This is it y’all. The end has begun.
Last April, after Cohen’s office was raided by the FBI, an article was published in the New Yorker titled Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency. It argued:
Last week, federal investigators raided the offices of Michael Cohen
This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth.
I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality.
Of course Trump is raging and furious and terrified. Prosecutors are now looking at his core. Cohen was the key intermediary between the Trump family and its partners around the world; he was chief consigliere and dealmaker throughout its period of expansion into global partnerships with sketchy oligarchs. He wasn’t a slick politico who showed up for a few months. He knows everything, he recorded much of it, and now prosecutors will know it, too. It seems inevitable that much will be made public. We don’t know when. We don’t know the precise path the next few months will take. There will be resistance and denial and counterattacks. But it seems likely that, when we look back on this week, we will see it as a turning point. We are now in the end stages of the Trump Presidency.
And that was BEFORE Cohen flipped on Trump in the most dramatic of flips.
That was BEFORE Cohen offered everything he knows and all the proof he has amassed to Mueller.
That was BEFORE it was clear that Cohen was not only a link to the business, but also a link to Russian collusion.
There is no going back from this. It is not clear how long it will take, but I can tell you this, anyone arguing about whether Trump will or will not win another term in office might be better off arguing about whether George Foreman is going to win another championship belt.
That ship has sailed, sister.
I don’t know whether he will step down or be forced out, but this man is not making it through another 2 years as president. And he CERTAINLY is not going to make it to another term.
Why is he so done?
Here are 7 reasons why Trump’s days as president are numbered that JUST focused on this Russia stuff (which is not his only problem):
1. Cohen Brought The Goods on Trump
Trump Is Compromised by Russia: Michael Cohen's latest plea is proof.
So we now know that Trump lied to the American people about at least one part of his business relationship with Russia, a geopolitical foe that interfered in our election process on his behalf.
In a Jan. 11, 2017, news conference, Trump said that the “closest I came to Russia” was in selling a Palm Beach mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008. While we’re just learning precisely how dishonest this was, Putin has known it all along. That means that throughout Trump’s campaign and presidency, Putin has had the power to plunge him into political crisis.
“If the Russians are aware that senior American officials are publicly stating things that are not true, it’s a counterintelligence nightmare,” Adam Schiff, the California Democrat in line to take over the House Intelligence Committee, told me.
‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe
In two major developments this week, President Trump has been labeled in the parlance of criminal investigations as a major subject of interest, complete with an opaque legal code name: “Individual 1.”
New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.
Trump often grows aggrieved seeing Cohen on TV, aides say. Among White House advisers, Cohen is seen as an existential threat — as much or more so than the Mueller investigation itself because of his longtime role as Trump’s fixer. Trump’s legal team did not learn until Thursday that Cohen had sat for dozens of hours of interviews with Mueller’s office, according to a senior administration official.
Why is Trump a target?
MUELLER JUST DREW A DIRECT LINE BETWEEN TRUMP’S BUSINESS AND THE KREMLIN.
In January 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump rose to the defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who’d just been accused of likely ordering the assassination of a dissident former Russian spy in the UK.
“Many people say it wasn't him,” Trump said. “So who knows who did it?"
Days earlier, Michael Cohen, then an executive in Trump’s company, had personally called a Kremlin staffer to ask for help arranging financing for a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a court filing released Thursday.
Cohen’s admission reveals that both Trump and the Kremlin downplayed the extent of their relationship at the time the campaign was already well underway — and kept up thatcharade long after Trump became president. Cohen's testimony also suggests Trump had a powerful financial incentive to win's Putin's approval, former prosecutors say.
“The significance of Cohen’s plea is motive — not Cohen’s motive, but Trump’s motive for deferring to Russia over and over again,” said Jens David Ohlin, Vice Dean at Cornell Law School. “The motive is money and business deals. This gives Mueller the last piece of the puzzle.”
Cohen’s startling admission comes as Mueller is widely believed to be preparing a final report on Trump’s links to Russia. A flurry of recent activity has suggested Mueller may finally be on the brink of unveiling some big answers.
“Mueller is tightening the circle around his main focus: Trump and Russia,” said Jill Wine-Banks, a member of the prosecutorial team during the Watergate scandal.
