Cohen Business Associate Flips and Agrees To Cooperate With Prosecutors [Updated]

EDCSBXWDGIE7FC7LWYPWRIRFXYMultiple defendant cases often resemble a lethal form of musical chairs as targets grab deals — leaving the loser still standing to face a full array of charges and cooperating witnesses.  Trump former counsel Michael D. Cohen must be feeling like the music is about to stop after his close business associate Evgeny A. Freidman decided to take a deal from prosecutors.  Freidman may be the only figure who could compete with Cohen on the higher Richter scale of sleaze. Update: Cohen denies that Freidman was ever this “partner” but does not address prior associations.

Called the the Taxi King, Freidman is a remarkably disreputable individual. It is always interesting how such characters tend to find each other.  Friedman was disbarred earlier this month and spent time in prison after an earlier arrest in Illinois (shown in the mugshot above).

Freidman came from a Jewish family in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States as political refugees in 1976.  He graduated from  Skidmore College in 1992 and received his J.D. degree from Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Freidman was an incredible success given his origins and eventually acquired 900 cabs by 2015.  His company is worth $120 million in 2009.

Cohen’s taxi medallion business is one of the areas of greatest scrutiny for federal prosecutors. The medallion business is known as one of the most corrupt in New York and has been the subject of repeated crackdowns.  Not surprisingly, Cohen was drawn to it.  Given their histories, I would be astonished if business deals involving both of these men did not ultimately involve a myriad of criminal allegations.  Some of these charges can be brought in the state system, as was Freidman’s plea. This means that Trump cannot entirely protect Cohen from jail time — a consideration that could push him to consider a deal himself with federal prosecutors.

Friedman was accused of failing to pay $5 million in taxes and was facing up to 25 years for criminal tax fraud and grand larceny. His deal allowed him to plead guilty to a single count of evading only $50,000 worth of taxes in exchange for his cooperation.  He will also face five years of probation.

Cohen got into the taxi business through marriage.  His father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, is a Ukrainian former taxi driver who acquired medallions.  When Cohen married his daughter Laura, he helped Cohen buy medallions.  Notably, Cohen’s father-in-law reportedly loaned $20 million to the wife of a Chicago cab mogul who was also named in the warrant the FBI used to raid Cohen’s office.  Shusterman gave the money to Yasya Shtayner, whose family owns Chicago Medallion Management Corp.

None of this is good for Cohen and it could prove equally bad for Trump.  As Cohen’s business dealings are scrutinized, there is a rising chance of both state and federal charges.  With his former business partner dodging 25 years, he had to promise something valuable. If not, there will be significant questions raised by prosecutors would give a sweetheart deal to a truly sleazy convicted felon.

With Cohen’s shady efforts to sell access to Trump, his seedy business associations speaks loudly about his character and ethics.  In the same vein, Trump’s association with Cohen will long taint his own legacy.

298 thoughts on “Cohen Business Associate Flips and Agrees To Cooperate With Prosecutors [Updated]

  1. Anon, since you seem to have an interest in what other presidents have done I thought this article by Victor David Hanson might satisfy your interest. It is long, but with all the hanky panky that occurred in the Obama administration, it is hard to keep it short.

    How Democracies End: A Bureaucratic Whimper By Victor Davis Hanson

    One strange trait of the die hard NeverTrump Republicans and progressives is their charge that Donald Trump poses an existential threat to democracy. Trump, as is his wont, says a lot of outrageous and weird things. But it is hard in his 16 months of rule to find any proof that Trump has subverted the rule of law.

    Most of the furor is over what we are told what Trump might do, or what Trump has said, or which unsavory character in Europe likes Trump. These could be legitimate worries if they were followed by Trump’s anti-democratic concrete subversions. But so far, we have not seen them. And there has certainly been nothing yet in this administration comparable to the Obama-era efforts to curb civil liberties.

    While we understand those on the left refuse to believe that a constitutional “legal scholar” like Obama would even think of allowing the executive branch to go rogue, it is indeed strange that in almost every NeverTrump attack on Trump’s conduct, there is almost no recognition or indeed worry that we have been living through one of the great challenges to constitutional government in our history.

    Does anyone remember that the Obama Administration allowed Lois Lerner (“Not a smidgen of corruption”) more or less to weaponize the IRS to help the Obama 2012 reelection effort? Does anyone remember Eric Holder’s surveillance of the Associated Press journalists and Fox News’s James Rosen? Why have conservative constitutionalists focused on what Trump has said rather than the strange treatment accorded to investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson by U.S. intelligence and investigatory agencies? Do we even remember the Benghazi pseudo-video narrative and the strange jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula?

