Trump Blasts Cohen: ‘Flipping’ to Get a Plea Deal ‘Almost Ought to Be Illegal’

During his extensive interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt, President Trump praised Paul Manafort while tearing Michael Cohenapart for implicating for implicating him in his campaign finance violations.

Even though Cohen’s secretly-record audio of Trump indicates that his ex-boss was involved in his 2016 hush money schemes, Trump insisted that he only found out about the payments “later on.” After complaining that this wasn’t a violation of campaign finance law because the money “came from me,” and he also said ” almost everybody that runs for office has campaign violations, but what Michael Cohen pled to weren’t even campaign related. They weren’t crimes.”

To that point, Earhardt asked him why Cohen accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors if what he did wasn’t illegal. After saluting Manafort – who was found guilty in his trial this week – because he didn’t flip, Trump said that such deals like the one Cohen made shouldn’t be allowed.

“This whole thing about flipping, they call it. I know all about flipping, for 30, 40 years I have been watching flippers. Everything is wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go. It almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair, because if somebody going to spend five years like Michael Cohen or 10 of 15 years in jail because of a taxicab deal, because he defrauded some bank. Campaign violations are considered not a big deal, frankly. But if somebody defrauded a bank and he is going to get 10 years in jail or 20 years in jail but if you can say something bad about Donald Trump and you will go down to two years or three years, which is the deal he made, in all fairness to him, most people are going to do that. And I have seen it many times. I have had many friends involved in this stuff. It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal. You get 10 years in jail. But if you say bad things about somebody, in other words make up stories, they just make up lies…They make up things and now they go from 10 years to they’re a national hero. They have a statue erected in their honor. It’s not a fair thing. But that’s why he did it. He made a very good deal. For what he did.”

[Mediaite]

Trump slams Cohen, lauds Manafort after twin legal blows

U.S. President Donald Trump, in tweets about the stunning legal setbacks involving two of his former lieutenants, on Wednesday attacked the one who has turned on him and defended the one who has remained loyal.

Trump lashed out at former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen in a Twitter post by saying the campaign finance violations Cohen pleaded guilty to in federal court in New York on Tuesday were “not a crime” – even though prosecutors and Cohen agreed that they were. Trump made the claim without offering any evidence.

In another tweet, Trump said, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen.”

At the same time, Trump on Twitter praised former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on Tuesday of multiple counts of fraud, as a “brave man” for not cooperating with federal authorities.

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He told a federal court in Manhattan that Trump directed him to arrange payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election to silence two women who said they had affairs with Trump.

Fox News released excerpts of an interview conducted with Trump on Wednesday in which the president said he knew of the payments “later on” but did not elaborate.

After first denying that he knew anything about the payments, Trump earlier this year acknowledged that he reimbursed Cohen for payments he made in late 2016 to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Daniels has alleged she had a relationship with Trump.

The president has insisted he paid Cohen out of personal funds and that the payments were not intended to benefit his campaign but to resolve a personal matter.

“They’re weren’t taken out of campaign finance. That’s a big thing,” Trump said in the Fox interview. “They didn’t come out of the campaign; they came from me.”

[Reuters]

Reality

This is a lie.

Trump was heard on a secret recording by Michael Cohen proving he knew at the time illegal hush payments were being made.

Donald Trump admits he’s sad about Manafort — but ‘it has nothing to do with collusion’

President Donald Trump spoke to the press after he landed in Charleston West Virginia Tuesday.

“Paul Manafort’s a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of very different people over the years,” Trump said. “I feel very sad about that. I still feel, you know, it is a very sad thing that happened.”

Trump then turned to repeat his talking point that there was no Russian collusion.

“This has nothing to do with Russia and collusion,” he said. “This started as Russian collusion. This has absolutely nothing to do. This is a witch hunt and a disgrace. This has nothing to do what they started locking out looking for Russians involved in our campaign. There were nothing.”

He then returned to praise Manafort, saying he feels bad. “He worked for Bob Dole. He worked for Ronald Reagan. He worked for many, many people. And this is way it ends up.”

He then blasted the efforts by the special counsel, which he characterized as a witch hunt.

“It was not the original mission. Believe me. It was something very much different. So, nothing to do with Russia and collusion. We continue the witch hunt. Thank you very much,” he said.

[Raw Story]

Reality

Sorry Trump fans but Manfort’s verdict has EVERYTHING to do with Russian collusion. Manafort refused to turn state’s evidence against Donald Trump regarding the 2016 Trump Tower meeting he attended with Trump Jr. & Jared Kushner. He wouldn’t play ball with Robert Mueller so now he goes to jail, or cooperates.

Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow hosted publisher of white nationalists

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, hosted the publisher of a website that features white nationalist content at his Connecticut home last weekend, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. Peter Brimelow attended Kudlow’s birthday party a day after a White House speechwriter was fired after it was discovered he had spoken alongside Brimelow at a 2016 conference attended by white nationalists, the Post reported. Brimelow, a former conservative columnist for Dow Jones, founded the anti-immigration website Vdare.com in 1999, which he has acknowledged publishes white-nationalist writers, the Post said. Kudlow told the Post that they have been friends for years and he was unaware of Brimelow’s white-nationalist ties.

