Category: Columns

Michael Cohen’s Last Hustle: How Trump’s Former Fixer Blew His Final Play

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Below is my column at Foxnews.com on the inevitable collapse of Michael Cohen’s strategy to avoid jail for his extensive criminal conduct as a businessman and a lawyer.  I recently discussed how the filing detailed the windfall payments of over $4 million that Cohen received from companies like AT&T to buy access and influence with Trump.  It was one of Cohen’s last scams.  He ended up keeping the money despite being embroiled in the scandals that led to his demise.  He then scammed thousands of anti-Trump donors on a GoFundMe site for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the promise of turning against Trump.  He never mentioned the millions that he shook down companies for in his cash for access scheme.  In other words, Cohen continue to hustle but, on this occasion, he came up one hustle too short.

Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s Last Hustle: How Trump’s Former Fixer Blew His Final Play”

Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy

Michelangelo,_Giudizio_Universale_24Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the effort of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen to convince the federal court to show leniency in his sentencing.  While Cohen should get credit for cooperation, it must be balanced against two high countervailing considerations.  First, Cohen spent much of the last two years threatening people and obstructing efforts to disclose wrongdoing. Second, he is an officer of the court.  Judges generally do not look kindly upon lawyers violating their oaths and becoming vehicles for crimes and wrongdoing.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy”

What Does Mueller Have On Trump?

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent insights into the efforts of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to bag President Donald Trump.  There is little ambiguity in these efforts: while Trump is being called a “subject” of the investigation, he is being treated as a “target.”  That danger became more apparent with the later allegations of Michael Cohen that he not only lied to support Trump’s account but that the worked with Trump’s counsel in preparing his false testimony.  He claims to have had “regular contact” with Trump counsel during that period.  That would pose some serious questions for counsel if Cohen was clear that he was giving false testimony.  However, he does not say that.  It still remains unclear how much Cohen is suggesting that the President or his counsel knew about the specifics on the “Moscow Project” or his own falsification of dates and information.

What is clear is that Mueller is still on the hunt for Trump and all eyes should be on Corsi, Stone, and possibly Donald Trump Jr. for the next move. Continue reading “What Does Mueller Have On Trump?”

Legal Kremlinology: Mueller’s Break With Manafort Leads To Frenzy Of Speculation Over The Russian Investigation

Below is my column in USA Today on the collapse of the cooperation agreement with Paul Manafort.  As predicted in the column, President Donald Trump picked up on the conflict to allege that Mueller is pressuring people to lie in order to make a case against him.  In the meantime, the White House confirmed that Manafort’s counsel has been conferring with the Trump legal team to tell them what Manafort was supplying and the questions being asked under the cooperation agreement. It is a highly unusual move and prosecutors usually bar such joint defense agreements or meetings from contenting for obvious reasons. It is not clear what Manafort was told but it is hard to believe that Mueller would be moronic enough to fail to make such a clear condition.

 

Here is the column: Continue reading “Legal Kremlinology: Mueller’s Break With Manafort Leads To Frenzy Of Speculation Over The Russian Investigation”

Lewinsky Implicates Bill Clinton In Federal Crimes As The Clintons Embark On 13-City Speaking Tour

225px-Bill_ClintonBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the underreported disclosures made by Monica Lewinsky in her recent interviews with A&E.  Even with the Clintons starting a popular 13 city speaking tour, there has been little coverage of the fact that Lewinsky implicated Bill Clinton in a myriad of possible federal crimes. Indeed, the interview by Frank McKenna, the former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, conspicuously avoided any questions about Clinton’s alleged sexual assaults or the new disclosures by Lewinsky about his alleged encouragement for her to lie to federal investigators.  The disconnect is mystifying.  Democrats continue to line up to hear Bill Clinton who was accused of multiple women of sexual assault and only last week was implicated in crimes by Lewinsky.  That disconnect could come back to haunt Democrats if they seek to hold Trump accountable for conduct that they have dismissed by Clinton.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Lewinsky Implicates Bill Clinton In Federal Crimes As The Clintons Embark On 13-City Speaking Tour”

