Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
Actually it was between three parties, but who's counting, amirite?
...very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair,......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
...despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
“If anything thinks Donald Trump wrote those tweets, then they haven’t been paying attention over the last couple years,” Avenatti said. “I don’t know the lawyer that wrote this, but you can tell a lawyer wrote it because all you have to do is count the number of commas in the first tweet.”Josh Marshall agrees:
“Whoever the lawyer is that wrote this,” he added, “that lawyer is also a moron, because now he or she has subjected the president to yet another potential lawsuit for defamation for what they’ve done. They’ve also undercut a number of other claims that have gone on over the last few months.”
“I have never seen a group of people that cannot shoot straight,” he said. “These folks make the Watergate burglars look competent.”
“I think our case just got exponentially better in the last 24 hours,” Avenatti said. “We knew we were going to be able to prove this, but we didn’t know we would have Rudy Giuliani appear on Sean Hannity and do it for us on a Wednesday night this early on in the case. The importance of this cannot be overstated.”
The other thing about Trump’s comments is that they don’t sound anything like Trump. They’re framed in highly legal language, at least language that a non-lawyer might think a lawyer would use or the kinds of language someone might hear from an accommodating lawyer.
And really: when was the last time Trump wrote three connected tweets without using ALL CAPS or claiming "NO COLLUSION! WITCH HUNT!" I just don't think it's verifiably Trump his own self without one of those two phrases. Besides, "roll" for "role"? Were they trying to look like Trump, or was it written by a very bad lawyer? Keep a finger on that, it will turn out to be more significant when it turns out Giuliani wasn't going rogue.
Then there's Andrew Napolitano:
“If Rudy wants the public to believe that Donald Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen $130,000 and didn’t know what it was for, didn’t know that it was going to silence Stormy Daniels, that is unworthy of belief,” he said. “It is hard to believe that Donald Trump, a man who knows where every one of his nickels has gone!”And the analysis of GOP strategist Rick Tyler is that this is Trumpian chaos at work:
“Let’s be clear — Michael Cohen has flipped,” Tyler said. “That’s what has happened, and Giuliani felt like he needed to go out there and — because legal strategies don’t occur on television, legal strategies occur between lawyers, they occur in courtrooms, they don’t occur on television.”And while David Gregory doesn't think Trump will ever pay a price for his lies, Laura Ingraham thinks that walls are coming down:
“Giuliani has established himself not as the legal strategist, he’s established himself as the PR strategist,” Tyler said. “It’s interesting he did it when Emmet Flood is coming on board. He’s undercut or boxed in Emmet Flood, because Emmet Flood has no tolerance for PR strategies over legal strategies.”
“Did Trump pay it after April 6th?” the stunned Ingraham asked. “The left is jumping all over that tonight, saying, ‘What the heck? He did know, he didn’t know?’ What’s going on here?”
“These are real questions,” York conceded. “Rudy just gave us a completely different version of this.”
“But you have the president on tape on Air Force One saying he did not know about the payment, and you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen about that,” Ingraham elaborated. “Rudy just goes on with Hannity and says ‘Oh no, he reimbursed them.’Like, what?”
“I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that,” Ingraham said. “That’s a problem.”
Giuliani tells me he just spoke w / POTUS. Tonight by phone. President "very pleased," Giuliani says. He says they discussed his revelation of the reimbursements long in advance. Does not expect to be fired. Insists his remarks on FNC were approved by Trump. Story TK.— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 3, 2018
Rudy Giuliani from what I’ve just seen stated there were bogus law firm bills, fraudulent law firm bills,” he explained. “Well, guess what? That’s fraud. That’s illegal. And if you have parties that know about that, namely the party that is sending out the invoice plus the party that’s paying it, that’s a felony. You can’t do that.”Which is pretty much what Trump's tweets admitted to this morning, so....
“So basically what Rudy Giuliani among other things, and this is an important point, he’s stating that Michael Cohen sent out bogus invoices for $35,000 for legal work with no understanding no work would be done and the president paid the $35,000 invoice knowing no work was done, and that’s how they basically laundered the reimbursement of this $130,000, plus a little bit of profit, plus addition money for taxes,” Avenatti added. “This is serious, serious matter.”