    Is there even curiosity about why and how the departing Obama Administration suddenly and vastly expanded the number of agencies that could have access to classified surveillance in its aftermath? Do we remember the more than 20 times Obama warned before reelection that he was not a “king” and, as a constitutional scholar, could not by fiat offer blanket amnesties? Do the authorities in California realize that they are resorting to the extralegal states-rights arguments that South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War and Alabama in the early 1960s used to nullify federal laws?

    But stranger still is what we already know of the 2016 election, and the lack of outrage from constitutionalists, who daily warn us of what Trump might do—when we already know what the U.S. government has done in violation of civil rights, constitutional principles, and likely federal laws. So far there is no information that Stephen Bannon ordered taps on reporters, or that Nigel Farage was hired by Trump to find Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton, or that Stephen Miller requested the unmasking of surveilled names associated with the Clinton campaign and then leaked them to the press.

    But we do know that U.S. officials, including the head of the FBI and chief deputies in the Justice Department, misled a FISA court to obtain intelligence surveillance on U.S. citizens, by providing information that they knew at the time, but did not disclose to the court, was by their own private admission unverified, compiled by a foreign national whom they had used and fired as an unreliable informant, paid for by the Clinton campaign, and served as the basis for news accounts that were used in circular fashion to verify to the court the dossier’s contents.

    We do know that members of the Obama intelligence and national security teams—Susan Rice and Samantha Power among others—requested the names of American citizens surveilled (likely obtained through improperly obtained FISA warrants) to be unmasked. Then someone illegally leaked their names to the press to damage the Trump campaign and his presidential transition.

    We do know that FBI Director James Comey, in succession, has admitted that he in singular fashion took notes of a confidential one-on-one meeting with the president, briefed him on the existence of a campaign dossier on him, did not disclose that it was purchased by the Clinton campaign, assured him that he was not the subject of a FBI investigation at a time either he or his subordinates were leaking the opposite to the media, and then, after being fired, leaked those memos (at least one of which was classified) to the media to ensure the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the president, who turned out to be a friend of Comey’s, Robert Mueller. Comey by his own admission has also stated that he calibrated the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton to the likelihood of her election to the presidency. FBI directors in a lawful society are not supposed to do such things.

    We do know that the FBI placed some sort of an informant in the camp of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in association with gathering information about data used by a foreign national and a paid operative of the Clinton campaign, Christopher Steele, in his effort to collude with Russians against the campaign efforts of Donald Trump.

    We do know that the deputy director of the FBI is currently under investigation for lying to federal investigators, on at least four occasions, about his own conduct in investigating candidate Hillary Clinton—at a time not long after Clinton-related political action committees gave several hundred thousand dollars to the political campaign of his wife.

    We do know now that both James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, head of the CIA, knowingly gave false testimony under oath to Congress. Clapper has previously lied about the surveillance of American citizens; he has lied about his knowledge of the Steele dossier, and likely also lied about leaking its contents. Brennan had lied under oath to Congress about the U.S. drone assassination program, lied about CIA surveillance of computers used by U.S. Senate staff, lied about leaking the existence and promulgation of the Steele dossier, and lied yet again to Congress that the dossier was not used to prompt a CIA investigation into so-called collusion.

    Again, the government’s two highest intelligence officials did not tell the full truth about their knowledge of the Steele dossier or their own roles in promulgating its contents. In a constitutional republic both such reprehensible officials who betrayed the public trust would be subject to criminal investigations for knowingly lying under oath to Congress and undermining the sinews of constitutional government.

    We do know that senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr met with the architects of the Steele dossier and that at the time his wife was working on the Clinton-purchased Fusion/GPS Steele dossier, information not disclosed as required by the law on a federal form.

    Mueller’s special investigatory team, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the media have not yet found any credible evidence of Trump-Russian collusion. Indeed, it is more likely that the indictments and confessions of some Trump campaign officials and Michael Flynn, on counts having nothing to do with collusion, either will be dropped, retracted, or will not lead to convictions, given much of the information used against them was obtained by misleading a FISA court judge and through improper conduct at the highest level of the FBI.

    There is a reason why over a half-dozen top FBI officials either have been fired, reassigned, resigned, or retired. We have not yet seen the inspector general’s full report, but its publication may lead to more departures from both the FBI and the Justice Department, if not to criminal prosecutions.

    If the present constitutional crisis really involves high federal officials and former federal officials who were colluding with foreign governments, then we have ample evidence that 1) Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation received large sums of money from Russian-related interests in association with ongoing requests to buy into companies that might control North American uranium stocks; that 2) John Kerry has met clandestinely with members and former members of the Iranian government to craft joint strategies to save the so-called Iran Deal, from which the president of the United States just withdrew; and that 3) Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired a foreign national to use sources from other foreign nationals to help subvert the campaign of her 2016 opponent.

