Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy: What we do here today echoes in Eternity

IN THE BIG SCHEME, HUMANITY IS A TINY PEANUT GALLERY, BUT STILL WE ARE A DOT ON A STRAND ON THE GREAT WEB THE HOPIS CALLED SPIDER WOMAN, AND IN SOME WAY WHAT WE DO PLUNKS THE STRAND ON WHICH WE PERCH, OR FALL FROM, AND THAT EFFECTS THE ENTIRE WEB SOMEHOW OR ANOTHER, AND THE ECHO REVERBERATES BACK TO US. SAYING IT ANOTHER WAY, WHAT WE DO HERE TODAY ECHOS IN ETERNITY.



https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/11/media/time-person-of-the-year-2018/index.html


New York (CNN Business)Time magazine has chosen "The Guardians," a group of journalists who have been targeted for their work, as Person of the Year.
A series of four black-and-white covers highlights what the magazine calls "the War on Truth."
The group includes Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor who was killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October. This is the first time that a Person of the Year is a deceased person.
Another cover features Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists who were arrested one year ago in Myanmar while they were working on stories about the killings of Rohingya Muslims, a minority population in Myanmar's Rakhine state. The two men remain behind bars. Their wives were photographed for the cover.
    "The Guardians" also includes the journalists at the Capital Gazette, the Annapolis, Maryland newspaper where five employees were murdered by a gunman last June.
    And the fourth cover shows Maria Ressa, chief executive of the Philippine news website Rappler. She was indicted last month on tax evasion charges — a case that free speech and civil liberties advocates have warned is part of a wider crackdown on dissent by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.
    "For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians" are the Person of the Year, Time editor Ed Felsenthal wrote.
    Felsenthal unveiled the covers on the "Today" show on Tuesday.
    "As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year's major stories." he said.
    President Trump, not coincidentally, was the runner-up for this year's Person of the Year title. Special counsel Robert Mueller ranked No. 3.
    Karl Vick, the author of the Time's cover story about "The Guardians," wrote that "this ought to be a time when democracy leaps forward, an informed citizenry being essential to self-government. Instead, it's in retreat."
    And "the story of this assault on truth is, somewhat paradoxically, one of the hardest to tell," he added.
    Ressa, for example, said she is not allowed to comment on the case against her. (Rappler has said it is politically motivated.)
    Speaking with CNN's Kristie Lu Stout about the recognition, Ressa said "it's bittersweet and it's daunting. Look at the challenges we are facing."
    She said it's a "tough time to be a journalist, but what strengthens all of us is that there's probably no better time to be a journalist, because this is when we live our values and we live our mission."
    Fellow journalists cheered the selection of Ressa and the other reporters who are on the four covers.
      On "Today," Felsenthal discussed the killing of Khashoggi and the reasons for his inclusion.
      "This is the first time we've chosen someone no longer alive as Person of the Year, but it's also very rare that a person's influence grows so immensely in death," Felsenthal said. "His murder has prompted a global reassessment of the Saudi crown prince and a really long overdue look at the devastating war in Yemen."
      *****

      And, it prompted a global assessment of Donald Trump's ties with (debts owed to) Saudi Arabia.

      Ever Humble, of course:



      Trump thinks he should again be named Time magazine's Person of the Year


      David Knowles
      Editor


      Donald Trump knows who Time magazine should pick for 2018’s Person of the Year award, and it’s no surprise: Donald Trump.
      At an impromptu press encounter at the White House Tuesday before leaving for Thanksgiving, which he will spend at Mar-a-Lago, Trump was asked who should receive the magazine’s honor this year.
      “I can’t imagine anybody other than Trump,” the president said, meaning himself. “Can you imagine anybody other than Trump?”
      Trump was Person of the Year in 2016, the year he was elected president. Other presidents, including Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan, have been chosen twice.
      Trump has credited himself with leading his party to a “tremendous victory” in this year’s midterm election, although in fact Democrats retook control of the House of Representatives in a result that has widely been read as a protest against the president’s leadership.


