What Kind Of Idiot (EVAN) Thought The Trump-Cohen Peener Payoff Tape Was BORING????
Time for another look at that Michael Cohen tape of Donald Trump released last night! Which some people think is boring, because those people are
First of all, one listen to that recording gives you a pretty good clue as to the reason Trump's legal team waived privilege. Don Jr. might be able to get away with refusing to talk to Devin Nunes's treason squad by claiming that any conversation with a lawyer present is PRIVILEGED, because HE'S DUMB. But in real life, the presence of third parties abrogates attorney-client privilege. You've got people wandering in and out the whole time -- this wasn't a private consultation.
Second, it's clear that Trump was fully briefed on the details of AMI's payment to Karen McDougal, despite his later denials to the contrary.
COHEN: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that — I'm going to do that right away. I've actually come up and I've spoken [...] And, I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with ...
TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?
COHEN: … funding. Yes. Um, and it's all the stuff.
TRUMP: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
Trump knows that "David" is his buddy David Pecker at American Media, Inc. (AMI), the parent company of the National Enquirer. And he knows that AMI paid McDougal $150,000 for the exclusive rights to her story.
COHEN: Correct. So, I'm all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be —
TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?
COHEN: Well, I'll have to pay him something.
TRUMP: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash ...
COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.
TRUMP: ... check.
Twitter is currently losing its damn mind about Donald Trump saying, "pay with cash." Now, far be it from us to take up for The Shitgibbon, but in real estate, "pay with cash" means "pay by check, without seeking financing." That's the argument Trump's real lawyer Alan Futerfas made to the Post: "The notion that they were discussing using a bag of cash or green currency is ridiculous." Which is why Trump says, "What financing?" Cohen wants to bury the payoff in an LLC, but Trump thinks he's talking about hitting up Deutsche Bank for a loan.
Idiot Lawyer + Idiot Client = Derp Infinity
But, as we have mentioned, if you have a problem, Rudy Giuliani can make it worse. Here he is telling Laura Ingraham that Trump is saying "DON'T pay cash." He then went on to express his relief that it wasn't a bad tape like when a mafiosi orders up a hitman.
DO NOT LOOK IN THE TRUNK, OFFICER! THERE'S DEFINITELY NOT A BODY IN THERE!
And apparently the derp is catching! Because Alan Futerfas, a previously competent lawyer, went on to tell the Post,
The notion that Mr. Cohen would have spoken to Mr. Weisselberg about a proposition he had yet to even make to the president does not ring true. Mr. Weisselberg is a bookkeeper who simply carries out directions from others about monetary payments and transfers. There would be no reason for Mr. Cohen to have any conversation with Mr. Weisselberg prior to him recommending and obtaining approval for the purchase he was suggesting.
Now that's just a STUPID lie! Allen Weisselberg has managed Trump's business for forty years. That "bookkeeper" is the CFO of the Trump Organization. As Adam Davidson wrote in the New Yorker,
First hired by the President's father, Fred Trump, Weisselberg has been the one steady presence in the Trump Organization for the entire period that Donald Trump has run the company. I have spoken to many current and former Trump Organization employees who have shared the same description of the company: it is a chaotic mess, in which projects are randomly distributed to in-house staff. I heard, repeatedly, that there were only two people who knew about every deal the company made: Trump himself and Allen Weisselberg. However, Trump, rather famously, rarely concerned himself with details and often forgot who had received which assignments and how different deals were structured.
Weisselberg singlehandedly managed the Trump Foundation. And apropos of nothing, but we LITERALLY JUST HEARD COHEN SAY HE HAD SPOKEN TO ALLEN WEISSELBERG ABOUT HOW TO SET IT UP.
But back to the tape. What's this crazy shit about someone getting hit by a truck?
COHEN: All the stuff. Because — here, you never know where that company — you never know what he's —
TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
Cohen and Trump know they have to get the rights Karen McDougal's story from AMI just in case something happens with "that company." Because if David Pecker "gets hit by a truck," then whoever replaces him might not want to run interference for The Donald.
This morning, the WSJ reported that Michael Cohen brokered a job for Omarosa at one of The Enquirer's sister publications in 2011 to settle a lawsuit against Pecker's company. These guys go way back!
Tips about Mr. Trump poured into the Enquirer during the height of the popularity of "The Apprentice" and its spinoff, former employees said. Enquirer editors rejected any that painted Mr. Trump in a bad light, knowing Mr. Pecker wouldn't allow them, they added.
At the time, National Enquirer editors faxed or emailed stories and printed them out, scrawling edits in pen on hard copies before sending them to other editors or reporters. Sometimes Trump stories would have changes labeled "per Pecker" that seemed aimed at flattering Mr. Trump, such as identifying him as a "multibillionaire" instead of merely a billionaire, Mr. George recalled. As the Wall Street Journal reported this morning, in 2011, Cohen brokered a deal with AMI to get Omarosa a job in exchange for dropping her lawsuit against The Enquirer. These guys go way back.
Any other editor would have jumped on the McDougal story in the fall of 2016 -- imagine how many papers AMI would have sold! But Pecker killed it as a gift to Trump in the waning days of the campaign.
Say, what's that called when you give something to a political candidate? Oh, right.
A DONATION. An illegal campaign contribution, which Trump and Cohen were fully aware of and coordinated.
Who thought this story was boring? Oh, right.
Guess who else DIDN'T think this story was boring?
Which is probably why Robert Mueller had David Pecker personally served with a subpoena the same day Michael Cohen's home and office were raided. And five minutes later, AMI settled its lawsuit with Karen McDougal, releasing her from the hush agreement.
Probably just a coincidence, huh, EVAN?
Now argue away, it's your OPEN THREAD.
***An earlier version of this story misattributed a quote from Alan Futerfas to Rudy Giuliani. Wonkette regrets the error and will spend the evening practicing our reading comprehension.***
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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.