Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Tero » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:38 pm

JimC wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 pm
I still can't believe that anybody could seriously defend the grubby actions of this utterly undignified travesty of a leader.
He is going to MAGA! And get rid of ALL regulation if given long enough time! Free market will give us reliable products without regulation!
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Cunt » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:45 pm

Tero wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:38 pm
JimC wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 pm
I still can't believe that anybody could seriously defend the grubby actions of this utterly undignified travesty of a leader.
He is going to MAGA! And get rid of ALL regulation if given long enough time! Free market will give us reliable products without regulation!
I only defend him because there isn't any other leader available in the US who won't be WAY fucking worse.

Who you would prefer? Another Clinton? Another Bush?

I really am suspicious of career politicians, who were groomed by their career politician parents, to tell everyone else what to do.

How many politicians get into it to serve the public, then retire FABULOUSLY wealthy? Does that seem ok?
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by pErvinalia » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:49 pm

JimC wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 pm
I still can't believe that anybody could seriously defend the grubby actions of this utterly undignified travesty of a leader.
Compare to the National's politician in Australia this week who was forced to resign from the ministry and ultimately resign from politics for texting some bird he met on a dating site. For the outrage brigade here (Cunt and 42), he is married with kids.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by pErvinalia » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:52 pm

Cunt wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:45 pm
Tero wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:38 pm
JimC wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 pm
I still can't believe that anybody could seriously defend the grubby actions of this utterly undignified travesty of a leader.
He is going to MAGA! And get rid of ALL regulation if given long enough time! Free market will give us reliable products without regulation!
I only defend him because there isn't any other leader available in the US who won't be WAY fucking worse.

Who you would prefer? Another Clinton? Another Bush?

I really am suspicious of career politicians, who were groomed by their career politician parents, to tell everyone else what to do.

How many politicians get into it to serve the public, then retire FABULOUSLY wealthy? Does that seem ok?
I'm absolutely no fan of the Clintons, and I'm on record enough saying that, but there's something to be said for a leader who actually understands the concepts of governing and leadership.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Brian Peacock » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:53 pm

Yeah, you really want a nerd in that kind of job, not a wise guy.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Animavore » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:57 pm

JimC wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 pm
I still can't believe that anybody could seriously defend the grubby actions of this utterly undignified travesty of a leader.
Because they're a bunch of mini-Hitlers and criminal wannabes themselves who have fantasies of domination.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by JimC » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:13 pm

pErvinalia wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:49 pm
JimC wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 pm
I still can't believe that anybody could seriously defend the grubby actions of this utterly undignified travesty of a leader.
Compare to the National's politician in Australia this week who was forced to resign from the ministry and ultimately resign from politics for texting some bird he met on a dating site. For the outrage brigade here (Cunt and 42), he is married with kids.
Interesting contrast to Barnaby...
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:42 am

Forty Two wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:31 pm
So, fuck off with that ...
You've bitched about my links far more than I have about yours, so don't be such a crybaby. I linked to the Alternet article mostly because Alternet doesn't put up a paywall. In essence it's a digest of two Washington Post articles, and the Washington Post does use a paywall after a certain number of articles.

The piece by Katyal et al. was already linked above.

Just as the Alternet article said, Giuliani did get on Fox and Friends this past May and say, "Imagine if that [the Stormy Daniels story] came out of October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton . . . Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen made it go away. He did his job."

Giuliani is admitting the payment to Daniels was made to benefit the Trump campaign. We now know that indeed Cohen didn't ask--he was told to make the payment by Trump as well as discussing with Trump the details of how the payment would be arranged. If it was all completely legal and cool, why didn't Trump just pay Cohen back instead of making a series of bogus payments for "retainer fees" to disguise it?
[Bradley] Smith claims that Trump’s payments represent a “personal” use of funds and thus cannot be considered a campaign contribution. As he notes, “personal use” spending is “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.” (Emphasis added.)

Thus, even though you might spend more on a suit because you’re running for office, clothing is a category of expense that would exist in your life regardless of your run for office. Similarly, if you’re a businessman who is engaged in litigation (the example Smith uses), your legal obligation to respond to that litigation would exist regardless of your run for office.