    We are all worried, on occasion, by nationalist and anti-democratic movements abroad in former democratic countries. We all sometimes wish Donald Trump would ignore personal spats and curb his tweeting and thus let his considerable accomplishments speak for themselves.

    But that said, the current and chief threats to Western constitutional government are not originating from loud right-wing populists in Eastern Europe, or from Trump wailing like Ajax about the rigged deep state.

    Rather, the threat to our civil liberties is coming from supposedly sanctimonious and allegedly judicious career FBI, Justice Department, and intelligence agency officials, progressive and self-described idealistic former members of the Obama national security team, and anti-Trump fervent campaign operatives, all of whom felt that they could break the law—including but not limited to illegally monitoring American citizens, and seeking to warp federal courts and even the presidential election because such unsavory and anti-constitutional means were felt necessary and justified to prevent and then subvert the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

    It is willful blindness for progressives and NeverTrump Republicans to overlook what has happened only to damn what has not happened. The dangers in America are not from transparent right-wing authoritarians (who are easily spotted in their clumsiness), but from mellifluous self-styled constitutionalists, whose facades and professions of legality mask their rank efforts to use any anti-constitutional means necessary to achieve their supposedly noble egalitarian ends.

    This is the way democracies end—not with a loud boisterous bang, but with insidious and self-righteous whimpers.

      • The mindless anti-Trump crowd cannot respond and cannot accept anything that deviates from what they are told to believe or not to believe. Eventually, this will change and in twenty years we will be hearing many of them like they did with Reagan, say they voted for Trump.

        My favorite three writers on this subject are Hanson, McCarthy, and Strassel. All are honest brokers.

    • Victor lost any credibility when he intentionally misled the reader on the feds’ basis for the FISA warrant. Public record materials, although I don’t expect the gullible rubes, dupes and Klan-lite wannabbees to care.

      • Marky Mark Mark – Dude!!! You. Have. No. Respectability! How do you expect to lose the respect of others? There is nobody below you on the respectability scale. You are Ground Zero.

        • Mark M. is right. And Hanson is at it again in the article that Allanonsense posted upstream. There is no connection between Stefan Halper and the Trump-Russia dossier that Steele compiled. There were no allegations about George Papadopoulos in the Trump-Russia dossier. So Halper was not a source for Steele. The first allegation about Carter Page in the Trump-Russia dossier was made on July 19th, 2016. Halper met with Page and July 11th and 12th of 2016–at least seven days before Steele’s first report about Page. Clearly Halper was not using the dossier to gather intelligence on Page. That is, Steele was not a source for Halper, either. Ergo, Hanson is once again reporting as fact that which is known to be false. And that means that Allanonsense is wrong and Mark M. is right.

          • L4D is enabling David Benson Marky Mark Mark has only been right once on this blog and that was when he respected the death of the Gunny.

            • Here’s the relevant quote from the Victor David Hanson article upstream:

              “We do know that the FBI placed some sort of an informant in the camp of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in association with gathering information about data used by a foreign national and a paid operative of the Clinton campaign, Christopher Steele, in his effort to collude with Russians against the campaign efforts of Donald Trump.”

              It is not known that the FBI was running Halper as an informant against Page and Papadopoulos. It is far likelier that Halper is a CIA asset. Hanson is wrong by overstatement. It is known that the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team and the Trump administration never hired Halper. Hanson is just-plain flat-out wrong about that claim. Hanson’s claim that Halper was working with Steele is inconsistent with the fact that Steele reported nothing about Papadopoulos in the Trump-Russia dossier and that Halper met with Page at least a week before Steele’s first report about Page in the Trump-Russia dossier. So Halper was not a source for Steele and Steele was not a source for Halper.

              Mark M. has Hanson pegged as lacking credibility due to intentionally misleading his readers.

              • We have been hearing this nonsense from Diane forever. Take note that so many of the things she says become disproven with time yet one doesn’t hear her saying she was wrong. She twists every statement and every meaning so it meets her desired ideology. A true follower of Stalin.

                When talking about housing, in the past Diane said. “Safety regulations in housing are not the same for high-price and low-price housing.” It seems Diane believes that all over the country the inspectors look at the price of a house before saying whether or not the safety features required by law need to be built in.

                I guess in those poorer homes in the southeast coastal areas can be built with cardboard. At least that is the way Diane sees it.

                In another long-winded twisted argument that made little sense Diane disputed this definition of terrorism. “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims.” She was upset because if a nonleftist group was hateful but didn’t indulge in violence that definition wouldn’t suffice to call the group a terrorist organization.

              • L4D is enabling David Benson – Marky Mark Mark works with criminals all day, how could he be wrong. /sarc off

      • Mark, you are a simpleton indeed. I don’t know what you think Hanson said or whether Hanson was right or wrong in that instance but only a fool would discount everything that Hanson has said and you are such a fool.