Roberts’ Rebuke of Trump Rings Hollow, Given Justices’ Conduct

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent public statement issued by Chief Justice John Roberts.  While I am entirely sympathetic with the statement (which is also true) about the unfairness in referring to “Obama judges” ruling against the Trump Administration, the public rebuke only highlighted the glaring disconnect in Roberts’ defense of apolitical courts and his deafening silence over the conduct on his own Court.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Roberts’ Rebuke of Trump Rings Hollow, Given Justices’ Conduct”

Chump Nation: The Establishment Quickly Returns To The Status Quo After The Election

220px-nancy_pelosidonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the rapid return to the status quo in both parties after the midterm elections, including the rapid discarding of promises made to voters on both sides.  Those massive middle-class tax cuts promised by the President before the year end?  Gone.  The promise of a new Democratic party infused with young members and new leadership? Gone.  What remains is the establishment which has succeeded again in replicating itself.  It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat.  We have become a nation of chumps.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Chump Nation: The Establishment Quickly Returns To The Status Quo After The Election”

“I Answered Them Very Easily”: The Five Most Chilling Words In The Russian Investigation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on reported completion of answers to the questions given to President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  The White House anticipated giving the answers to the Special Counsel before Thanksgiving.  As noted below, that could put the collusion part of the investigation into high gear toward a report to Congress.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““I Answered Them Very Easily”: The Five Most Chilling Words In The Russian Investigation”

“Everybody Must Get Stone”: Mueller Moves Closer To The Possible Indictment Of Trump Confidant

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the next possible wave of indictments and specifically the targeting of Roger Stone.  This includes possible charges of false statements and more recent indications that Mueller is mulling witness tampering charges.  As Mueller prepares what may be his final set of indictments, there remains the absence of a direct U.S. figure connecting Trump to any collusion with Russia.  With Stone and former associate Jerome Corsi expecting indictments, there is a reasonable question of whether Mueller has truly run down a major figure or whether he is merely shooting the wounded at this point in his investigation.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““Everybody Must Get Stone”: Mueller Moves Closer To The Possible Indictment Of Trump Confidant”

The Prestige: How Trump Could Pull Off The Ultimate Trick in Shutting Down The Mueller Investigation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a novel way that President Donald Trump could use the Whitaker appointment to achieve what he has long sought: freezing or even ending the Mueller investigation.  As strange as it may seem, it could actually work if played correctly by the White House.  The White House could theoretically get a court to enjoin the Mueller investigation and keep Mueller frozen in amber until Trump’s final year when impeachment would practically impossible.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Prestige: How Trump Could Pull Off The Ultimate Trick in Shutting Down The Mueller Investigation”

Stooge or Savior? Whitaker’s Actions Will Define Him And His Office

Matthew_G._Whitaker_official_photoBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the selection of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. While I believe that Whitaker meets the criteria under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, I have great reservations about that Act’s constitutionality in allowing unconfirmed individuals to serve in this position, as discussed in my prior column.  However, I do not believe that prior commentary as an attorney requires recusal under Justice Department rules.  Whitaker is about to establish a legacy as either a political stooge or principled lawyer.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Stooge or Savior? Whitaker’s Actions Will Define Him And His Office”

“More Sinned Against Than Sinning”: The Sacking of Sessions Leaves a Dangerous Delusion for Trump

jeff_sessions_official_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the sacking of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the implications for the Trump Administration.  The most worrisome thing about the forced resignation is that Trump still does not understand that Sessions not only took the only ethical course in recusing himself, but the best course for the Administration.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““More Sinned Against Than Sinning”: The Sacking of Sessions Leaves a Dangerous Delusion for Trump”

Politics By Other Means: Both Trump and Pelosi Suggest Using Investigations For Political Purposes

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the mutual threats from Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump to use investigations in a tit-for-tat struggle with the new Congress.  In his press conference after the election, Trump said that he is prepared to adopt the same “war-like” stance and “They can play that game, but we can play it better.”

This promises to be long and intense two years, but there does not appear to be much hope for actually addressing some of the important issues that divide this country.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Politics By Other Means: Both Trump and Pelosi Suggest Using Investigations For Political Purposes”