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Tags Andrew McCabe , donald trump , George Papadopoulos , Michael Cohen , Paul Manafort , Robert Mueller , Trump controversies , Trump-Russia connections

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Old 23rd August 2018, 08:35 AM   #1
acbytesla
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Mueller Investigation pt3

They are not going to impeach the whore chaser for using the wrong account to bribe these women to stay quiet. On that, I agree with the Big Dog.

But I disagree with Big Dog's premise that this is all Cohen's fault. Cohen didn't screw two different women while his wife was expecting or just having give birth to his son. This particular crime will mean nothing in the scheme of things. But there is more. One hell of a lot more. We're just getting warmed up. It's going to start coming fast now that Cohen is cooperating. The double dealing with Trump's phony charity is going to be like a two by four upside the Donald's head. His foundation was nothing more than a slush fund.

Mod InfoThe old thread was getting too long. As always, you are free to quote from that thread as you will.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 08:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
It is complicated, let me walk you through it.

1. The deal as structured complied with FEC guidance
2. the deal could have and should have been structured better to avoid even the appearance of impropriety
3. Cohen abandoned the arguments that make step one true in order to avoid more serious punishments on his tax claims.
At which step should Cohen have declared the deal to the FEC?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 08:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
At which step should Cohen have declared the deal to the FEC?
Had he declared it to the FEC as a campaign expenditure, then Trump would be in trouble for personal use of campaign funds.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 08:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
At which step should Cohen have declared the deal to the FEC?
those were not steps, they were points.

And Cohen/trump had no obligation to declare the deal to the FEC.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 08:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog
3. Cohen abandoned the arguments that make step one true in order to avoid more serious punishments on his tax claims.
Is there documentary evidence for this?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Is there documentary evidence for this?
Of course, the plea agreement
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:07 AM   #7
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Delete
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Had he declared it to the FEC as a campaign expenditure, then Trump would be in trouble for personal use of campaign funds.
That is a quandary isn't it?

Maybe, the moral of the story is not to cheat on your wife and pay the women to shut up.while running for the Presidency.

Perhaps?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
That is a quandary isn't it?
Which shows that interpreting this as a campaign contribution creates a legal catch-22. Regardless of what you think about Trump, the legal system should not function that way. It's perverse.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Had he declared it to the FEC as a campaign expenditure, then Trump would be in trouble for personal use of campaign funds.
Nonsense, if he used his personal funds it would be all above board. He is allowed to donate as much as he wants to his campaign, and as this was a thing of value it needs to be reported as a campaign expense.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Nonsense, if he used his personal funds it would be all above board. He is allowed to donate as much as he wants to his campaign, and as this was a thing of value it needs to be reported as a campaign expense.
It doesn't matter if it's a "thing of value" to the campaign. It runs afoul, and obviously so, of the personal use prohibition on campaign funds, even if it used funds he donated himself to the campaign. You cannot use campaign funds, regardless of their source, for expenses that you would have incurred anyways, and Trump has been paying off women he slept with for years, long before he ran. Therefore it qualifies as personal use under federal election law.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Which shows that interpreting this as a campaign contribution creates a legal catch-22. Regardless of what you think about Trump, the legal system should not function that way. It's perverse.
It's really not. What's perverse is to **** around on your wife with porn stars, run for the presidency and expect to be able bribe people to shut up.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Had he declared it to the FEC as a campaign expenditure, then Trump would be in trouble for personal use of campaign funds.
Not legal trouble. So long as the expense related to the campaign, it would be a legal campaign expense. It would still be a PR nightmare, but not legally problematic.

This is different from, say, Duncan Hunter who spend something like $1500 of campaign funds on video games. Those games have no relation to the campaign, so it was not a legitimate expense. Had he spent $1500 of his personal money on video games that had no relation to the campaign, he would obviously not be in trouble.

Personal funds used on campaign and not reported = legal problems
Personal funds donated to campaign, reported as such, and then used on campaign = no legal problems.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It doesn't matter if it's a "thing of value" to the campaign. It runs afoul, and obviously so, of the personal use prohibition on campaign funds, even if it used funds he donated himself to the campaign. You cannot use campaign funds, regardless of their source, for expenses that you would have incurred anyways, and Trump has been paying off women he slept with for years, long before he ran. Therefore it qualifies as personal use under federal election law.
That argument could have been valid if he not waited eight years to pay off Stormy. The timing of some of the payoffs suggests very strongly that they were done in conjunction with the campaign. To add to that, if he told Cohen to do it (as Cohen claims) as part of the campaign, then the payoffs are even more questionable.