  2. In honor of the Anal Queen and her Presstitute Shyster, Mr. Turley is considering renaming the wbsite with this new byline:

    Posteriore atque ima corporis regina locuta est.

    What do you think?

  3. REPUBLICANS WANT TO ‘SECRETLY’ EXPOSE THE FBI

    DEMOCRATS EXCLUDED FROM REVIEWING EVIDENCE

    Take Mr. Trump’s wild conspiracy theorizing seriously for a moment. Imagine that the Obama administration in 2016 used the FBI to infiltrate a GOP presidential campaign with the intent to undermine it. If secret Justice Department documents actually suggested such a plot, why would Mr. Trump want to prevent Democrats from seeing them, forcing them to admit that they have been wrong to question his claims? As it stands, Democrats can fairly point to the closed meeting itself as evidence that congressional investigative powers are being misused to build a self-serving GOP tale about FBI perfidy.

    It should go without saying — but apparently does not — that the conspiracy theory is absurd. If the FBI’s goal had been to undermine Mr. Trump’s campaign, why would the Justice Department have sat on the information it had about that campaign’s ties to Russia, even as then-FBI Director James B. Comey publicly lambasted Hillary Clinton for poor judgment on her private email server? Presumably the plotters would have wanted to prevent Mr. Trump’s election rather than merely undermine him after he was elevated to the Oval Office.

    The president’s assertions seem to get more baldly implausible by the day. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump tweeted that the “Criminal Deep State” is “caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before!”

    The most natural inference from such rhetoric is that it is intended to hide guilt on the part of the president or his senior staff. But some combination of incompetence and malevolence is also a possible explanation. The only way to know is to allow Mr. Mueller to complete his investigation.

    Edited from: “If Republicans Went To Uncover FBI Misconduct, They Sure Aren’t Acting Like It”

    Editorial, this evening’s WASHINGTON POST

  4. “You know why he relies on Twitter instead of news conferences? Because he can’t think on his feet when asked a question”

    Natacha, commenting on just one of your many erroneous statements. Trump is answering questions all the time, virtually everytime he goes somewhere. You don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Trump is stacking the courts with real judges while the left hyperventilate and confatbulate on their grievances. With any luck they will die of a stroke, a heart attack or a 16 year old blaque thug running them over out of reparations 🖕🏾

      • Trump quote: “President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing. And yet, what do we have to show for it? Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition, and forty-three million Americans are on food stamps.”

  5. Professor:

    Freidman may be the only figure who could compete with Cohen on the higher Richter scale of sleaze.

    Er…um… 45 (Trump) is a 10 on the “Richter scale of sleaze”. He is shaking our democracy, wreaking unbelievably destructive erosion upon our democratic norms. Look at his attacks on our Justice Department and the intelligence community. Or, his attack on NFL players expressing their first amendment rights. Or any one of his twitter attacks. He’s pretty sleazy. Kleptocrats, tyrants, and autocrats are pretty sleazy. 45 looks like one. Just sayin’….

    • He is shaking our democracy, wreaking unbelievably destructive erosion upon our democratic norms.

      I’m not opposed to our democracy been shaken. The political class would like nothing more than to have the electorate go running for their safe spaces. We’re built to be shaken.

      Now regarding destructive erosion upon our democratic norms, what norms would those be and how have they been destructively eroded?

      • If this is anything more than a rhetorical question, you’re either not paying attention or merely trolling anon.

        this is to “how do you know the sky is blue?” olly

        • you are either lonely as frick or miserable as frick.

          This is to “why wont my pepper get hard” mark

          See if this helps

        • If this is anything more than a rhetorical question, you’re either not paying attention or merely trolling anon.

          Perhaps in your world those are the only options. In mine, and as I’ve previously explained, I will normally ask for clarity. Anon clearly has some specific democratic norms being eroded. Instead of me assuming Anon’s understanding of those norms, it would be fair to understand what Anon’s operation definition is.

          this is to “I can read minds, why can’t you? Mark M.

          • i don’t come here to do your homework for you; rather, I’m here for my own amusement and to ridicule the gullible rubes and dupes by using … wait for it… Ridicule. If you truly are so sheltered as to miss or ignore the daily assault the day glo bozo undertakes against America, then you’re a sellout; allowing for the oscenity in the White House either because you truly imagine Roe vulnerable, or, you don’t think there’s anything wrong with the government putting “those” “uppity” people back in their place, just like the good ole days. Either way you’re not a patriot; but rather an insult to those who gave all to preserve our great experiment. You, and your ilk, make me puke.

            this is to “get back under your rock” olly

            • i don’t come here to do your homework for you; rather, I’m here for my own amusement and to ridicule the gullible rubes and dupes by using … wait for it… Ridicule.