Cohen admitted he lied, but the important part for us is that he lied FOR TRUMP
and Trump’s attempts to make this seem “very cool and very legal” are not working:
Trump’s denials about his business ties in Russia are not credible
THE QUESTION of whether President Trump colluded with Russia to tilt the 2016 election is important. But it’s not the only important question in the Russia investigation, as revelations Thursday from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III make clear. The disclosures suggest that Mr. Trump deceived voters about his business aspirations in Russia even as he asked for their votes during the primaries of 2016. That is not a minor transgression.
In fact, as Post columnist David Ignatius found in an extensive investigation last year, “The simple truth is that Trump has been hungry for Russia projects for more than three decades. He has repeatedly touted plans for a Moscow mega-development and has courted a steady stream of investors from the former Soviet Union for ventures in New York, South Florida and other locations.”
And the more we learn, the dirtier this is:
The Trump Organization Planned To Give Vladimir Putin The $50 Million Penthouse In Trump Tower Moscow
President Donald Trump’s company planned to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 campaign, according to four people, one of them the originator of the plan.
The revelation that representatives of the Trump Organization planned to forge direct financial links with the leader of a hostile nation at the height of the campaign raises fresh questions about President Trump's relationship with the Kremlin.
and that is just what has come out from Cohen so far. Remember: he knows EVERYTHING. He knows where all the bodies are buried because HE is the guy who buried them. And we now know when we will be getting even more info on what Trump has done:
and the rest of the stuff will be DAMNING
and it is not just Cohen. These guys have all shown themselves to be involved in a massive cover up:
Sometimes it’s worth stepping back and stating the obvious. Over the course of these thirty months of cover-ups, every player in the Trump/Russia story has lied about their role in the conspiracy. And not hedging and spinning fibs but straight up lies about the core nature of their involvement, their overt acts. Most – though here what we know is a bit more tentative – seem to have lied under oath, whether to congressional committees or a grand jury. Not a single one of them told a story that wasn’t eventually contradicted and disproved. Not a single one.
President Trump has been at war with the Russia investigation from the get-go for an obvious and totally logical reason: the depth of his personal involvement in and knowledge of the conspiracy amounts to a devastating indictment of him and his presidency. It all makes perfect sense.
and again the lied FOR TRUMP and the truth is coming out:
One worry is that Mueller waited for Trump to turn in the answers to his questions before revealing the extent of Cohen’s cooperation → INSIDE TRUMPWORLD, SOME FEAR MUELLER HAS LAID A PERJURY TRAP
what Michael Cohen told Robert Mueller has been among the most unnerving unknowns for those closest to the president ever since Trump’s longtime fixer began cooperating with the Russia probe in the summer. “If anyone can blow up Trump, it’s him,” a former West Wing official told me in June
“The Cohen news is very bad,” a former White House staffer said.
The fear in Trumpworld is that Mueller may have laid a perjury trap for the president, the former staffer said. Mueller waited until after Trump submitted written answers under oath to the special counsel’s office—some of which reportedly included responses to questions about Trump Tower Moscow—before revealing the evidence prosecutors had gathered to secure Cohen’s plea. “Trump was totally caught off guard by the Cohen plea,” the source said.
Trump and Rudy’s response shows how caught of guard (and in trouble) they were
At first, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani released a blistering statement saying Cohen is “a proven liar who is doing everything he can to get out of a long-term prison sentence for serious crimes of bank and tax fraud.” In comments he made to reporters before departing for the G20 summit in Argentina, Trump called Cohen “weak” and accused him of “making up a story.” But hours later, Giuliani changed tacks, telling The New York Times that Trump’s sworn answers to Mueller matched Cohen’s version of events. “Why would the president come out and say Cohen lied?” the former staffer said.
Mueller now appears to be driving the West Wing agenda, with the principals in a reactive crouch; there’s a sense of loss of control. “It’s an untethered situation,” a person close to the president said.
AND now we learn that they led Cohen to believe that he would be rewarded with a pardon for lying → Cohen believed Trump would pardon him, but then things changed
Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of the President in discussions with federal prosecutors, according to two sources.
After a March 2018 visit to Mar-a-Lago
, the President's private club in Florida, Cohen returned to New York believing that his former boss would protect him if he faced any charges for sticking to his story about the 2016 payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, according to one source with knowledge. Trump was also at Mar-a-Lago at the time of Cohen's visit.