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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Which shows that interpreting this as a campaign contribution creates a legal catch-22. Regardless of what you think about Trump, the legal system should not function that way. It's perverse.
There should be a legal way to improve a candidate's election chances by bribing women to keep quiet about their affairs without having to report the funding sources and expenses just like any other campaign transactions?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Which shows that interpreting this as a campaign contribution creates a legal catch-22. Regardless of what you think about Trump, the legal system should not function that way. It's perverse.
One could question whether spending money to buy silence in a public election is even a legitimate action we should tolerate.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
There should be a legal way to improve a candidate's election chances by bribing women to keep quiet about their affairs without having to report the funding sources and expenses just like any other campaign transactions?
I know , right? Maybe, there should be a line item in FEC filings for porn star payoffs.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 09:58 AM   #17
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Lindsey Graham says it's "very likely" Trump will fire Sessions after the midterms
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:02 AM   #18
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Liverpoolmiss on Badscience

I liked the first paragraph

Originally Posted by liverpoolmiss
I’ve been busy. Trying to deduce who Individual-1 is, by reading and re-reading the Cohen charging document. Individual-1 committed a crime by ordering Cohen to commit a crime. I’ve unearthed clues that suggest Individual-1 was a candidate for federal office. I’ve narrowed it down to two suspects: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

To step way back, over the past 2 years we all badly under-estimated how solidly the Republican Party would commit to the Trump cult. The primary season has shown how terrified members of congress are of the lock-her-up screamers in their districts. Republican primaries have been all about who can express the most devotion to Trump. Never-Trumps have become grovelers, with people like Rand Paul turning from being a bitter enemy and Trump twitter target, into a resolute supporter doing all he can to undermine Mueller. Lindsey Graham likewise – now Trump’s best golfing buddy. It’s pretty clear quite a few Republicans have been blackmailed into loyalty by the Trump Crime Family and their foreign associates, not just via exploitation of hacked emails but also by honeytraps and direct bribery, and not just the obvious ones like Rohrabacher and Nunes.

Because we can no longer assume any chance of return to decency by Republicans, I think it’s now a simple binary based on the mid-terms:

(1) Republicans retain the House, 28% probability (per 538 https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...orecast/house/)

This is a pretty awful outcome for America, partly because almost certainly the Democrats will have won the combined vote, for example by +5%. Democrats need to get to +7% to get a majority of seats (some analysts say they need +11%). Voter suppression and gerrymandering would have worked. Survival of the norms of democracy looks unlikely, with both President and House being held while losing the national popular vote (and it would be the 3rd time in 22 years that the Republicans won the House on a losing vote share, after 1996 and 2012).

The Republicans would be in triumphant mode, even more committed to the Trump cult, and would move ahead to fighting 2020 as the Trump Party. Primary challengers like Kasich would drop away. I don’t see why they wouldn’t let Trump fire Mueller, purge Justice and the FBI, and pursue partisan investigations of political enemies. If they’re fighting 2020 as the Trump Party they should do it properly, fully inhabiting the world of “alternative facts” that Trump has invented.

Despite his horrific popularity numbers during economic golden years, possibly Trump could nevertheless win in 2020 due to extreme voter interference, and/or direct hacking of voting systems. Hacking voting systems would probably go unpunished politically, while the investigations and legal fights would take years.

(2) Democrats win the House, 72% probability. The Senate must surely stay Republican, due to the awful map the Democrats face.

The Democrats could win big, because at certain points in each state gerrymandering collapses and reverses on itself. (Imagine a 50/50 state with ten seats, eight of which are Republican by 55/45 and two are Democrat by 70/30. Total vote count is equal between the two parties but gerrymandering creates the 8-2 win. But the popular vote in total then shifts, Democrats winning the state overall by +10%, 55/45. The eight seats are then 50/50, two are 25/75. In other words, the gerrymandered seats can all shift from Republican and potentially give a 10-0 win to Democrats.)

A majority would enable the Democratic House to investigate, subpoena and attack at will. There are multiple angles to investigate, because Trump has never been a monogamous sort of criminal. He likes to **** around with many different sorts of crimes, rather than picking one and vowing to forsake all others for as long as both shall live. There’s everything: sexual assaults and rapes, the Trump foundation frauds, obstruction, the “collusion set” of crimes, the beauty pageant and university scams, the ties to the Italian mafia, the ties to the Russian mafia, the bank frauds concerning his bankruptcies, witness tampering and abuse of offering of pardons crimes, his criminal use of illegal immigrants in his businesses, the Stormy/mistresses crimes and the other “Cohen set” of crimes, the emoluments clause violations - and above all his money laundering crimes and the related tax crimes.

