Tuesday, April 10, 2018

 

Another day, another Mueller bombshell

Yesterday was a really intriguing day in the investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Two bombshell developments came out.

First, it came out that a Ukrainian steel magnate paid $150,000 (in the form of a donation to the Trump Foundation) for a 20-minute video chat with Donald Trump. That sounds bad, and it might be-  it all depends on the rest of the context. After all, it's perfectly fine to give $150k to a foundation straight up, without even the video chat. Unless, of course, you are paying for influence. This all does make it seem odd that Trump made such a big deal (with some justification) about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, of course.

Second, and more importantly, a pair of search warrants were executed on the office and hotel room of Michael D. Cohen, a longtime Trump associate and attorney. Cohen-- who was educated at Michigan's own Thomas Cooley School of Law-- was most recently in the news for paying off Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.

I was shocked when I heard about the search warrants for Cohen's business and hotel room, which was received by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York on a referral from Mueller. It is very hard (as it should be) to get a warrant to search a lawyer's office. If you don't believe me, just check out the DOJ rules at Section 9-13.420 of the US Attorney's Manual.  Usually, permission has to be secured from Main Justice. And here, Mueller also handed the investigation off to Geoffrey S. Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York-- a Trump appointee who was a Trump contributor, and who had been a law partner of Trump confidante Rudolph Giuliani.

After Republican Mueller referred a case to Republican Berman, who sent in agents working for Republican FBI Director Christopher Wray, Trump complained that it was "mostly Democrats" who were after him in a "total witch hunt."

We live in interesting times.

And they are about to get a lot more interesting.

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