Moreover, candidates are hardly left to their own devices in interpreting the law. Federal regulations helpfully define “personal use” and personal use can include “legal expenses.” There is no category for hush money. Its definition will depend on the facts.

As George Conway, Neal Katyal, and Trevor Potter point out today in the Washington Post, when former senator John Edwards was put on trial for similar crimes, he “repeatedly argued that the payments were not campaign contributions because they were not made exclusively to further his campaign.” The judge disagreed and “rejected this argument as a matter of law, ruling that a payment to a candidate’s extramarital sexual partner is a campaign contribution if ‘one of’ the reasons the payment is made is to influence the election.”

The Edwards prosecution failed not as a matter of law but of fact. The prosecution simply didn’t produce sufficient evidence to prove its case. Here’s Conway, Katyal, and Potter on the contrasts between the Edwards and Trump cases:
A key witness, Bunny [Mellon], was 101 years old and too frail to show up at trial. There were no written legal agreements providing money in exchange for silence, as there are in Trump’s case, and no threats by the mother of the child to go public immediately if the funds were not received. That’s why one juror told the media that the evidence wasn’t there to show even that Edwards intended the money to go to Rielle Hunter. In contrast, in a bombshell disclosure this week, the public learned that AMI, the parent corporation of the National Enquirer, is cooperating with the prosecution and has stated that the payments were made to influence the 2016 election. And even more worrisome for Trump, reports emerged Thursday that Trump was the third person in the very room where Cohen and David Pecker (the head of AMI) discussed the hush money payments — making it very hard for Trump to assert a non-campaign-related purpose
So far, the best available evidence indicates that Trump’s commitments to Stormy Daniels didn’t exist “irrespective” of his campaign but rather because of his campaign. That’s Michael Cohen’s assertion. That’s AMI’s assertion. The affairs were relatively old — and so was the threat to his family — but the payments were new, rendered at a crucial time in a very close presidential contest.

Moreover, Cohen has indicated that prosecutors have a “substantial amount of information” that corroborates his testimony. And what is that information? Well, as the Wall Street Journal has already reported:
Mr. Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with his self-described fixer, Michael Cohen, and others. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has gathered evidence of Mr. Trump’s participation in the transactions
Here is the fundamental reality, Republicans — there is already far more evidence of legal culpability against Trump than ever existed against Edwards, and a federal judge permitted the Edwards case to go to trial. It is true that, if Trump does eventually face indictment, a different judge may have a different view of the law, but if Trump is counting on a favorable legal ruling, he’s playing a dangerous game indeed.

[source]

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:59 am

Brian Peacock wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:53 pm
Yeah, you really want a nerd in that kind of job, not a wise guy.
Let alone a Dunning-Kruger poster boy.

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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Cunt » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:53 am

L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:42 am
Forty Two wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:31 pm
So, fuck off with that ...
You've bitched about my links far more than I have about yours, so don't be such a crybaby.
Geez, if only a judge could see all the stuff you found on the internet...sheesh...you should email somebody about this...this will SURELY get your president removed!

ANYTIME now!
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Joe » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:34 am

Forty Two wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:44 pm
Forty Two wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:41 pm
Joe wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:46 pm
Forty Two wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:23 pm
Tero wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:36 pm
Here we go
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... reddit.com
The dirt will come out.
Oh, that's hilarious! They want his tax returns? LOL.

Everyone is familiar with the 1040 and Schedules, right? What "dirt" do you think is in there?

Has it ever occurred to you that politicians gave out their tax returns no problem because there really isn't anything anyone can tell from them? I mean, fuck, how naive are people? You'd be able to tell how much gross and adjusted income/taxable income Trump declared, and you'd see a schedule of businesses from which he drew income. But there is no way to audit or examine those returns without the 18,000,000 pages of receipts and bank account statements and general forensic accounting that the IRS has to do when they audit a return.

This is just a political ploy by Pelosi et al - they stuck their fingers in the air and judged that Democrats think Trump should release his tax returns, and get all giddy at the prospect, so they are making a pointless effort to get his tax returns to rally the base.

