Trump, Manafort and Cohen, Oh My!

When it rains, it pours.

For the historical record, let it be noted that the following events took place within about five minutes of each other on the afternoon of August 21 in the strange year 2018:

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager to the sitting president of the United States, was convicted by a jury of his peers on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. He faces 8 to 10 years in prison according to the guidelines but could be imprisoned for as many as 65 years if the judge sentences him consecutively. He faces even heavier charges in a trial next month over his dealings in Russia and Ukraine.

At almost precisely the same moment, Michael Cohen, former personal attorney and “fixer” for the sitting president of the United States, stood before a judge and pleaded guilty to eight counts: one count of making a false statement to a bank, five counts of tax evasion and two violations of campaign finance law. He faces as much as five years in prison according to the plea he struck with the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The latter two counts, according to Cohen’s sworn statement, involved illegal payoffs to two women for the express purpose of affecting the outcome of the 2016 election, and were done at the specific request of Donald Trump. If true, Cohen has directly implicated his former client in a pair of black-letter felonies. If the outcome of the last presidential election was questionable before, it is now tainted beyond repair.

From the courthouse steps, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said of his client, “Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

This isn’t Michael Cohen or his legal team popping off on Twitter or vomiting…

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