(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
At the beginning of the week in a federal court in Manhattan lawyers for Michael Cohen and Trump argued that they should have a first look at the documents and electronic files that were seized in the raid of Cohen’s residences and office, to determine which materials should be available to prosecutors. It was a ridiculous request, because it would defeat the purpose of issuing a search warrant, and was therefore summarily denied. During the proceedings Sean Hannity was outed as another one of Cohen’s few clients, and Stormy Daniels stole the show just by being present with her lawyer, who one day later threatened Trump with a defamation lawsuit for calling a composite picture of the man who threatened Stormy in 2011 a ‘con job.’ Not long thereafter AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, released Karen McDougal of the contract that did not allow her to tell the story of her relationship with Trump. Cohen and a lawyer called Keith Davidson played a shady role in both McDougal’s and Stormy’s non-disclosure contracts, and the release of McDougal is probably the result of the raid on Cohen, who knows what the FBI will find.
Possibly for the same reason Cohen dropped his lawsuit against Buzzfeed, the publisher of the Steele dossier, which mentions that he travelled to Prague to collude with Russians, something Mueller according to McClatchy already has proof of. Cohen’s predecessor as Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Goldberg, predicted that Cohen will inevitably turn on Trump. His opinion is shared by all legal commentators who don’t work for Fox News, and it is striking that everybody seems to agree that Trump and Cohen must have been involved in criminal endeavors. In the Mueller probe, as much as Trump would like to fire Rosenstein and Mueller he doesn’t dare to pull the trigger, so some of the GOP’s modern fascists in the House tried to help him, by demanding that everybody who had signed a FISA request in the context of the investigation be fired and prosecuted. When that turned out to be a bridge too far they demanded Comey’s memos about his meetings with Trump from Rosenstein, who risked being fired if he didn’t comply. Their request backfired, because the memos they received and subsequently leaked provide a very unflattering picture of Trump.
As dangerous as politicizing the legal system is in a democracy, in the US the process continues. Mitch McConnell refuses to bring legislation that would protect the Special Counsel to the Senate floor, and following Trump’s demands Andrew McCabe might be indicted, after having been fired two days before his retirement from the FBI. Yesterday Rudi Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team, planning to ‘negotiate an end to the Mueller probe in a couple of weeks,’ and is appropriately ridiculed for his intentions.
Trump flip-flopped on new Russia sanctions and, once again, on TTP. The White House called Nikki Haley, who had announced the sanctions in the UN, ‘confused,’ and had to apologize when she shot back. Following his usual pattern Trump had the date of Mike Pompeo’s unexpected meeting with Kim Jong-un wrong, and many fear that he’ll try to ‘wing’ his own meeting with Kim and make things much worse than they are now.
Contributing to the legal bonanza the Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, numerous Russians, Paul Manafort, Don Trump Jr., Julian Assange, Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos for conspiracy during the 2016 election, trying to collect $25 million in damages. Democrats have always been good to lawyers.
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