      President Trump speaks to reporters while walking to board Marine One to depart for Mar-a-Lago from the White House on Tuesday. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

      Trump’s remarks came after reporters peppered him with questions about his decision to stand by the government of Saudi Arabia despite mounting evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman  ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, his daughter Ivanka’s use of private email to conduct official government business and his deployment of more than 5,000 U.S. military troopsat the border with Mexico. 
      “To be on the cover of Time as Person of the Year is a tremendous honor,” Trump told former Today show host Matt Lauer in 2016.
      Today, the president made sure that he had the correct title of the award, which was called Man of the Year until 1999.
      “It’s called Person of the Year, right? It’s no longer Man of the Year, right?”
      *****
      Aw, Herr Donald, it's still supposed to a man's world, right?
      sloanbashinsky@outlook.com

      Monday, December 10, 2018

      Godspeed to Key West's progressive, charismatic new mayor, Teri Johnston. If Florida Keys voters like elected officials who ignore what is really going on, and if the voters approve of the murder of Charles Eimers by the Key West Police Department, then they should vote for former Key West mayor Craig Cates in the 2020 county commission race

      In my last dream before dawn today, I was put to deciding whether or not to let recently term-limited-out Key West mayor Craig Cates, above, get away with being anonymous. The tone of the dream did not favor my letting him get away with it. I then set to pondering what exactly I was supposed to do about it?

      I thought back to a conversation last night with a Key West friend, who has been really active in city politics over the years. My friend said the city's new mayor, Teri Johnston, below, is publicly speaking to heart-wrenching troubles many city residents are having. 
      Such as Teri talking at a city commission meeting about a man who got evicted from his trailer in a trailer park, which a developer had bought and was going to turn into a hotel or condos for rich people. Unable to find somewhere else to live, which he could afford, the man was forced to live in his truck, which is illegal in Key West. 

      Such as Teri talking at the opening of the SOS food for the poor program grand opening next to city hall, of a single mother, who is a waitress, who has moved over 50 times during the years she has lived in Key West, just trying to stay inside, not be homeless.

      My friend said, when Craig Cates was mayor, he never talked about such things publicly. He saw Key West through rose-colored glasses. I said Cates' middle name is propaganda. My friend knows I ran against Cates 4 times. 

      Cates is what is called a "conch". Born in Key West. Teri Johnston is from Iowa. She has a much broader perspective than Cates, who married his Key West High School sweetheart, raised a family and lived and worked in Key West, before he retired from his NAPA business and later ran for mayor the first time, 2009.

      I had attended maybe 100 city commission meetings, and had spoken hundreds of times during citizen comments at those meetings, and had run twice for mayor and twice for county commission and had attended and spoken during many county commission meetings. Yet I had never heard of Craig Cates before I saw in the Key West Citizen in the fall of 2008 that he was going to run for mayor. 

      Teri Johnston was in her 1st term as a city commissioner. The best, by far, city commissioner I had seen in the city. She served 2 terms, winning both elections by landslides. She declined to run for a 3rd term. I figured she'd had enough of what was  happening at city commission meetings. 

      Cates term-limited out this year and Teri filed to run for mayor. The front-runner in the 7-candidate primary, she did not get over 50-percent of the votes, which required a run-off in the general election against Margaret Romero, a Conch. Teri got 2/3rds of the votes in the general election.

      My Key West friend said he hopes Teri will make a difference. I said Teri has a steep climb. There is no way to solve the motor traffic congestion, parking space shortage, and affordable housing crises. The city made a giant dog park out of its one large tract of public land, Truman Waterfront, where a lot of actually affordable housing could have been built. The city doesn't have enough of its own land left to get anywhere close to building enough affordable housing. Land is too expensive for commercial developers to build affordable housing. There are building rights limitations imposed by Tallahassee. All Teri can do is chip away at those problems, she cannot resolve them.

      My friend mentioned talking with a local businessman, who had to lay off most of his workers and he and his wife now are the workers. When the businessman lamented what is really going on in Key West, my friend replied that Craig Cates had not wanted to speak to that when he was mayor. The businessman said he had to get back to work. 