              That’s great, because unless you’re a sockpuppet for anon, my question was not directed to you. So nope, you and Benson are off the hook. The truly amusing part is what you think passes as clever ridicule is actually your tell that you have a 0% chance of offering an intelligent response. It’s a tell because you have done the hard work before and provided some legitimately thoughtful responses.

              In this case, my question to anon is a laydown. Anon claims certain democratic norms are being unbelievably destroyed. You obviously have no idea so you resort to your tell. Benson’s tell when he has nothing of value to offer is one word/one sentence responses. For some reason y’all just desire …remove all doubt.

              Anyway, thanks for playing. And as far as you puking…you’re welcome. 🙂

              this is to “I don’t have the stomach for this” Marky Mark Mark

              • Truth be told, such a facetiously-unknowing response doesn’t deserve an intellectual response. I’ll wager you’re very aware of what’s happening, yet hope our institutions can “weather” such assaults because you prefer the transitive and short-term political benefits which have accompanied those assaults. Either way, still a sellout to those who gave all to preserve our great experiment. You enablers are playing with fire, and like those who’ve dallied with monsters before, believing they can get off the train when things finally get too shaky, it will be too late when you finally catch on.

                to olly

      • Olly,

        Destructive erosion of democratic norms? Let’s start with the rule of law.

        And, while we’re on the subject of how abnormal 45 and his WH is:

        1. How many presidents had former personal lawyers associated with tax evading (to the tune of $5 million) brokers of NYC taxi medallions – a.k.a. the Taxi King?

        2. How many presidents hired (for free) campaign managers with reputations “for repackaging controversial foreign leaders such as: Viktor Yanukovych, Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi, and Zairian strongman Mobutu Sese Seko”?

        3. How many presidents thought the United States Justice Department was their personal defense legal team?

        4. How many presidents have decried free speech or referred to freedom of the press as the “crooked media”?

        5. How many presidents have called into the Fox and Friends news show in deranged rants about how bragging about how many lawyers they have?

        6. How many presidents have condemned NFL players for expressing their rights to free speech?

        7. How many presidents have made proclamations that they deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?

        8. How many presidents since President Gerald Ford refused to make public their tax returns?

        9. How many presidents had declared bankruptcy at least 4 times?

        10. How many presidents had their fathers bailout one of their Atlantic City gambling casinos with $3.35 million dollars of casino chips? And then had “New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission investigate the chip purchases the following year and determined it was an illegal loan that broke the state’s rules about casinos receiving cash from approved financial sources”?

        45 is unhinged. That’s putting it very nicely.

        • anon – how many Presidents shared a mistress with their father and their brothers?

          How many owned 525 businesses of which only four went bankrupt?

          How many had a father who made his first fortune by bootlegging liquor from Canada?

          How many paid the Mafia to change votes in Chicago?

          How many completely sealed their records?

          How many had the only person who actually saw their long form birth certificate die this week?

          How many had a wife who had more women than he did?

          How many weaponized the DOJ, FBI, IRS?

          Need I go on?

          • Paul:

            And then, of course, there’s this:

            One of the norms most clearly at risk is that which serves to safeguard the independence of federal law enforcement. “I have the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department, Donald Trump told the New York Times.”

            Bob Bauer, “The Survival of Norms: The Department of Justice and the President’s ‘Absolute Rights’”, Lawfare blog, January 1, 2018

            https://www.lawfareblog.com/survival-norms-department-justice-and-presidents-absolute-rights

            Just so we are clear, Paul:

            “I have the absolute right to what I want with the Justice Department”, said no US president. Ever. (Except -Donald J. Trump).

              • Paul, says who? Trump? Will he make a demand to make it so? Someone needs to read him one of Hans Christian Andersen’s folktales, maybe it will help him sleep better.

        • Let’s start with the rule of law.

          That Anon is a great place to start….When are you going to start? You listed 10 questions reflecting what you see as President Trump’s character but nothing identifying a rule of law issue. What has President Trump done to violate his oath of office?

          • That is a good answer and question Olly. I don’t think his response recognizes the Constitution and I don’t think he has any good answers.

            Anon also has to answer to the fact that his listed complaints are common to many Presidents and he simply forgets about that fact.

            Take “crooked news. The press jointly called the President all sorts of names when he said his campaign was being surveilled. It was, as we are learning today, even if Anon cannot accept the facts that are being brought forward. Then we have Hillary who believes that Fox News is crooked along with many other progressives that include people on this list and probably includes Anon as well.

            • Allan:

              as we are learning today…

              I see. You, too, think 45 has absolute power to do whatever he wants to do with the US Department of Justice.

              And, what exactly did we learn from yesterday’s intelligence briefing about said surveillances of presidential campaigns? Not a whit.