So, if there isn't much anyone can tell from them, why does Trump not want to release them? Easy - because his INDIVIDUAL tax returns minimize income, so as to pay the least amount of tax, and if folks see them, then they will question whether he is "really" a billionaire, etc. And, they will not know how to read them, or how to verify the numbers, and you'll get article after article by numb-nut and politically partisan journalists writing hit pieces based on half-understandings of the tax system.
You seem to be arguing against yourself here. How can getting Trump's returns out in public be a pointless effort when you've accurately described how they can be used as a political weapon in the run up to the 2020 election`?
As I mentioned, because the weapon used is a misreading of the returns, a misunderstanding of the tax system, and politically partisan unwarranted conclusions drawn from too little information that would be deliberately misconstrued.
Joe wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:58 am

True, but so what? Political weapons can be complete bullshit and still be effective if the media pick up the narrative an perpetuate it.
Yes, like the Russia narrative. And that is the "so what?" -- taking an irrelevancy and making it a scandal. It'd be like "we've analyzed his tax returns, and we can't tell if it's accurate, so that justifies an investigation and prosecution to find out...." over....and over... and over ... and over... again and again and again... the drumbeat.

When the media hears an allegation against someone they support, they say "so and so is accused without evidence." When they talk about Trump, any allegation must be investigated because we don't know if there is evidence until we investigate.

Joe wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:58 am

Do you really think the Dems would forego the opportunity to misrepresent Trump's tax returns? If so, you have a higher opinion of them than I do. :lol:
They would absolutely misrepresent them. They misrepresent his food and beverages, for crying out loud. If you listen to them, he's just an insane, but stupid, Nazi who sits in his bed eating cheeseburger, has absolutely no interest in anything anyone has to say, doesn't care about the country (especially the poor) and is just out to enrich himself.
Ah, the drumbeat! Those can be deadly. Benghazi and the emails, weapons of mass destruction, Whitewater, Iran Contra, Walter Cronkite including how many days the hostages in Iran had been captive in his nightly sign off, Watergate, and Vietnam War coverage have been drumbeats.

So I take it you've reconsidered your original thought that the Democrats getting Trump's taxes is a pointless effort, given how much they might gain politically.
Forty Two wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:44 pm
Joe wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:58 am
Forty Two wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:41 pm
As for whether we can learn anything useful from Trump's returns, we'll probably have to wait for Mueller's report. As a former US Attorney recently pointed out:
"The first thing that white collar prosecutors do . . . is you get tax returns and you get credit reports," he said, adding "it's easy to do."
Which has nothing to do with Russia. And, yes, that is what they do.
You mean you think it has nothing to do with Russia. You got no proof, do ya? :{D


His tax returns have something to do with Russia meddling in the election? The proof I have are the words and blank spaces on the tax forms. For there to be something to do with Russia, he'd have to be declaring income from some sort of Russian front organization. I think it's safe to say that if Trump earned income from a Russian front organization, that information would be revealed already from sources other than his return.

Also, usually we need some evidence in order to take an accusation seriously. When Trump said Trump Tower was bugged, the media immediately retorted "Trump says WITHOUT EVIDENCE...." -- well, they didn't have proof otherwise, did they? And, they don't seem to need proof to make accusations against Trump. They say that the lack of evidence means they just need more investigations to see if there is any.

I don't have proof there is no God, either.
Yep, you don't have proof, even moving the goalposts as you did, because you don't have Trump's returns. But at least you got to beat your drum about the media. :hehe:
Forty Two wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:44 pm
Joe wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:58 am
Forty Two wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:41 pm

"You get tax returns with an order from a federal judge – you get credit reports with a grand jury subpoena – because those are the documents that give you leads," he said.

"They tell you where the money is coming from. They tell you where the money is going, and they tell you who to talk to get more leads. So, does Mueller have Trump's tax returns? You bet."
That seems like a prudent approach, and one that would be as useful for congressional committee investigators as for a special prosecutor.

Perhaps not such a pointless effort or mere political ploy, eh? :prof:
Might nail him on a tax issue, for sure. That would be damning.
Taxes? Hardly damning, but as Rosenberg said, you get leads and contacts to get more leads and makes getting Trump's returns more than just the political ploy you described. Releasing them to the public, yeah that's pure politics and a terrible precedent, but getting them to start an investigation, that's just due diligence.
Only, you really don't. Trump's accountants sign the returns, and their information is already known. His business entities are far more openly known about through sources other than the tax returns. There are public records that set forth his corporations. What are you going to find out? Who he received his individual income from, which is already known.