So Cohen might even provide more direct evidence to Mueller about obstruction! Wow!
AND it turns out he is cooperating with the case in NY too!
but Cohen isn’t the only sign that Trump is in his final phase.
2. Deutsche Bank is Under the Microscope
There is a reason this was the ONLY bank willing to loan the Trump’s money. This is TRUMP’S bank. The truth coming out from this bank is very very bad for Trump and his kids.
from a comment by 4CasandChlo
I think perhaps the most overlooked part, because the “results” are not in the open, but the most important part other than Cohen, is the raid on Duetshe Bank.
The bank is where evidence of actual money changing hands will originate. Actual money changing hands, in either direction, but primarily from Russia to the Trump orbit, is evidence that even Trump cannot refute in any way at all.
Charlie Pierce has said from the beginning; “It’s about the money, it is always about the money with Trump.” And the bank is where they keep the money, where the money goes from “here” to “there.” It simply is so unlikely a coincidence that Cohen turns, the bank gets raided, and so does the Chicago tax attorney.
We’ve always know that even as president of the U.S. Trump only cares about money, it’s “what” he is, perhaps the only person on Earth that can be president of the United Fking States and not care near as much as he does about money. So, for those of us certain that the money will tell the eventual story, the raid on the bank is just massive news.
3. Roger Stone’s Time in the Barrel is Coming
Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe
The calls almost always came deep into the night.
Caller ID labeled them “unknown,” but Roger Stone said he knew to pick up quickly during those harried months of the 2016 presidential campaign. There would be a good chance that the voice on the other end of the line would belong to his decades-long friend — the restless, insomniac candidate Donald Trump — dialing from a blocked phone number.
Those nocturnal chats and other contacts between the man who now occupies the Oval Office and an infamous political trickster have come under intensifying scrutiny as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation bores into whether Stone served as a bridge between Trump and WikiLeaks as the group was publishing hacked Democratic emails.
Stone won’t turn on Trump…. until he has to. And he will have to. And then he will turn.
4. Democrats Haven’t Even Gotten Started Destroying Trump Yet
all of this is coming out BEFORE we even have any power to push these things along and get at the truth. Can you even imagine how much trouble Trump will be in when the House isn’t under his thumb?
Senate committees scouring testimony for misleading statements in Russia probe
"This is a reason people shouldn't lie when they're in front of a congressional investigation," said GOP senator Richard Burr.
Senate committees investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election are combing through witness testimony for possible misleading or untruthful statements, according to three people familiar with the effort.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, said Thursday that the committee had made multiple criminal referrals to Mueller, but added "we're not going to talk about any individuals."
And this is just their plans for his Russia related stuff. You think Maxine Waters is going to take it easy on these people? You think Trump can handle a Black woman subpoenaing his things? He is too racist, sexist, and weak to be able to handle that. Honestly, that alone might cause the man to resign. But, there is plenty more:
5. Manafort May Have Weaseled Out of His Agreement, but He Still Brings Trouble To Trump
Cooperation between Trump, Manafort camps raises specter of obstruction of justice
"If you are trying to corruptly influence his testimony by dangling a pardon, that could be witness tampering," said one former prosecutor.
The stunning implications of the Manafort-Trump pipeline
Following the implosion of Paul Manafort’s cooperation agreement with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III , a lawyer for President Trump casually announced that Manafort’s lawyers had been briefing Trump’s lawyers about his sessions with the Mueller team all along.
This revelation, far from routine, in fact is jaw-dropping — and it has significant legal and political implications.
whatever Team Trump may assert, the conversations between some combination of Manafort, Trump and the lawyers for both of them were not privileged, and Mueller is entitled to know their contents.
Finally, the open pipeline between cooperator Manafort and suspect Trump may have been not only extraordinary but also criminal. On Manafort and Downing’s end, there is a circumstantial case for obstruction of justice. What purpose other than an attempt to “influence, obstruct, or impede” the investigation of the president can be discerned from Manafort’s service as a double agent? And on the Trump side, the communications emit a strong scent of illegal witness tampering (and possibly obstruction as well).
This means within the week, Mueller can tell the story of collusion through the courts so that everyone can read it and Trump and his puppet AG can’t do anything about it. Buckle up, buttercup!