              Why? Generally, as pointed out in the government’s response to a motion for public access to certain sealed court records that “a right of public access risks jeopardizing open investigations”.

              https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000163-8fa0-d71a-ad7f-cff7cc490000

              45 knows the arranged White House meeting of congressional members to be debriefed, was all bluster (as was his proposed meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un) to appeal to his political base (a.k.a. stupid people).

              45 would just love “total transparency” – unless, of course, it would involve pulling the curtain on his own tax returns or those of his family and business and business dealings.

              • Anon, what we have learned so far from the releases of the FBI is that the FBI has been self-serving and not protecting vital interests, rather protecting its leaders from being discovered doing things they know were inappropriate. The FBI was created by Congress with the ability of Congress to provide Congressional oversight. Congress also funds the FBI. The FBI is not a legislative group and is supposed to live under the law (not above it) and under the ultimate control of Congress, the DOJ and eventually the President as spelled out by law and prior Supreme Court decisions.

                “45 has absolute power to do whatever he wants to do with the US Department of Justice.”. Contrary to what you say, no US President has absolute power, though the President has substantial power and has the power to fire officials in the executive branch almost at will though he needs to follow certain procedures and laws. 45 has demonstrated tremendous restraint and we note that because Sessions along with Rosenstein still exist in their positions at the DOJ. He had the right to fire Comey and at one time or another, both sides of the political aisle agreed that Comey needed to be fired.

                “And, what exactly did we learn from yesterday’s intelligence briefing about said surveillances of presidential campaigns? Not a whit.”

                You learned nothing. Others have learned a great deal.

                “a right of public access risks jeopardizing open investigations”

                We are always at risk of jeopardizing open operations, but take note how the classified material was leaked to the press and then opened to Congress and the President.

                “45 would just love “total transparency” – unless, of course, it would involve pulling the curtain on his own tax returns or those of his family and business and business dealings.”

                Trump’s business dealings have been open to the public for over 50 years. In fact, he has been audited and assessed by many different government agencies over the years and to date, nothing of great significance has been found. His tax returns do not have to be released by law though partisans would like to use those tax returns in a partisan manner. There were many things about Obama that perhaps should have been released since they were never looked at by any official government agency. They were never released, nor did they have to be released according to our laws. When we voted, a lot more negative information was spun in the direction of Trump and made available to the public by the MSM. When the vote was taken all these negatives were out there for anyone to see and Trump was elected President. You don’t like him so suddenly you take the path of disclosure something I don’t object to except in the partisan way you make these requests.

                “(as was his proposed meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un) to appeal to his political base (a.k.a. stupid people).”

                I note how you think those that think differently than you, are “stupid people”. Based on what I have seen if we rate intelligence you don’t rank that high in the pack and some of those likely ranking the highest will be on the opposing political aisle. That made your talk about “stupid people” pretty stupid.

          • Olly,

            I see. Then, you do agree with 45’s assertion that he has an absolute right to do whatever he wants to do with the United States Department of Justice.

            It begs the following question: How many presidents have called their own nominated USAGs “disgraceful”? In order to undermine their USAGs’ authority with said presidents’ 30 percent political voter base?

            Like I said, 45 is unhinged.

            • Then, you do agree with 45’s assertion that he has an absolute right to do whatever he wants to do with the United States Department of Justice.

              No, not even close. President’s assert all sorts of things, especially during campaigns. They’ll even assert Where Congress won’t act, I will, as a sitting President…even during a SOTU address. They’ll even get a standing ovation from members of congress for telling them they are irrelevant. Those are assertions and while I find them appalling, I’m concerned with actions.

              • Olly,

                What has President Trump done to violate his oath of office?

                While it is too early to be specific, some in law enforcement suspect he may have obstructed justice.

                And, then there’s this from his past as a casino owner:

                “New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission investigate the chip purchases the following year and determined it was an illegal loan that broke the state’s rules about casinos receiving cash from approved financial sources.”

                And this regarding his casino (during and after his ownership)+:

                “Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, admitted to several willful BSA violations, including violations of AML program requirements, reporting obligations, and recordkeeping requirements. Trump Taj Mahal has a long history of prior, repeated BSA violations cited by examiners dating back to 2003. Additionally, in 1998, FinCEN assessed a $477,700 civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal for currency transaction reporting violations.

                “Trump Taj Mahal received many warnings about its deficiencies,” said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery. “Like all casinos in this country, Trump Taj Mahal has a duty to help protect our financial system from being exploited by criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors. Far from meeting these expectations, poor compliance practices, over many years, left the casino and our financial system unacceptably exposed.”

                https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-fines-trump-taj-mahal-casino-resort-10-million-significant-and-long

                What a dealmaker he is…btw…Carl Icahn sold Trump Taj Mahal to Hard Rock International for something like four cents on the dollar.

