Saturday, December 15, 2018

Literary Corner: Rhyme

Great Liability
by Donald J. Trump
I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law.
He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know
the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and
a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made.
      That is why they get paid.
Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly
stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to
campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because
this was not campaign finance. Cohen was guilty
on many charges unrelated to me,
but he pled to two campaign charges
which were not criminal and of which he probably
was not guilty even on a civil basis.
Those charges were just agreed to by him in order
to embarrass the president and get a much reduced
prison sentence, which he did—including the fact
that his family was temporarily let off the hook.
As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!
They gave General Flynn a great deal
because they were embarrassed by the way
he was treated - the FBI said he didn’t lie
     and they overrode the FBI.
They want to scare everybody into
     making up stories that are not true.

I'm tantalized by the tentative way he's dipping into rhyme here, not in a rap star way like Sarah Palin, but delicate and shy.

His usual wiliness in on display. No, he didn't direct Cohen to break the law. He just directed him to pay off Trump's girlfriends to shut them up in some way that would make the money extremely hard to trace so that he wouldn't get caught doing it. If it was illegal (it was illegal because he had Cohen structure the payments to avoid mandatory disclosure requirements, and because Cohen and Pecker had loaned him the money, an unlawful campaign contribution), Cohen would have told him if it was illegal, since that was what he was paid for.

Which makes it the unkindest cut of all that the man pleaded guilty. How vindictive do you have to be to plead guilty to something that isn't a crime just to embarrass your old boss? When not only was it not a crime but he wasn't even guilty of it?

Not clear who the "they" are who gave Flynn a "great deal". He hasn't been sentenced yet. On the question of whether Peter Srtrzok and the other interrogator thought Flynn was lying, Vox has the basic data:
Indeed, a document submitted to the court, describing Strzok’s account of Flynn’s interview, says that he had a “sure” demeanor, that he “did not give any indicators of deception,” and that both agents had “the impression” that Flynn “was not lying or did not think he was lying.”

The document poses the question of how and why the government changed its mind — why Flynn’s denials initially seemed at least plausible to the agents who interviewed him, and what evidence convinced investigators otherwise. However, much of the rest of the document is redacted, so we don’t know what happened next.
I'm pretty sure I know one of the things that happened next; that Flynn's assertions about what he had said over the phone to Ambassador Kislyak were compared to the recordings NSA made of the Flynn-Kislyak calls, during their normal monitoring of Kislyak's phone. "They" knew he was lying because they knew what he had actually said. It really isn't complicated at all.

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