And let us keep in mind this isn't the only strange thing Giuliani said to Hannity:
“He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation,” Giuliani told Sean Hannity on Fox News on Wednesday night.And that's how Trump got Mueller. So what is it that Trump & Co. are expecting to come to light? And what about Flood? Giuliani did this with Trump's blessing, and if Flood is that good a lawyer, he's smart enough not to be happy with this. Most good lawyers know better than to try their case in the court of public opinion (there's a reason Dershowitz was a law professor, not a full-time litigator). Avenatti knows this, too, but he is the exception that proves the rule, because he's playing Trump like a fiddle. Now the question is: will Flood resign before he even starts, having seen what he's going to be up against, and how his advice is likely to be taken?
“He’s entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that and he couldn’t get that,” he said. “So he fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy.’”
Inquiring minds want to know. No, really, they do (I'm just going to add to this post throughout the day, I think: this is too much fun). Remember Ken Cuccinelli, conservative AG of Virginia extraordinaire? He's as confused as Laura Ingraham:
I am seriously wondering about all the praise I read for Emmett Flood, now. If that guy stays on the Trump legal team, his reputation is mud. As for Giuliani, Josh Marshall doesn't buy the "clever defense" idea. Sure, Giuliani and Trump thought this would sound good; that's possible. But Giuiliani is already stepping all over his...tie, yeah, let's go with tie, this morning:
“The way the president’s legal team has operated through this whole thing has, just as a lawyer, been very curious to me,” he said.
He went on to note that Giuliani’s admission about the Daniels payment must be part of some legal strategy, though he couldn’t fathom what the end game must be.
“Frankly, it would be a hard thing to be the president’s lawyer,” he said. “Because ultimately he’s going to have to answer questions and you know how undisciplined he is, and today becomes just one more installment of questions.”
“Well maybe that’s why they keep leaving,” host Chris Cuomo said of Trump’s lawyers. “You keep seeing a shedding of talent around him because it gets hard to justify things you know you aren’t true.”
Cuomo then asked Cuccinelli what he made of Giuliani attacking FBI agents who raided former
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s house as “stormtroopers.”
“I really do not like to see anybody on any side of an argument wander into language of the Nazi Germany era,” Cuccinelli said. “It does nothing to help the discussion… this may be how they’re presenting it now, but the contrast involving two lawyers — Cohen on one side and Rudy Giuliani on the other — does not help the legal team, their own credibility.”
“Cohen didn’t ask, Cohen made it go away,” Giuliani said on “Fox and Friends” Thursday morning.
He then went on to claim that $130,000 “sounds like a lot of money,” but actually isn’t for someone who is “putting $100 million dollars into your campaign” and said the payment was made for “personal reasons.”
“This was— the President had been hurt personally, not politically, personally so much, and the First Lady, by some of these false allegation, that one more false allegation, six-years-old, I think he was trying to help his family,” he said. “For that he’s being treated like some kind of villain when I think he was being a good lawyer, and a good man.”
It's kinda the Bill Clinton "I did not have sex with that woman" defense. But Clinton was trying to claim oral sex was not "sex" (somehow), and Giuliani is trying to say a payoff Trump didn't know about was for an allegation Trump was ignorant of, except he did know about it because Trump was trying to protect his family; and this still leaves Trump open to the defamation charge by Stormy Daniels that Avenatti is talking about, so.... Trump's tweets denying the affair or knowledge of the payment want out just before Giuliani appeared on TeeVee, and again Giuliani insisted Trump reimbursed Cohen. Again, if Trump didn't know Cohen made the payment, Trump couldn't have been a party to the agreement, so he can't enforce its terms against Daniels.
I'm really curious as to whether Flood enters the White House to go to work at the end of this month. Because JMM is right:
Rudy Giuliani is far, far past his prime, used to the accommodating hothouse world of Fox News cronies and cash and carry deal-making in his law firm gigs. This was as sloppy as it looked and did his client no favors.
Why does Flood want to attach his professional reputation to that? And clearly, Giuliani is past his prime:
“She was alleging — although there’s the contrary letter she signed that it never happened — that there was a one-time affair,” the president’s lawyer explained [Giuliani]. “And I think when Cohen heard $130,000, he said, ‘My God, this is cheap. They come cheap. Let me get the thing signed up and signed off.'”
“Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani added. “Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen made it go away. He did his job.”
Because otherwise it might have affected the campaign, right, Rudy?
Legal geniuses, all of them. And Michael Avenatti isn't the only one paying attention:
4 possible felonies from Rudy Giuliani admission:— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 3, 2018
1. $130k payment to Stormy was in-kind coordinated contribution above limits
2. Cohen was a straw donor used to cover up true source of contribution
3. False statements on financial disclosures
4. False statements on banking forms https://t.co/KysAF3X4te