6. Trump’s “Kids” Are In Trouble Now Too
Michael Cohen’s plea agreement is bad news for Donald Trump Jr.
He said he had nothing to do with a Russia project. Michael Cohen’s plea deal suggests otherwise.
7. The Corsi Plea Agreement Might Have Been Rejected But It Showed Us Trump Is Toast
Max Bergmann who is a Sr. Fellow at Center for American Progress writes:
First, w/ the Corsi draft plea we learned that Mueller has found collusion. Stone was in “regular contact” w/ Trump and directed Corsi to get to WikiLeaks, which they knew was a Russian front. And Mueller clearly has evidence to prove they knew that.
Second, the depths of the cover up effort became clear - the lies, the pardon dangles, the joint defense agreements w/ 32, the appt. of Whittaker. You don’t engage in a massive cover up if you’re innocent. Trump’s acting guilty, perhaps b/c he is.
Lastly, we now know a lot more is coming. Indictments of Stone and Corsi are coming for collusion. We will learn what Manafort lied about. And we know Cohen has provided trove of info. This isn’t just speculation relying on press reporting anymore. It’s based on Mueller.
So it’s pretty clear where we are headed: a lot of very serious crimes are going to be revealed and they are almost certainly going to implicate the President. It’s time for everyone to start preparing for that reality.
all seven of those reasons suggest that:
All of this is very very bad for Trump
and he is sure acting like someone who is in giant trouble:
Sensing Defeat, Trump Cries ‘Witch Hunt’
A princeling who’s literally lived in a golden tower for most of his adult life is not good with stress. And there’s a lot of stress on him now, and much more coming.
Donald Trump is having a very bad week to go on top of his bad month, bad year, and bad presidency, and it’s showing with every manic tweet and every unhinged statement. As easy as it is to view Trump’s tweetstorms as the rantings of a lavishly paranoid man who’s just discovered the myriad joys of cocaine, his doubling down on absurd “witch hunt” whining is, as always, a tell. As he ratchets up the volume well past 11, you know he feels the heat rising.
Trump appears consumed by Mueller investigation as details emerge
Donald Trump's behavior isn't doing much to bolster White House assurances that he's got nothing to worry about from Robert Mueller's probe, after a series of potentially ominous turns in the Russia investigation.
The President's recent barrage of tweets and comments and testimony from sources close to him -- coinciding with thickening intrigue around the special counsel -- hint instead at deep concern on Trump's part.
boy oh boy, is there a lot of smoke. So much smoke that it is choking the Trump administration's ability to do almost anything.
So I really truly strongly believe that this is the beginning of the end for the slimeball-in-chief. They will keep fighting. There will be more fireworks. But there is no way out of this for Trump except for a backdoor out of the White House.
Do we need a little break before we get to the rest of the good news?
Hanukkah starts tomorrow night. A timely holiday celebrating the importance of keeping hope in the darkest of times, sticking to what you know is right, and realizing that even underdogs can win.
Here is a song from Matisyahu to get us in the mood. The music starts at 1:25 if you want to get right to it:
Now more good news:
Great News From The Other Branches Of Our Government
Judge rules against Trump administration in sanctuary cities case
A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that the Trump administration cannot withhold public safety grants to six states and the City of New York based on the fact that they’re so-called sanctuary cities.
Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor Just Came Out Swinging Against Policing for Profit
when Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher approached the lectern to argue that the excessive fines clause doesn’t fully apply to Indiana, Justice Neil Gorsuch pounced. “Can we just get one thing off the table?” he asked. “We all agree that the excessive fines clause is incorporated against the states. … Can we at least agree on that?” Fisher hedged, but Gorsuch shot back: “I think a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would probably be a good starting place.” Fisher tried to suggest the truth was more complicated, but Gorsuch cut him off, noting that most of the Bill of Rights was incorporated “in, like, the 1940s.”
I know we will disagree with much of what Gorsuch does, but I am heartened that he has shown a few times already that he is independent minded enough to really think about cases and do what he thinks is right, regardless of which side that falls on. Again, I don’t think this means we will AGREE with what he thinks is right 80% of the time, but it does mean he won’t be a rubber stamp like Thomas. And that is good news.
Democrats are already flexing their muscles and doing well!
and look at this:
Something rare and wondrous is happening in Congress
Take a glance at Capitol Hill right now. Something rare and wondrous is happening.
