Mueller case against the unidentified foreign company that is racking up $50,000 per day in fines for contempt of court.
Mueller may be packing his bags and going home, BUT THIS IS NOT OVER.
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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.