[Marketwatch]

Trump Speechwriter With White Nationalist Ties Exits the White House

Darren Beattie, a speechwriter for President Donald Trump, has left the White House after reporters uncovered that he had spoken at a conference of white nationalists.

CNN reports that it reached out about Beattie after finding out that he was listed as a speaker at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference.

Other speakers at 2016’s conference included John Derbyshire and Robert Weissberg, two National Review writers who were fired from the magazine in 2012 after expressing racist viewpoints.

Beattie confirmed that he was at the conference, telling CNN in an email Saturday: “In 2016 I attended the Mencken conference in question and delivered a stand-alone, academic talk titled ‘The Intelligentsia and the Right.’ I said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely.”

“It was the honor of my life to serve in the Trump Administration. I love President Trump, who is a fearless American hero, and continue to support him one hundred percent,” he added. “I have no further comment.”

The White House asked CNN to hold off on the story for several days last week and then did not disclose when exactly Beattie had left. CNN reports that Beattie’s White House email worked until late Friday evening but was deactivated by Saturday.

“Mr. Beattie no longer works at the White House,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN simply Friday night. “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”

[Mediaite]

Rudy Giuliani says ‘truth isn’t truth’

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s attorney, said Sunday that “truth isn’t truth” when explaining that he won’t let special counsel Robert Mueller rush Trump into testifying because he doesn’t want investigators to trap the President into a lie.

“When you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well, that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth,” Giuliani told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday morning during “Meet the Press.”

“Truth is truth,” Todd said in response.

“No, no, it isn’t truth,” Giuliani said. “Truth isn’t truth. The President of the United States says, “I didn’t …”

“Truth isn’t truth?” Todd interjected. “Mr. Mayor, do you realize, what … I think this is going to become a bad meme.”

“No, no, no … don’t do this to me,” Giuliani said.

“Don’t do ‘truth isn’t truth’ to me,” Todd continued.

“Donald Trump says I didn’t talk about [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn with [then-FBI Director James] Comey. Comey says you did talk about it. So tell me what the truth is,” Giuliani said.

This isn’t the first time in recent days that Giuliani has spoken about the truth and facts this way. During an appearance on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” on Tuesday evening, Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that facts are in the eye of the beholder.

“If fact [checking] is anything, we’ve never had anybody with the level of mendacity that he has. Not even close,” Cuomo said of Trump.

“It’s in the eye of the beholder,” Giuliani responded.

“No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder,” Cuomo said.

“Yes it is — yes they are. Nowadays they are,” Giuliani asserted.

The President’s outside legal team for the special counsel investigation, which is headed up by Giuliani, replied to Mueller’s proposal for terms of possible presidential testimony earlier this month, but the former New York mayor wouldn’t disclose the details of his team’s response.

Trump has said he is willing to speak with Mueller’s team, but his legal team has expressed opposition to that possibility because they believe the special counsel’s investigators could take what Trump says, if it differs from what others have laid out, as a lie.

“They have two pieces of evidence,” Giuliani said to Todd on Sunday morning, explaining his stance. “Trump says I didn’t tell them, and the other guy says that he did say it. Which is the truth? Maybe you know because you’re a genius.”

On Sunday afternoon, former FBI Director James Comey appeared to respond to Giuliani’s “truth isn’t truth” comment via Twitter.

“Truth exists and truth matters. Truth has always been the touchstone of our country’s justice system and political life. People who lie are held accountable. If we are untethered to truth, our justice system cannot function and a society based on the rule of law dissolves,” Comey tweeted.

Giuliani has been speaking about Comey in the news lately. Last week, Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper that if the President sits down for questioning by special counsel Mueller, Trump will say he never discussed easing up on a probe of former national security adviser Flynn with Comey.

[CNN]

Trump says WH lawyer McGahn isn’t ‘a John Dean type ‘RAT”

President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that White House lawyer Don McGahn isn’t “a John Dean type ‘RAT,'” making reference to the Watergate-era White House attorney who turned on Richard Nixon.

Trump, in a series of angry tweets, blasted a New York Times story reporting that McGahn has been cooperating extensively with the special counsel team investigating Russian election meddling and potential collusion with Trump’s Republican campaign.

“The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT,'” Trump wrote, misspelling the word “counsel,” as he often does. “But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……”

The New York Times said in a tweet that it stands by the story.

Trump’s original legal team had encouraged McGahn and other White House officials to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, and McGahn spent hours in interviews.

Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump didn’t raise executive privilege or attorney-client privilege during those interviews because his team believed — he says now, wrongly — that fully participating would be the fastest way to bring the investigation to a close.

“The president encouraged him to testify, is happy that he did, is quite secure that there is nothing in the testimony that will hurt the president,” Giuliani said.

McGahn’s attorney William Burck added in a statement: “President Trump, through counsel, declined to assert any privilege over Mr. McGahn’s testimony, so Mr. McGahn answered the Special Counsel team’s questions fulsomely and honestly, as any person interviewed by federal investigators must.”