His returns, also have been audited every year for many years. The IRS has already had a microscope up his financial ass.

And, given the lack of respect for privacy and security laws, I think we can all safely assume that Mueller has already received copies of the returns. And, the leaks from Adam Schiff and the rest of the Democrat machine wouldn't let something significant go un-released.

If the Mueller investigation, moreover, is down to an investigation of campaign finance missteps and tax returns -- well, Trump really must be rather clean.
The political dissident, linguist, and professor Noam Chomsky says the rest of the world thinks the U.S. media's Trump-Russia collusion allegation is a "joke" given the history of the U.S. in the last 135 years, and that if we are worried about foreign interference, Israel already influences more of American politics than Russia could ever hope to, in this interview with Democracy Now!

"Take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke."

"First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support,” he said.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video ... ssues.html
As amusing as you quote mining Chomsky for whataboutism and beating your drum about Mueller is, I'll take the informed opinion of the former US Attorney about the usefulness of Trump's returns over what you and your buddy Noam have to say.

Surprising that you're a Chomsky fan though. I think the more liberal folks here may have misjudged you. Here, I'll just put up the entire interview you quoted from, so they can reassess.



Kudos for getting your news from Amy Goodman too. She's brought a lot of important stories to light over the years.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Brian Peacock » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 am

So now I totally understand how Trump didn't break campaign finance law when he reimbursed Cohen, who has just been convicted of breaking campaign finance law for the expenditure he undertook on behalf of his boss during the campaign, because Trump would have reimbursed that money to Cohen irrespective of him campaigning for office, just as Cohen would have undertaken said expenditure irrespecitively, let's not forget that Cohen was also convicted for lying to the FBI and Congress about the scope of his former boss' financial and business dealings in and with Russia.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Forty Two » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:08 pm

Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 am
So now I totally understand how Trump didn't break campaign finance law when he reimbursed Cohen, who has just been convicted of breaking campaign finance law for the expenditure he undertook on behalf of his boss during the campaign, because Trump would have reimbursed that money to Cohen irrespective of him campaigning for office, just as Cohen would have undertaken said expenditure irrespecitively, let's not forget that Cohen was also convicted for lying to the FBI and Congress about the scope of his former boss' financial and business dealings in and with Russia.
Sure, he was convicted of lying, so which of his statements do you trust him on? The ones that reduce his sentence from potentially life in prison to just a few years for cooperating against Trump? Or the ones that he uttered when before he turned state's evidence?

Right - if the Trump payment to Daniels would have been made "irrespective of" the campaign, even if it benefits the campaign, it's not an illegal campaign contribution.
Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under 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.

More simply, 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.

Conversely, any expense that results from campaign or officeholder activity falls outside the personal use ban.
So, would the expense exist even in the absence of the candidacy? Looks pretty easy to say, yes, it would.

And, conversely, did the expense "result from campaign activity?" Clearly not.
If a candidate for public office decided to settle a private lawsuit to get it out of the news before Election Day, would that be a campaign expenditure? If a business owner ran for political office and decided to pay bonuses to his employees, in the hope that he would get good press and boost his stock as a candidate, would that be a campaign expenditure, payable from campaign funds?

Under the theory that then-candidate Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen violated campaign finance laws by arranging hush-money payments to women accusing Trump of affairs, the answer would seem to be yes. We should probably think twice before accepting that answer.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York has extracted a guilty plea from Cohen for “knowingly and willfully” violating campaign finance laws by arranging for payments to two women accusing Trump of extramarital affairs. Cohen admitted he did so under the direction of “a candidate” — obviously referencing Trump — to “influence” an election. Cohen was facing multiple tax and fraud charges that could have landed him in jail for the rest of his life, even if he beat the campaign finance allegations. By pleading guilty, he limits his jail time to just a few years.
However, regardless of what Cohen agreed to in a plea bargain, hush-money payments to mistresses are not really campaign expenditures. It is true that “contribution” and “expenditure” are defined in the Federal Election Campaign Act as anything “for the purpose of influencing any election,” and it may have been intended and hoped that paying hush money would serve that end. The problem is that almost anything a candidate does can be interpreted as intended to “influence an election,” from buying a good watch to make sure he gets to places on time, to getting a massage so that he feels fit for the campaign trail, to buying a new suit so that he looks good on a debate stage. Yet having campaign donors pay for personal luxuries — such as expensive watches, massages and Brooks Brothers suits — seems more like bribery than funding campaign speech.