It looks like Mueller is targeting obstruction (because that’s already provable and has precedent in removing a President) and the “collusion set” of crimes (because Russian interference is such a serious threat). He’s letting SDNY handle the “Cohen set”. But a Democratic House wouldn’t need to limit itself so narrowly. Manafort Trial 1, the Virginia trial, demonstrates how nicely money laundering charges fit in with tax charges – tax evasion is an inevitable side effect when you launder money and relatively easy to prove. So you can just go to trial on the tax part and leave the laundering crimes for another day. (Manafort was convicted of five tax charges, one charge of failing to declare a foreign bank account and two bank fraud charges of lying to get loans.) Manafort Trial 2, the DC trial, is going to be on the more serious money laundering crimes and obstruction of justice crimes which are harder to get a jury to understand (plus a couple of technical crimes like failing to register as an agent for foreigners and signing false Foreign Agents Registration Act forms, which should be easy to prove). I think Mueller should expand out from the safe areas of obstruction and collusion into the Manafort Trial 2 type areas of large-scale money laundering, adding in the associated tax crimes – but he seems reluctant. The House could take on this burden. And finally get us the ******* tax returns, which there's no doubt will contain enough crimes for 300 years in prison.

And of course the House is able to reappoint Mueller if Trump fires him, employing him as the House’s special prosecutor.

In this scenario, the sheer weight of Trump crimes would build up over 2019. There’s certainly a risk the Democratic majority in the House would try to impeach too early. But at some point a few Republican House representatives would buckle and join them. The impeachment document could be incredibly lengthy, making Manafort’s list of 25 charges seem embarrassingly small time. And, of course, other members of the extended Trump Crime Family could be indicted directly.

I don’t know if the Republican Senate would then convict on these impeachment charges. But by this time we’d be heading into 2020. Others would join Kasich and McMullin to run against Trump in primaries. The 2020 Senate map is as good for the Democrats as 2018 is bad, and the Republican Party will be looking at losing both House and Senate with a President who the world knows is a criminal, even if the Trump cultist believe he’s Jesus. I can’t see how Trump can win in 2020 in these circumstances, even with electoral fraud. Surely the Republicans would collapse under the weight of Trump’s criminality and impeach or 25th him – trying desperately to restore at least some hope and running to reelect President Pence.

So, end of the day, I think there’s 28% chance of Trump surviving until 2020, immune to reality, and free to attempt to rig the 2020 election with help from his great ally across the sea. And a 72% chance we’ll see a sudden s-curve collapse of Trump’s control over his Republican lap-dogs, hopefully leading to a resolution where he’s removed, hauled into various trials and dies in prison.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:04 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Not legal trouble. So long as the expense related to the campaign, it would be a legal campaign expense. It would still be a PR nightmare, but not legally problematic.

This is different from, say, Duncan Hunter who spend something like $1500 of campaign funds on video games. Those games have no relation to the campaign, so it was not a legitimate expense. Had he spent $1500 of his personal money on video games that had no relation to the campaign, he would obviously not be in trouble.
No. That isn't how the personal use prohibition works. It isn't enough to say that the expense is useful for the campaign. You have to be able to say that you wouldn't have incurred the expense but for the campaign. An expense you would have incurred anyways, even if it's useful to the campaign, cannot be paid for by the campaign.