                He’s been sued by many contractors he stiffed.

                I’ll concede his actions appall me. And, I suspect he would violate his oath of office in a New York minute, out of wanton disregard for the rule of law (dare I say abuse of it), and his oath to uphold the Constitution.

                I also fear we now live in a kleptocracy, under his unstable leadership. Really sleazy.

                • What you’re delineating is failure to follow bureaucratic record-keeping requirements, which is unprofessional but not criminal. His casino business in Atlantic City was chronically troubled and he eventually sold the assets. He has many other businesses which have proven profitable.

                • While it is too early to be specific…I suspect he would violate his oath of office in a New York minute, out of wanton disregard for the rule of law (dare I say abuse of it), and his oath to uphold the Constitution.

                  I suspect everyone holding a political office will violate their oath…EVERYONE. The Framers knew it and history has proven the Framers right. So it is never too early to be specific. THAT’S OUR JOB!

                  If you want to cite democratic norms, that’s a norm that has been destroyed. Our culture, whether we like it or not, will elect people that reflect their values, their character, and their view of what their government should do. We will have many factions wanting this and that, but we will not survive a majority that is fine weaponizing the government against the minority. Rule of Law and Separation of Powers must be what we all strive for.

                  So, after 16 months in office, what has President Trump done that is unconstitutional?

            • How many Presidents have told the FBI to investigate the opposition candidate? Excluding Obama, we know of one and guess what party he was from? Democrat. LBJ had the FBI getting information on the Goldwater campaign.

      • Olly:

        And then, of course, there’s this:

        One of the norms most clearly at risk is that which serves to safeguard the independence of federal law enforcement. “I have the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department, Donald Trump told the New York Times.”

        Bob Bauer, “The Survival of Norms: The Department of Justice and the President’s ‘Absolute Rights’”, Lawfare blog, January 1, 2018

        https://www.lawfareblog.com/survival-norms-department-justice-and-presidents-absolute-rights

        Just so we are clear, Olly:

        “I have the absolute right to what I want with the Justice Department”, said no US president. Ever. (Except -Donald J. Trump).

    • Turlry, also, writes,” it is always interesting how such characters tend to find each other.“ Yet does not apply the same discerning eye to tRump’s association with Cohen and so many more.

  6. Some of the blue states want to have their electoral votes go to whichever candidate captures the majority of the votes in the general election. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Trump won the next election and just carried the general election by a fraction of a percentage point. Then these dopes would have to hand over their electoral college votes to Trump and make it look like he had some huge landslide victory. They just can’t accept the simple fact that he won.

  7. the only person who can end this is David Benson.

    I don’t believe that is technically correct. Nothing is preventing you from ending it, you just won’t. You both sound like these two cantankerous old guys.

    • OLLY – my honor as a samurai prevents me from ending it. 😉 If David wishes to commit seppuku and film it, that would satisfy my honor.

      • You don’t begin to comprehend the samurai code of honor.

        For a starter, what house of Zen did the samurai belong? Why were there two?

        • David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED. David, you should be climbing that hill and getting my citation rather than asking questions. No answers for you until I get mine.

    • The duel between Paul and David end up something like the following, with Paul on screen left and David on screen right:

  8. So, has Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller found “Russian collusion” yet?

    BTW, as “unfettered power,” the Rosenstein appointment and Mueller investigation are unconstitutional.
    ________________________________________________________________

    “The appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller violated the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    Given the power that Mueller is exercising and the fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is not supervising his work directly, it is inaccurate to classify him as an “inferior officer” in the Department of Justice. He qualifies as a “principal officer,” a class of federal official like a United States attorney that the Supreme Court has ruled must be appointed by the president and confirmed with consent of the U.S. Senate.

    Because Mueller was not appointed by Trump and was not confirmed by the Senate, Levin argues, his appointment is not constitutional. Therefore, every action he has taken under the scope of his investigation with powers granted to him by the DOJ is illegitimate, since his very powers are illegitimate.

    “Is there any question in your mind that Robert Mueller is not the most powerful prosecutor in the United States today?” Levin asked. “Is there any question in your mind that he’s not more powerful than any of the Untied States attorneys?”

    – Mark Levin

    • On “Fake News” like this of Cohen/Friedman, it’s long past time to impose “Antitrust” laws on the “Press” industry. The Main Stream Media (MSM) enjoy a prodigious and insidious monopoly that shuts out conservative, AKA, constitutional, AKA originalist, AKA American perspectives, transforming the MSM into “untouchable” purveyors of propaganda conducting socialist/communist indoctrination.
      _________________________________________________________

      “Once upon a time, way back in the 1800s, there were several giant businesses known as “trusts.” They controlled whole sections of the economy, like railroads, oil, steel, and sugar. Two of the most famous trusts were U.S. Steel and Standard Oil; they were monopolies that controlled the supply of their product—as well as the price. With one company controlling an entire industry, there was no competition, and smaller businesses and people had no choices about from whom to buy. Prices went through the roof, and quality didn’t have to be a priority. This caused hardship and threatened the new American prosperity.”

