Michael Cohen linked to AT&T, Novartis Payments

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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19 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    When the history of this mega corruption is written it will most definitely not be called The Smartest Guys in the Room. Something more like “Wait? These guys can’t be this bad at this. Can they?”Report

    • There is a theme going here with these Trump associates. If you read into the material, after one meeting the company pretty much determined that Cohen was full of it. Its why the more I think and read on the Russia stuff, its going to come down to the Cohens, Roger Stones, and Flynns of the world being deemed by the Russians as not worthy of running real intelligence ops with despite what they originally thought, so they settled for the chaos instead. Then the cover-up stuff is just self inflicted stupidity. Possible more incompetence than master plan.Report

      • greginak in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        Manafort is the only one who seems like he was smart enough to get stuff done. It would not surprise me at all if the rest were just too dense for long term use and cooperation.

        Novartis did find Cohen to be useless after one meeting. That is impressive. Cohen must really be a bag of hammers and/or just loudly corrupt. Either way being that bad at influence peddling/ being bribed does make it a bit juicy for the payers to spill the beans. Sure ATT and Novartis look bad but they are also laying it out quickly about Cohen with all the obvious implications.Report

        • Manafort is separate to my mind, and without blowing up the comments section too much with info lets just stipulate that unlike Cohen and Stone and maybe some others, there is no questions about his association with Russia due to his known activities in the Ukraine. Whatever crimes they get Manafort on, he knew what he was doing, and did so over a long period of time and on a high level. Though forgotten now there was quite the outcry of “what are you doing” when Trump brought him in, only to quickly relieve him. Then there is Flynn, who of all people the Obama people specifically warned the Trump transition team not to let him back into the WH after Obama had fired him. That alone should tell people something.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        If you read into the material, after one meeting the company pretty much determined that Cohen was full of it

        Well how many meetings do you need for a bribe? You notice they decided just to pay out, right?

        Now maybe they had the misfortune to have lawyers even worse than Cohen, and thus didn’t write their contracts with any way out in case of “Total inability of the person we contracted with to do the job” or “Turns out he was lying about things, so we’re not going to pay”.

        Somehow, I don’t think their lawyers are even worse than Cohen. Of course, it’s possible they felt that cancelling the contract because Cohen was full of crap would cause Cohen to complain to Trump, which would result in the President retaliating.

        Yeah, that’s not a bribe then. That’s extortion, right?Report

        • greginak in reply to Morat20 says:

          I’m picturing Cohen had one giant spread sheet labeled; Bribes taken, Bribes offered, Graft, Extortion, Threats of Harm, Hush Money with a drop down listing affairs, pregnancies, sex tapes, sex tapes of affairs.Report

        • Fair to point out one meeting is sufficient, or the every popular “corporate speaking engagement” for big $. Terminology wise maybe we should come up with different terms. Yes Cohen and others are lawyers, but what they are doing here isn’t “lawyering” as such, mostly lobbying to use the more polite term for grifting.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            That’s a false equivalency in about a zillion ways, but let’s start with the obvious: Can you think of a situation in which a paid corporate speaker was hired for a one-year gig, gave one speech, was told not to come back, but got paid for the full year anyways?

            Moving on down, let’s start with market pricing. Now, I looked up corporate speaking gigs — what former politicians (or aspiring ones) are making is pretty much in line with what non-politicians with similar profiles make. Maybe there’s some outlier you’re thinking, of by it seems to scale up pretty much the same as the celebrity tiers do.

            Now what’s Michael Cohen, really bad lawyer, doing batting so very, very, far from his price range? Most Cooley law grads aren’t getting million dollar deals for “advice” and “insight” after all.Report

            • I think Cohen is dirty as all get out, so not sure what your getting at, I’ve been pretty clear in my distaste for him and Trump. Cohen was at that level “above his price range” as you put it, because of his association with Trump, no other reason. Thus my previous statement, he isn’t really a “lawyer” in the common usage of the term, he really is a fixer that dabbles in the law and happens to be an attorney to fulfill his role for Trump and others.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                What I’m getting at is there’s literally no equivalence to a corporate speaking gig — however much one might feel it’s legal bribery — and what it looks like Cohen is doing.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’ve long maintained that the speaking gigs are pretty clearly legal bribery, but they’re nowhere near the same neighborhood as what we’re seeing here. Cohen taking huge sums of money off the record (way more than you’d pay a registered lobbyist) is clearly an attempt at not-legal bribery. The hilarious explanations of what the “consulting” was for are true classics.

                The interesting question is where the money went and whether Trump new about it or if Cohen was just in business for himself on this one. IMO, it’s a toss of a coin. Trump attracts hangers on who are opportunistic grifters like him. Sometimes he works with them and sometimes they’re just in his orbit. But my understanding is that Trump generally took a dim view of people leeching off of his activities without kicking something upstairs.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        If you read into the material, after one meeting the company pretty much determined that Cohen was full of it.

        This seems like the kind of thing that should take zero meetings to figure out.Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to pillsy says:

          You mean it should have been obvious that Cohen wasn’t the world class expert on (checking notes) US accounting standards? So massively gifted that you’d go to his secret, unadvertised company directly?

          Are you crazy? Of course you’d do that rather than taking cheaper half-assed measures like hiring a team of certified experts from Deloitte or PwC.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

      I thought everyone knew that you opened shell companies for all the different lines of shady business practices… You don’t mix your pay-out slush fund with your corporate shill slush fund with your foreign agent slush fund…how lazy is that? Trump grade corruption.Report

  2. Dark Matter says:

    My assumption is everyone in the “Stormy” situation is telling the truth.

    Cohen paid her off.
    Trump reimbursed him.
    Trump didn’t know the details of the payment, or even that it’d occured.

    Conclusion: For Trump, “It was Tuesday”

    Not sure if this is typical Billionaire but Trump has a guy (Cohen) to to deal with nuisance lawsuits, that includes hookups which threaten to go public. $140k to settle something like this isn’t a large amount of money by Trump’s standards, the situation isn’t unusual for Trump. Presumably Stormy and the Playboy model are just the two we know about out of dozens or hundreds of others.

    And Trump selects these guys for being scumbags, so he can throw them under the bus if things get out of hand. Things with AT&T got out of hand.Report

  3. pillsy says:

    Didn’t know whether this belonged here or in the Schneiderman thread. It’s been that kind of news cycle.

    The lawyer, Peter Gleason, did not respond to requests for comment, but he told the New York Times that he had spoken to Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, in 2013 about accusations that he says two women brought to him about Schneiderman, who resigned this week after the New Yorker reported allegations that he abused multiple women.

    In a letter submitted to US District Judge Kimba Wood, who is hearing Cohen’s request related to materials seized from his properties by federal agents on April 9, Gleason sought a court order to seal any documents seized in the raid that relate to communications about the two women.

    Three guesses as to whether this has kicked off a firestorm of dippy conspiracy theories on Hashtag Resistance Twitter, and the first two don’t count.Report