      I said I had talked with the businessman about a month ago. I asked him if his business was making enough money to pay the rent? Yes, he said, but that's all. I felt awful for him. He is a good capitalist. He tries to make an honest living and do his workers right. I hate what he is going though. There are capitalists in Key West I would like to see go busted, but not this man. He's the kind of businessman the city needs. Yet, he did not want to talk about Craig Cates. 

      I told my friend that I told the businessman there is no fixing the city's major problems. Just view what's going on as theater and do his best to live with it and try to enjoy it. He could go mad otherwise. He's still in crusader mode, though, and as long as he is there, he won't be able to view it realistically. My friend said he no longer is in crusader mode. He sees that the best Teri Johnston can do is try to mitigate the unfixable problems. 

      My friend said the city manager, Jim Scholl, recently announced the minimum wage for city employees will be $15 an hour. I said I had pushed that for years, glad to hear it's happening. The lowest paid city workers are what keeps the city government working. The mayor, city commissioners and city manager could disappear and the city would keep working. But what if the workers who clean up Duval Street every morning disappear? What if the workers who pick up the garbage disappear? 

      I said I think the city should use its remaining land to build affordable housing only for low-paid city employees - it's not city government's job to build affordable housing for "Holiday Inn" employees, that's "Holiday Inn's" job. My friend said that could lead to a "company town". I agreed, but said again, that's who the city should build affordable housing for: its own low-paid employees.

      I don't know where Teri Johnston stands on that, but she is a building contractor, and she knows land cost is sky-high in and near Key West and commercial developers cannot build affordable housing and make a profit unless they get considerable subsidies from the city and county, state and federal governments. 

      If I were Teri, I would vote against any new commercial development that does not provide affordable housing for all the new development's low-paid workers. If I were Teri, I would vote against issuing licences for new businesses that do not provide affordable housing for their low-paid workers. If I were Teri, I would tell the local water and electric companies, the school board, the mosquito control board, etc., it is their job to build affordable housing on their land for their low-paid workers. If I were Teri, I would vote against any real estate development that eliminates existing housing low-income residents can afford.

      I wonder how much affordable housing the city lost during Craig Cates' 5 terms as mayor? The city did not build one stick of affordable housing when he was mayor. 

      Cates led the charge for the city to give a mainland developer the down payment on the "affordable" Peary Court apartments in Key West. 2-bedroom apartments renting out at $2,500 a month, plus utilities. Apartments no low-paid city employees could come close to affording. The developer financed the rest of the purchase price, and got it without spending any of his own money, with the rents paying the mortgage, maintenance and upgrades.

      I hope Teri Johnston takes the city in a new direction. 
      Meanwhile, when I went online and read today's Key West Citizen (keysnews.com), I had deja vue - almost!

      Man leads police on a slow-speed chase 
      CITIZEN STAFF
      A Key West man was arrested on Thursday after he cut through a parking lot to avoid a red light and then fled from the police. Tauras Terrell Hines, 40, was charged with fleeing law enforcement and refusal to accept and sign a citation. He also was issued traffic citations for cutting across to avoid a red light and running a stop sign. Around 10:55 p.m., officers were on patrol when they saw a silver Mazda approach a traffic light at the intersection of White Street and Truman Avenue. As the light turned red, the vehicle cut through a gas station parking lot and continued down Truman, leading officers to attempt a traffic stop. However, despite the patrol car having its lights and siren activated, the vehicle continued on Truman without stopping. A second patrol car joined the chase, although the highest speeds reached were only 25 mph, according to the report. At one point, officers saw the driver pour out a bottle of liquid out of their window. The vehicle then ran a stop sign on Emma Street before finally pulling over. A man, identified as Hines, got out and continued to walk away quickly, so officers got out and ordered him to lie down. Hines complied, and he was immediately detained. Hines was transported to the Monroe County Detention Center, where he was released the following day after posting a $35,000 bond.


      ******

      Perhaps KWPD has turned over a new leaf. Perhaps that had to do with something atrocious that happened during Craig Cates' time in office? Perhaps having a new police chief also had something to do with what you read above, compared to this below?