It is a momentary, precise alignment of the stars and the planets, a sort of legislative solar eclipse.
What is coming together in Congress is a fragile, bipartisan consensus to make some small and overdue reforms to the criminal-justice system, to correct some of the inequities and imbalances that Congress and President Bill Clinton created with draconian anti-crime legislation enacted during the 1990s.
and that is not the only bipartisan effort starting up now that we have a divided congress: Bipartisan Group of Legislators Announce New Carbon Tax Bill
A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Florida, Pennsylvania, and Maryland have announced a new bill that would charge fossil fuel companies a fee on each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. The legislation would be the first bipartisan carbon tax legislation introduced in Congress in a decade
Policy experts acknowledge that the bill, introduced in a lame-duck session of Congress, has little chance of passage, but they say it could spark discussion about new climate legislation after Democrats take control of the House in January.
Other Great News
Greens Thrive in Germany as the ‘Alternative’ to Far-Right Populism
A new political force is shaking up Germany: Its leaders campaign in Bavarian beer tents wearing traditional dirndls and tour the country quoting the national anthem. One member recently wrote a book about patriotism, another about “new conservatism.” One of its biggest issues is immigration.
Last month, it dealt Chancellor Angela Merkel such a blow at the ballot box — twice — that she announced her retreat.
No, it is not the far right. It is a re-energized left.
Stacey Abrams’ New Lawsuit Against Georgia’s Broken Voting System Is Incredibly Smart
Defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her allies are taking on Georgia’s shoddy election system in the right way: through a big and bold lawsuit. At the very least, the lawsuit will shine the light of day on how Georgia makes it much harder than many other states to register and successfully cast a ballot. If the lawsuit achieves its more ambitious aims, a court could put Georgia’s voting system back under federal supervision for up to 10 years.
Patagonia is giving its $10 million tax cut back to the planet
the outdoor apparel brand is giving back $10 million in tax cuts to grassroots environmental organizations. In a LinkedIn post today, CEO Rose Marcario wrote, “Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year. We are responding by putting $10 million back into the planet because our home needs it more than we do.”
Democrats Hope To Train An Army Of Operatives For 2020 Election
As a result, the tidal wave of first-time candidates wound up recruiting hundreds of first-time campaign managers, finance directors and field organizers.
Now, established Democratic operatives are nervously assessing their ability to keep those new political workers involved.
“The struggle now that the campaign is over is: What do they do?” said Kelly Dietrich, who founded the National Democratic Training Committee to tackle this kind of problem two years earlier. “The Democrats do not have a good structural answer for how to retain all of these talented new people. It’s a gap in our infrastructure.”
But Democrats are making a serious push to change that. Dietrich’s is one of several groups on the left trying to bridge the gap — to convince all these newcomers to keep working in politics; to mold them into more effective, attractive hires for 2020; and to help them plug into the hiring networks, which are still largely word-of-mouth.
Dems improved in rural areas in midterms, says pollster
Democratic pollster Nancy Zdunkewicz said Friday that Democrats improved nationally among rural voters in the 2018 midterm contests.
"There was actually some improvement in rural areas overall," Zdunkewicz told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking."
"Nationally there was an improvement in the margin for Democrats in rural areas," she continued. "The Donald Trump base is not perfect. It's not perfectly solid. We've already started to chip away at it in this last election."
While midterm election results showed that Republicans remained dominant in most rural areas in the U.S., some races showed Democrats appeared to cut into rural areas in states like New York, Iowa, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
Democrats saw gains in at least 54 districts where the share of households in rural areas was at a minimum of 39 percent, according to a Reuters analysis.
When Bad Stories Turn Good
Bad news gets a lot of press, but the good that may follow rarely gets the same attention. This biases us to think things are worse than they are and that we can’t change things. And with a lunatic in the WH, we really don’t need to freak out over any extra.
Here are a couple of times bad news turned good.
Remember all the hand-wringing about the Dept of Veteran Affairs not paying veterans? Our outrage payed off:
Remember all the hand-wringing about the NYPD not arresting Proud Boys? Our outrage payed off:
That is all the good news. Lots right?
Have a great weekend. Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate. Sing us out with another great Hanukkah song, Matisyahu!