Trump, in his tweets, continued to rail against the Mueller investigation, which he has labeled a “witch hunt.”

“So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST!” Trump wrote, referencing the indiscriminate and damaging allegations made by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s to expose communists.

“Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!” he later tweeted.

Dean was White House counsel for Nixon, a Republican, during the Watergate scandal. He ultimately cooperated with prosecutors and helped bring down the Nixon presidency, though he served a prison term for obstruction of justice.

Dean, a frequent critic of the president, tweeted Saturday night in response to the Times story: “McGahn is doing right!” He later wrote, “Nixon, generally very competent, bungled and botched his handling of Watergate. Trump, a total incompetent, is bungling and botching his handling of Russiagate. Fate is never kind to bunglers and/or botchers! Unlike Nixon, however, Trump won’t leave willingly or graciously.”

Critics of the president have recently compared his decision to target the security clearances of critics and those involved in the Russia investigation to the “enemies list” created by the Nixon White House to keep track of political opponents they intended to target with punitive measures.

[PBS]

Trump Calls Manafort ‘Good Person’ and Criticizes Fraud Trial

President Donald Trump called his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort a “very good person” and criticized his trial on bank fraud and money laundering charges, as a jury began a second day of deliberations on a verdict.

“I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad,” Trump told reporters Friday before departing the White House for a fundraiser in New York. “I think it is a very sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very short period of time. But, you know what, he happens to be a very good person. And I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”

Trump declined to say whether he would pardon his former aide if convicted. Yet, his commentary about an ongoing criminal case before a jury marks a sharp departure from presidential norms guarding against political interference with the judicial process.

Manafort is the first person to be tried as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Mueller’s prosecutors have alleged that Manafort, before joining Trump’s campaign, for years hid millions of dollars in income earned from pro-Russia clients in Ukraine in foreign bank accounts while fraudulently obtaining bank loans to support an opulent lifestyle.

The charges Manafort faces are unrelated to his work for Trump’s campaign. Trump has repeatedly denied his campaign colluded with Russian efforts to manipulate the outcome of the election and regularly calls Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.”

[Bloomberg]

Omarosa releases tape of Lara Trump offering her hush money

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on Thursday shared a recording of a conversation in which President Trump‘s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, offers her $15,000 a month to work on the president’s campaign after she was fired from the administration.

The recording, played on the air by MSNBC, reveals Lara Trump, an adviser for the president’s  campaign, discussing the flexible terms of a role for Manigault Newman. The conversation reportedly took place on Dec. 16, 2017, just days after Manigault Newman was fired from the White House.

On the recording, Lara Trump mentions a New York Times story that suggests Manigault Newman could have more to say about her time in the White House following her departure.

”They wrote about you. It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you’ve got in the back pocket to pull out,” Lara Trump says on the recording.

“Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can’t have … Everything, everybody positive, right?” she adds.

Lara Trump goes on to describe the terms of Manigault Newman’s position, which she suggests would include some speaking engagements and would allow the former aide to work from Washington, D.C., or New York City, depending on her preference.

Lara Trump adds that the campaign would offer Manigault Newman a salary of $15,000 a month, which is a comparable amount to what she made in the White House.

The audio appears to confirm Manigault Newman’s claim in her new book that she was offered a job by the Trump campaign after leaving the White House. She alleges the payment amounted to hush money.

Lara Trump issued a statement shortly after the recording aired asserting that she offered Manigault Newman a job because the Trump family was concerned about her dismissal and “cared about her personally.”

[The Hill]

Rudy Giuliani says Trump is ‘honest’ because facts are ‘in the eye of the beholder’

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney delivered another doozy of a soundbite Tuesday night, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “nowadays” facts “are in the eye of the beholder.”

Rudy Giuliani made the comment while defending Trump’s harsh words for former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. Cuomo said other presidents faced criticism and adversity without resorting to insults.

“Maybe nobody has been as honest as him,” Giuliani said.

“If fact-counting is anything, we’ve never had anybody with the level of mendacity that he has,” Cuomo replied. “Not even close.”

“It’s in the eye of the beholder,” said a chuckling Giuliani.

 “No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder,” Cuomo said, shaking his finger.

“Yes, they are,” Giulini said. “Nowadays they are.”

Whether intended in humor or not, the former New York mayor’s remark feeds into a perception among critics that the Trump administration often rejects objective facts and tries to confuse the public about what is true.

Trump’s rejection of facts dates back at least to his refusal to accept that former President Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen despite being presented with conclusive evidence.

The perception that a fast and loose attitude toward reality followed Trump, and his staff, into the White House was sparked just after Trump took office. Press secretary Sean Spicer asserted that Trump’s inaugural crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period,” when photos showed the crowd in Washington was much smaller than the one present for Obama’s inauguration.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway famously defended Spicer’s assertion by saying he was working with “alternative facts.”

Giuliani also repeated his statement that Trump did not speak to former FBI Director James Comey about the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, contradicting Comey’s claims.

[USA Today]

Media

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