Last night Donald Trump’s new “attorney” Rudy Giuliani made a huge mess when he went on Fox News and confirmed that Trump had reimbursed his other “attorney” Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payout to Stormy Daniels. That meant Trump committed multiple felonies, no matter where the money came from or went to. This morning Trump tweeted a terse legal statement about Cohen which was clearly written by a real attorney, meaning he was too panicked to even go on one of his usual denial-filled unhinged rants. Now we know why.
NBC News reported today that the Feds have been monitoring or logging Michael Cohen’s phone calls, and that one of them was to the White House. Beyond Donald Trump or perhaps one of his kids, there was no one else for Cohen to have been calling at the White House. So now we know that the Feds are just that close when it comes to connecting Trump to Cohen’s antics. NBC would have asked Trump’s White House for comment, most likely last night, before running the story. So Trump would have known about it by this morning, when he began tweeting something that read like a legal document.
Here’s the kicker. Trump (or whichever lawyer wrote the statement on his behalf) is now asserting that he “reimbursed” Michael Cohen with monthly retainer payments. But that’s not how anything works. If someone hires you and agrees to pay you a flat monthly salary, and then you incur a major expense on the job, your boss isn’t reimbursing you by continuing to pay you that salary. That’s just your paycheck. So the idea that trump “reimbursed” Cohen for the $130,000 with monthly retainer payments doesn’t come close to adding up.
In addition, the numbers don’t work. Rudy Giuliani claims Donald Trump paid $420,000 in monthly payments to Michael Cohen in order to reimburse him for the $130,000 payout to Stormy Daniels. Is Trump paying the worst interest rate of all time? Is Trump’s position that he was fraudulently paying Cohen a retainer fee to reimburse him at a time when he wasn’t even on retainer? Whatever new defense strategy Donald Trump and his revised legal team are trying to take here, it clearly wasn’t thought through particularly well. And now we know the Feds have been monitoring Cohen’s phone calls throughout all these shenanigans. No wonder Trump is panicking.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report