That’s why another part of the statute defines “personal use” as any expenditure “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.” These may not be paid with campaign funds, even though the candidate might benefit from the expenditure. Not every expense that might benefit a candidate is an obligation that exists solely because the person is a candidate.

Suppose, for example, that Trump had told his lawyers, “Look, these complaints about Trump University have no merit, but they embarrass me as a candidate. Get them settled.” Are the settlements thus “campaign expenses”? The obvious answer is no, even though the payments were intended to benefit Trump as a candidate.
If the opposite were true and they were considered campaign expenses, then not only could Trump pay them with campaign funds, but also he would be required to pay these business expenses from campaign funds. Is that what campaign donations are for?

But let’s go in that direction. Suppose Trump had used campaign funds to pay off these women. Does anyone much doubt that many of the same people now after Trump for using corporate funds, and not reporting them as campaign expenditures, would then be claiming that Trump had illegally diverted campaign funds to “personal use”? Or that federal prosecutors would not have sought a guilty plea from Cohen on that count? And that gets us to a troubling nub of campaign finance laws: Too often, you can get your target coming or going.
Yes, those payments were unseemly, but unseemliness doesn’t make something illegal. At the very least, the law is murky about whether paying hush money to a mistress is a “campaign expense” or a personal expense. In such circumstances, we would not usually expect prosecutors to charge the individuals with a “knowing and willful” violation, leading to criminal charges and possible jail time. A civil fine would be the normal response.

But Cohen is not the normal defendant, and prosecutors almost certainly squeezed him to plead guilty on these charges, in part, for the purpose of building a case for possible criminal or impeachment charges against the president, or even, daresay, “influencing the reelection” of Trump.

Laws, once stretched from their limited language and proper purpose, are difficult to pound back into shape. We should proceed with caution here.
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Brian Peacock » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Forty Two wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:08 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 am
So now I totally understand how Trump didn't break campaign finance law when he reimbursed Cohen, who has just been convicted of breaking campaign finance law for the expenditure he undertook on behalf of his boss during the campaign, because Trump would have reimbursed that money to Cohen irrespective of him campaigning for office, just as Cohen would have undertaken said expenditure irrespecitively, let's not forget that Cohen was also convicted for lying to the FBI and Congress about the scope of his former boss' financial and business dealings in and with Russia.
Sure, he was convicted of lying, so which of his statements do you trust him on? The ones that reduce his sentence from potentially life in prison to just a few years for cooperating against Trump? Or the ones that he uttered when before he turned state's evidence?
Hmmm. Is this not a variation on the 'Everybody lies' aphorism you've recently been trotting out - that Cohen's just as likely to have told lies to mitigate being found out for telling lies, and that we can presume this because he's a proven liar?

Presumably, by the same token that investigators and prosecutors determined his initial lies they would be able to assess the truthfulness of his recantment?
Right - if the Trump payment to Daniels would have been made "irrespective of" the campaign, even if it benefits the campaign, it's not an illegal campaign contribution.
The thing is, and you might want to sit down at this point, the court has decided that Cohen's ex gratia payments to the ladies Trump maintains he didn't have sex with were tantamount to illegal campaign contributions. Is US justice a farce: it is fundamentally biased against Republicans, or perhaps just against Trump, or perhaps more broadly against the wealthy? Was this the decision from one of those nasty 'Democrat' or 'Obama judges' - you know, the one's you can't really trust to be honest because they're not one of 'us'? Or was Cohen framed perhaps, or just manipulated into believing falsehoods and regurgitating them by clever but subtle FBI brainwashing techniques? What do you think undermines this conviction, at least to the point where you're willing to spend time challenging its validity here?

