Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Another Big Shoe Drops in the Mueller Probe

One thing that supporters of Der Trumpenführer - including far too many Congressional Republicans - seemingly do not want to discuss is how their claims that the Mueller probe is a "witch hunt" simply do not match up with the number of individuals in the Trump orbit, including some involved in the 2016 campaign, who continue to cop guilty pleas.   Congressional Republicans and many in their brain dead base want renewed investigations of Hillary Clinton, yet don't bat an eye that Trump apparently surrounded himself with a bunch of criminals.  Given Trump's past in New York City and elsewhere, of course, his affinity for criminals should come as little or no surprise.  Trump's nouveau riche status was never the only reason old New York society finds Trump so distasteful.  Now, one of Trump consigliere Michael Cohen's business partners has likewise agreed to take a plea and cooperate with prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York.  This event doesn't bode well for Cohen or Der Trumpenführer.  Here are highlights from the Washington Post:  
When it comes to seminal moments in the Russia investigation that we will one day look back upon, Tuesday could be one.
The Post's Rosalind S. Helderman confirms that Michael Cohen's one-time business partner, Evgeny "Gene" Freidman (a.k.a. the "Taxi King"), has reached a plea deal with prosecutors and will cooperate with the government (the news was first reported by The New York Times):
Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union long known as the “taxi king” of New York, pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud in Albany County Court. He is a former business partner of Cohen who managed taxis owned by the president’s lawyer for several years.
Both the timing and the circumstances are key. Freidman faced allegations that he failed to pay $5 million in taxes, including four counts of tax fraud and one of grand larceny. As part of the deal, he will serve no jail time. That suggests that he has been able to provide information of some value when it comes to Cohen, who is widely seen as a target for prosecutors to, in turn, flip against Trump.
“Do you understand the nature of the benefit your attorneys have accomplished on your behalf?” Judge Peter Lynch asked Freidman on Tuesday, according to the Times. That question that should frighten both Cohen and President Trump's legal team.
There is no official indication that Freidman has agreed to inform specifically on Cohen, but it's not difficult to connect the dots. . . . . If anybody knows about what Cohen has done wrong, Freidman may have been the most likely candidate — especially if Cohen did keep Trump in the dark about his Stormy Daniels payment and other matters.
Just as it has been clear that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was a target for flipping against Trump, Cohen's fate seems to revolve around whether he might be pressured into taking a deal, like Freidman was.
Cohen has said that won't happen, and Trump wagered last month that Cohen won't flip. But it looks increasingly like we're about to find out just how much pressure Cohen can withstand.
Money launderers and tax cheats - not to mention those with suspicious Russian ties - are the norm in Trump's orbit.  One can only imagine what Trump and/or his family members have done. 

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