Quote:
That argument could have been valid if he not waited eight years to pay off Stormy.
He waited until she started making noise.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
One could question whether spending money to buy silence in a public election is even a legitimate action we should tolerate.
What are the odds that politicians will willingly criminalize this?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:07 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It doesn't matter if it's a "thing of value" to the campaign. It runs afoul, and obviously so, of the personal use prohibition on campaign funds, even if it used funds he donated himself to the campaign. You cannot use campaign funds, regardless of their source, for expenses that you would have incurred anyways, and Trump has been paying off women he slept with for years, long before he ran. Therefore it qualifies as personal use under federal election law.
No, it would be a campaign expense, because it is directly related to getting him elected.
That not being an option to Trump to maintain his chances since it would result in disclosure anyway, is not the law's problem. It looks like you are disappointed he doesn't get a loophole. Well, such is the life of a duplicitous politician.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:07 AM   #22
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Two former ethics chiefs have said that Trump admitted to a federal crime on his most recent Fox & Friends interview
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:09 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
There should be a legal way to improve a candidate's election chances by bribing women to keep quiet about their affairs without having to report the funding sources and expenses just like any other campaign transactions?
I'm not arguing for what the proper way for the law to handle this is. I'm saying that the law shouldn't make it illegal to categorize it as not a campaign expense and simultaneously make it illegal to categorize it as a campaign expense. Catch-22's are bad, and that applies whether you think it properly should be a campaign expense or you think it should not be a campaign expense. It' doesn't work to insist that it's both or neither.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:10 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
No. That isn't how the personal use prohibition works. It isn't enough to say that the expense is useful for the campaign. You have to be able to say that you wouldn't have incurred the expense but for the campaign. An expense you would have incurred anyways, even if it's useful to the campaign, cannot be paid for by the campaign.
Correction accepted. I added some bolding for emphasis.

Quote:
He waited until she started making noise.
Why did she start making noise when she did? Why not earlier? She did it because he was running for office. This was the time to make noise, either to get him to pay her off or to sell her story to a press outfit or publisher.

She did it because of the campaign. It became necessary to pay her off because of the campaign. But for the campaign, she would not have made any noise. But for the campaign, the noise she was making would have been irrelevant anyway.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:11 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by LSSBB View Post
No, it would be a campaign expense, because it is directly related to getting him elected.
Once again, that isn't how the personal use prohibition works. That isn't the test.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:16 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Why did she start making noise when she did? Why not earlier? She did it because he was running for office.
That wasn't his decision, you can't really make him responsible for it.

Quote:
She did it because of the campaign.
Yes, it may be that she did it because of the campaign. That doesn't mean he did.

Quote:
It became necessary to pay her off because of the campaign.
His record of paying off other women before the campaign establishes precedent that for his part this is not a but for the campaign expense. He pays to silence former sex partners, campaign or no. And it is his decision making, not hers, which matters here.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:18 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Once again, that isn't how the personal use prohibition works. That isn't the test.
Here, again, is the relevant code:
Quote:
Can I use remaining campaign funds to cover personal expenses?
Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited, even when a federal candidate or officeholder is no longer seeking election to federal office. In determining whether expenses are for personal use or are legitimate campaign/officeholder expenses, the Commission uses the “Irrespective Test.” Personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder. 11 CFR 113.1(g). More simply put, if the expense would exist even in the absence of the candidacy or even if the officeholder were not in office, then the personal use ban applies.
Since the expense was to keep her quiet for the election, it would not exist in the absence of the candidacy.

In my non-lawyerly opinion. What are your credentials?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:22 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
That wasn't his decision, you can't really make him responsible for it.



Yes, it may be that she did it because of the campaign. That doesn't mean he did.



His record of paying off other women before the campaign establishes precedent that for his part this is not a but for the campaign expense. He pays to silence former sex partners, campaign or no. And it is his decision making, not hers, which matters here.
He can only weasel out, ala Edward 's defense, if it cannot be positively established to have done so specifically for the election. If there is evidence to the contrary, which we may not be privy to and the judge may be, then it could have been positively established. Which it apparently was, to the judge's satisfaction.

ETA: in my non-lawyerly opinion.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:31 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by LSSBB View Post
Since the expense was to keep her quiet for the election, it would not exist in the absence of the candidacy.
Trump paid off sex partners to keep them quiet well before he ever ran for office. You can't prove that it was solely for the election, it doesn't matter if the election was an additional motive, he had non-election motives and precedent for acting on those motives.

Quote:
In my non-lawyerly opinion. What are your credentials?
I don't base my arguments on my credentials. Nor do I hold a lack of credentials against other people's arguments.

This isn't a new issue, BTW. They tried to nail John Edwards for the same thing (paying off a mistress during a campaign). The prosecutors failed to get a conviction, and rightly so.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:35 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
One could question whether spending money to buy silence in a public election is even a legitimate action we should tolerate.
Silence, or rather the 'story' is being sold and anyone can buy it if terms are agreed. These are personal stories of a non-criminal nature.

Perhaps there is a way to ban profiting from the story in the first place once the election is well underway? Not sure how it would work, but getting all the salacious claims out early would be a nice change. There are motivations other than receiving payment but i think most of these deals are about the money.
eta: So that towards the end of the campaign, no one can pay anyone to remain silent.

