Yesterday, the Feds at the SDNY unsealed court documents showing that Donald Trump was indeed behind the criminal conspiracy to have Michael Cohen illegally pay off Stormy Daniels during the election. The documents also stated that Trump adviser Hope Hicks, and people in the Trump Organization, were deeply involved in the conspiracy. Yet the SDNY also announced that it’s not bringing further criminal charges.
If this sounds confusing and fishy to you, it turns out you’re not the only one. Michael Cohen, who is currently in prison after having pleaded guilty to his role in the campaign finance scandal, released this statement, as relayed by NBC News: “The conclusion of the investigation exonerating the Trump Organization’s role should be of great concern to the American people and investigated by Congress and the Department of Justice.”
Meanwhile, MSNBC is reporting that the Department of Justice is refusing to say whether or not Attorney General William Barr was involved in the decision not to bring any criminal charges. Trump’s DOJ has a standing policy that a sitting president can’t be indicted. But there’s more than enough in the court filing to convince a grand jury to indict Hicks (though she’s insisting today that she wasn’t involved), and to bring indictments against various others.
One school of thought is that because the SDNY isn’t allowed to indict Donald Trump at this time, it’s waiting until he’s out of office before charging everyone involved, due to the greater odds of achieving conspiracy convictions when the charges are brought simultaneously. The other school of thought is that Trump and/or Barr is forcing the SDNY not to bring charges against Trump’s people that it wanted to bring. Michael Cohen is right to sound the alarm.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report