In other news:
At a charged sentencing hearing on Tuesday, a US district judge told Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, that he had “arguably … sold [his] country out” and asked whether prosecutors had considered a treason charge. Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Reagan appointee, later backtracked on both remarks, but said he was “disgusted” by Flynn’s offences. He delayed sentencing to March – at Flynn’s request – noting that it would be “rare” for an offender to be sentenced before his cooperation with prosecutors is complete. The request to delay followed a warning from the judge that Flynn could go to prison and his insistence that Flynn clear up any inference that he had been entrapped by the FBI – a line of argument advanced openly by Trump. Asked whether he was entrapped, Flynn’s lawyer said: “No, your honour.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... eral-judge
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Forty Two
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Re: Trump and Russia; Spasiba, Harasho!

Post by Forty Two » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:35 pm

Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm
Forty Two wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:08 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 am
So now I totally understand how Trump didn't break campaign finance law when he reimbursed Cohen, who has just been convicted of breaking campaign finance law for the expenditure he undertook on behalf of his boss during the campaign, because Trump would have reimbursed that money to Cohen irrespective of him campaigning for office, just as Cohen would have undertaken said expenditure irrespecitively, let's not forget that Cohen was also convicted for lying to the FBI and Congress about the scope of his former boss' financial and business dealings in and with Russia.
Sure, he was convicted of lying, so which of his statements do you trust him on? The ones that reduce his sentence from potentially life in prison to just a few years for cooperating against Trump? Or the ones that he uttered when before he turned state's evidence?
Hmmm. Is this not a variation on the 'Everybody lies' aphorism you've recently been trotting out - that Cohen's just as likely to have told lies to mitigate being found out for telling lies, and that we can presume this because he's a proven liar?
Everybody does lie - in the sense that everybody's version of the truth is colored. It's the same reality that causes eyewitness testimony to be inherently unreliable. It's not a mere aphorism.

He's not just a proven liar - he's an "admitted" liar.

Also, it's not just a question of "lying." If he admits that Trump told him to make the payment to Stormy Daniels, is he admitting to Trump asking him to violate the law? In one interpretation, yes, if one assumes that it's a violation of the law. In another, no, unless Cohen says Trump actually told him that he wanted him explicitly to violate campaign finance laws. The plea is to a violation of campaign finance law, yes, which has a much smaller sentence than all the other charges he was facing. It's not a determination that the prosecutor's allegation that conduct X, Y, Z actually is a violation of campaign finance law. In other words, it's not as simple as saying "if Cohen said he is guilty, then Trump is guilty.

Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Presumably, by the same token that investigators and prosecutors determined his initial lies they would be able to assess the truthfulness of his recantment?
They might be able to assess his truthfulness, or might not. But, that's not how a plea deal works. It's common for people to plea to things they didn't do, in order to save themselves from harsher punishments.

However, it's not really a question of him "lying" about the payment being made. It was made. The question is whether it's a violation of the law. The plea gives the news pundits a way to say "see Trump is guilty" but in reality it doesn't have any such effect.

And we have to understand that just like the Starr investigation was not an objective investigation into whether anything wrong was done, it was a prosecution, looking to nail Clinton -- this is the same thing. They are doing whatever they can to get their target.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm
Right - if the Trump payment to Daniels would have been made "irrespective of" the campaign, even if it benefits the campaign, it's not an illegal campaign contribution.
The thing is, and you might want to sit down at this point, the court has decided that Cohen's ex gratia payments to the ladies Trump maintains he didn't have sex with were tantamount to illegal campaign contributions.
He did? Where is the judge's ruling? I read the plea agreement - says nothing of the kind.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Is US justice a farce: it is fundamentally biased against Republicans, or perhaps just against Trump, or perhaps more broadly against the wealthy?
In some ways all justice systems are farces, but not in the ways you just noted. The judge didn't decide that Cohen's payment was done out of a sense of moral obligation (ex gratia) or were illegal campaign contribution by Trump or a crime on the part of Trump, or "tantamount" to that. It would indeed be farce for Trump's fate to be in the hands of a judge accepting a plea bargain from someone else. Cohen's plea is neither a determination of that, nor in any way binding on Trump.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Was this the decision from one of those nasty 'Democrat' or 'Obama judges' - you know, the one's you can't really trust to be honest because they're not one of 'us'?
No - this wasn't a "decision." Are you privy to a decision that nobody else is?
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Or was Cohen framed perhaps, or just manipulated into believing falsehoods and regurgitating them by clever but subtle FBI brainwashing techniques?