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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:38 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Trump paid off sex partners to keep them quiet well before he ever ran for office. You can't prove that it was solely for the election, it doesn't matter if the election was an additional motive, he had non-election motives and precedent for acting on those motives.



I don't base my arguments on my credentials. Nor do I hold a lack of credentials against other people's arguments.

This isn't a new issue, BTW. They tried to nail John Edwards for the same thing (paying off a mistress during a campaign). The prosecutors failed to get a conviction, and rightly so.
Do you even read what I wrote? I mentioned Edwards.

And none of the other mistress payments are relevant if there is evidence of specific communication directing the payment in order to win the election.

The reason I ask credentials, is to establish that without such what you maintain is the case is your non-professional opinion
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:43 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
No. That isn't how the personal use prohibition works. It isn't enough to say that the expense is useful for the campaign. You have to be able to say that you wouldn't have incurred the expense but for the campaign. An expense you would have incurred anyways, even if it's useful to the campaign, cannot be paid for by the campaign.



He waited until she started making noise.
And she started making noise when he ran for president. If he was still the petty tyrant of the Apprentice boardroom, a story about porking a porn star would have just flattered his ego.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:46 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by LSSBB View Post
Do you even read what I wrote? I mentioned Edwards.
In the following post, which I didn't see while I was composing mine.

Quote:
And none of the other mistress payments are relevant if there is evidence of specific communication directing the payment in order to win the election.
Perhaps, but your justification for believing in the likelyhood of such evidence, namely that the judge hasn't thrown out Cohen's guilty plea on that count, doesn't make sense to me. Judges aren't usually in the practice of taking on the role of defense counsel. If the defense pleads guilty, the judge is only going to reject that plea under extraordinary circumstances. The payment to Stormy is a lesser charge here. If the other charges are well supported and if the prosecution is recommending light sentencing (very likely since a plea deal was reached quickly) then I doubt the judge is going to consider it a miscarriage of justice that warrants tossing the plea. It's not like Cohen got stuck with a public defender who forced a bad plea on Cohen out of negligence or incompetence.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:48 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It doesn't matter if it's a "thing of value" to the campaign. It runs afoul, and obviously so, of the personal use prohibition on campaign funds, even if it used funds he donated himself to the campaign. You cannot use campaign funds, regardless of their source, for expenses that you would have incurred anyways, and Trump has been paying off women he slept with for years, long before he ran. Therefore it qualifies as personal use under federal election law.
You have an unqualified legal opinion that mirrors talking heads on conservative media, and Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to two Federal election campaign violations on the record in open court. Which should I give more weight, I wonder?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:48 AM   #35
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Micheal Cohen says that the purpose of the hush payment to Daniels was to influence the election.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:50 AM   #36
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the crux of the issue is the following language:

The Act defines “contribution” to include “any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office."

The FEC defined "the purpose" to mean the sole purpose, here there clearly was a personal interest (like in the Edwards case) and therefore the law should not and was not violated.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:53 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Micheal Cohen says that the purpose of the hush payment to Daniels was to influence the election.
You can't imagine why the prosecution might want him to say that? You can't imagine why he might be willing to say what prosecutors want him to say even if it's not true?
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Old 23rd August 2018, 10:56 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
the crux of the issue is the following language:

The Act defines “contribution” to include “any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office."

The FEC defined "the purpose" to mean the sole purpose, here there clearly was a personal interest (like in the Edwards case) and therefore the law should not and was not violated.
Not so.
Trump was known to have affairs whilst married, he even bragged about it. Unless we can see the nuptials in which Trump will lose money if caught cheating, there is no demonstrable damage to his family life.

But there would have been political repercussions.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 11:00 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Not so.
Trump was known to have affairs whilst married, he even bragged about it. Unless we can see the nuptials in which Trump will lose money if caught cheating, there is no demonstrable damage to his family life.

But there would have been political repercussions.
Your argument is disproven by the existence of previous hush money payments to other women which predate his campaign.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 11:06 AM   #40
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The President is a Crook By David Frum
Quote:
Trump’s whole philosophy of life is of a kill-or-be-killed competition. It’s an old question: Is Trump an authoritarian, or a crook? The answer is shaping up. Trump must be an authoritarian precisely because he is a crook. The country can have the rule of law, or it can keep the Trump presidency. Facing that choice, who doubts what Trump’s answer, or the answer of his supporters, will be?
Trump has been a grifter his entire life. He is a populist authoritarian. How anybody can defend him right now...it is just ridiculous.
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