If Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen wasn’t already off to a bad enough start to his week, it somehow just managed to get even worse. Yesterday afternoon, the FBI raided Cohen’s office and residence and seized documents of communications between Trump and Cohen in relation to the Stormy Daniels payoff. Then the other shoe dropped, and it involved Cohen arranging foreign payouts to Trump during the election.
While Donald Trump was running for President of the United States, he took a $150,00 payout from a Ukrainian oligarch in exchange for showing up and giving a short speech, according to a report from the New York Times. Why does this matter? It’s illegal to take foreign campaign donations, and this reads a lot like a backdoor arrangement for an illegal foreign campaign donation. So who arranged the payment from the oligarch to Trump? Michael Cohen.
It’s difficult to imagine it’s a coincidence that this story hit the newswires just hours after the Feds executed a raid on Michael Cohen over the Stormy Daniels payout. Now that Mueller has Cohen cornered on the Daniels scandal, this could be his way of tipping off to Cohen that he’s got a whole lot more to throw at him if Cohen doesn’t cut a plea deal against Trump. This raises questions about what other foreign payouts Trump may have accepted during the election, which nations they were from, and how those payouts lined up with Trump’s political positions.
If Michael Cohen was Trump’s facilitator for these kinds of foreign transactions during the election, he would have records of all of it. So even though the FBI raid was officially about the Stormy Daniels payout, it’s a potential treasure trove if Robert Mueller decides that Trump’s election payoffs from foreigners were illegal bribes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report