      – FTC

      • Crazy George wants to shut down the press.
        At the same time, he considers himself a Constitutionalist.

        That’s why he’s Crazy George.

          • Darren, Nan just nominated Mark M. and wildbill99 for banned-for-life status due to their incessant violations of the “Civility Rule” in the form of incessant, inutile and vicious ad hominem attacks.

            I second the nomination as there is nothing redemptive in their “toxic” comments.

        • So can we get rid of the unconstitutional antitrust laws and regulations and return America to free enterprise? Please, can we abolish wholly unconstitutional central planning, redistribution or wealth and social engineering in all their forms? You are correct. The press is totally free per the Constitution as is every single private property free enterprise business, competition and the forces of supply and demand shaping products and prices. A man’s (“Affirmative Action Privilege” also being unconstitutional) business is none of the government’s concern or authority.

          Thanks for reading.

            • What you missed is the fact that the corrupted and ideological Supreme Court did not and has no authority to write or modify the Constitution, including the rights to private property, every conceivable natural and God-given freedom per the Constitution and 9th amendment and free enterprise and commerce. The sole constitutional function of the SCOTUS is to assure that actions comport with the Constitution. The Constitution does not provide for governmental dictatorship. ownership, possession or disposition of private property which James Madison defined as “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.” That’s pretty clear even for communists. The SCOTUS does not seem to have noticed that the Constitution limits government, not the freedom of individuals. The SCOTUS didn’t declare Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus unconstitutional or individual welfare or “Affirmative Action Privilege” unconstitutional buy they are, immutably. Fun fact: the entire welfare state is unconstitutional and it has not be “declared” thus by the treasonously subjective and ideological Supreme Court.

              To wit,

              “…courts…whose duty if must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”
              __________________________________________________________________________________

              “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

              – Alexander Hamilton
              __________________________________________________________________________________

              Central planning, redistribution of wealth and social engineering were featured by Marx in his Communist Manifesto, 59 years after adoption of the Constitution, because they had been irrefutably and deliberately omitted and excluded by the American Founders in their Constitution.

              • In other words no court has ever found the anti trust laws unconstitutional. Only George finds them unconstitutional. I’ve got bad news for you, nobody gives a rat’s ass what the court of George thinks is unconstitutional except perhaps for yourself and the voices.

                • Understanding the limitations of the “commerce clause,” is Obamacare constitutional? Was Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus constitutional? Understanding that secession is not restricted in the Constitution and thereby constitutional, was Lincoln’s war of Northern aggression on foreign soil against a sovereign foreign nation constitutional? Is redistribution of wealth constitutional when the Constitution limits the power of Congress to tax solely for “…general Welfare…” excluding and, thereby, omitting individual welfare? Is “Affirmative Action Privilege” constitutional in the face of the constitutional right to private property? Words have meaning.

                  Thanks for reading.

                  • A Confederate sympathizer, longing for the good old days of human chattel slavery!

                    Crazy George, outing himself again.

          • Sorry, Rip Van Winkle, that train left the station about 90 years ago. So sorry for your loss.

            this is to “get those kids off of my lawn” georgie

    • Does this mean that the investigation into Bill Clinton’s administration by Ken Starr was unconstitutional? Starr was appointed by a special three-judge division of the D.C. Circuit to continue the Whitewater investigation according to Wikipedia. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives impeached Clinton, based mainly on the results of the Starr investigation. As a practical matter, how would the Congress go about impeaching president without an investigation first? Doesn’t the constitutional right of the Congress to impeach and remove the president grant the Congress by logical necessity the right to conduct an independent investigation?

        • Yeah, because the occupant of the Chair of Peter’s Airline Magisterium is so inspiring. When’s he going to reply to the dubia, sister?

        • No one? Haha. Change the channel. Pro tip: Pravda Faux News doesn’t care about you; only that you keep buying commemorative “silver” coins, or whatever other claptrap they’re hustling to the oldsters this month.

          this is to “hannity is my truth whisperer” gloria

      • It may mean that Rosenstein should have just kept the seat warm rather than take executive action without authority. But Rosenstein had a mission to acquire an “insurance policy” after the framing and erroneous recusal of Sessions.

        With regard to Starr’s Clinton investigation, apparently no one was compelled by the law to make that argument or Clinton’s team was grossly incompetent.

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