About what? Cohen, perhaps, made a plea bargain in exchange for leniency. If John Smith is brought up on charges of grand theft and then fencing stolen goods of a potted plant the prosecution said was worth $1000, and the two separate charges would have him face a year in jail each - Smith says that he didn't steal the stuff, he removed it at the behest of the complainant, who had given it to him as a gift. Before trial, the prosecutor offers a deal - plead guilty to a charge of theft, and I'll give you probation, no jail time - has the judge in that case "determined" or "decided" that the removal of the plant was theft? No, of course not - the plea is a deal. It is not at all uncommon that people who sincerely think they're innocent will plea to that to avoid jail time and the time, expense, risk of a trial. The prosecutor says, "cop to theft, or we'll get you convicted and ask the judge for the maximum sentence..."

That's the dirty underbelly of the legal system. That's the sausage being made. Is the sausage better or worse quality when one part being ground up into the casing is "politics?"
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm
What do you think undermines this conviction, at least to the point where you're willing to spend time challenging its validity here?
Nothing beyond what undermines most plea deals where a defendant is asked to say X, Y or Z and plea to a charge in order to get leniency -- particularly where there is a political goal being sought after as well.

However, aside from that, we don't even have to question the conviction. The plea deal does not convict Trump. The statements made by Cohen in the plea deal were not that "Trump told me to violate campaign finance laws..." -- the statements were to the effect of "Trump told me to make the payment and wanted to help the campaign by doing so." That doesn't bind Trump, and it doesn't convict Trump, and it doesn't even say he broke the law.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm
In other news:
At a charged sentencing hearing on Tuesday, a US district judge told Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, that he had “arguably … sold [his] country out” and asked whether prosecutors had considered a treason charge. Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Reagan appointee, later backtracked on both remarks, but said he was “disgusted” by Flynn’s offences. He delayed sentencing to March – at Flynn’s request – noting that it would be “rare” for an offender to be sentenced before his cooperation with prosecutors is complete. The request to delay followed a warning from the judge that Flynn could go to prison and his insistence that Flynn clear up any inference that he had been entrapped by the FBI – a line of argument advanced openly by Trump. Asked whether he was entrapped, Flynn’s lawyer said: “No, your honour.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... eral-judge
I saw that - and it's quite interesting, and the judge's statements, I thought, were remarkable, at least in relation to my understanding of what Flynn was alleged to have done.

Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017, about two conversations he had in late 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak. The conversations came after the election but before President Trump had taken office.

I'm not sure how that "sold the country out" or constitutes "treason."

I like the Guardian - they, like CNN, can't help themselves but spin it. Even though Judge Sullivan said what he said either way, the Guardian has to add insult to injury and say that Sullivan was a "Reagan appointee." That's supposed to add credibility to the statements, because it's like "Holy Shit! Even a Reagan appointed judge - arch conservative - is saying stuff like this." Naturally, the Guardian gets it wrong, because Bill Clinton appointed Sullivan to the federal Bench. Reagan appointed Sullivan to the Washington DC "superior court" - which is the equivalent of a state court trial court (hearing general state civil cases, family law/divorce, landlord/tenant, general criminal stuff, etc.). The President appoints those judges, but that's not the federal bench, and after he served there, he was appointed to the DC Court of Appeals (which is equivalent to any other state court of appeals - again, not the federal bench). On his current gig of the US District Court, for The District of Columbia, he was a "Clinton Appointee." But, if you rephrase it to say "Judge Sullivan, a Clinton Appointee ,was disgusted..." it comes across differently.
“When I was in college, I took a terrorism class. ... The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said ‘Al Qaeda’ his shoulders went up, But you know, it is that you don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity, you don’t say ‘England’ with the intensity. You don’t say ‘the army’ with the intensity,” she continued. “... But you say these names [Al Qaeda] because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to be something.” - Ilhan Omar

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