      Those "cartoons" by Key West the Newspaper (thebluepaper.com) co-publisher Arnaud Girard, depicted what happened to Charles's Eimers on Thanksgiving Day, 2013, after he made an illegal lane change on confusing under construction North Roosevelt Blvd and was profiled by the arresting officer as being homeless by living in his car. Inexplicably, Eimers drove away before the officer was done writing him a citation. Eimers then led KWPD on a slow chase through the city, and then Eimers was apprehended by a posse of KWPD officers and surrendered and lay face-down on a beach as ordered, and was murdered by three of those officers, who got off scot-free.

      Mayor Craig Cates and the 6 city commissioners, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary dug up by Key West the Newspaper, steadfastly maintained the KWPD offices had done nothing wrong, yet the 7 electeds voted to pay Eimers' estate $900,000, instead of risk a jury awarding much higher damages. 
      But for Arnaud Girard and wife Naja, nobody in Key West would ever have heard of Charles Eimers. 

      Mayor Cates then went on to win another mayor primary with well over 50 percent of the votes, proving he and those voters, and the two times that many registered voters who did not vote, approved what city police had done to Charles Eimers, who was not homeless, but had only just arrived in Key West after retiring. He had driven down from Ohio to see if he wanted to live in the city of "one human family". Nope. 

      The night the 2018 election returns were broadcast on the city's TV station, Craig Cates said he will run for county commission in 2020. He lives in county commission district 1. That seat is held by 3- term county commissioner Heather Carruthers.  

      Heather is a good friend of Teri Johnston. Together, they started FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates Monroe). But for FIRM, residential and business windstorm and rising water insurance rates would be much higher in the Florida Keys. But for FIRM, the real estate market in the Florida Keys would crash for all but the very rich, who can self-insure. 

      The voters of the Florida Keys will need to ask themselves in 2020: Do they like elected officials who ignore reality? Do they approve of the murder of Charles Eimers by KWPD? If so, they should vote for Craig Cates in 2020.
      sloanbashinsky@outlook.com

      Sunday, December 9, 2018

      super stars are born, and then how do they deal with it?

      Saw "A Star Is Born" last night. The 3rd version of it. I had not seen the first two versions.

      Drunkard drug addict male super rock star discovers talented young female singing, acting and dancing in a cabaret and woos her to be all she can be, just do it, hold nothing of herself back, give the audience her full self, even if the audience doesn't want her full self; and he takes her onstage with him at his next concert and she is an immediate hit, and they fall in love and eventually get married; while she has drawn the attention of a top-shelf British talent music producer, who tells her she can go much higher and he can get her there, but she needs to dye her natural brown hair to platinum, and she says that's not her, so she dyes it to fake red, which also isn't her and it grosses me out, because I don't like the color and she goes against giving the audience who she really is;
      and she indeed takes off and receives a Grammy for best rising star, and hubby goes in the booze and drug tank and makes an ass out of himself at the Grammy ceremony, and later he tells her how ugly she is, after she tells him how badly he had messed up at the Grammy ceremony; and he goes into rehab and has soul search and comes out and makes amends with wife still in love with him; and top-shelf agent-producer reams hubby out, and tells Grammy winner she can't do shows with hubby, and Grammy winner tells top-shelf agent-producer that either hubby appears with her, or no deal; and she is to do another show and hubby says he will be there, but instead he kills himself while she is doing show alone wondering where he is, and nobody lives happily every after; but she sings his eulogy, a song he had written for her, before a packed house someone else arranged, and hubby's older brother tells her it was nobody's fault but hubby's.

      Kinda reminded me of Jimmy Buffet singing, "It's my own damn fault." 

      I wondered how "A Star War Born" went over at Tropic Cinema in the tiny fishing village with a big drinking and drug problem? Key West
      This morning, I saw in the news that Tyler Murray, the just-crowned Heisman Trophy winner last night, was outed right afterward on social media for having posted anti-queer posts to his Facebook, screenshots were provided, and shortly afterward those anti-queer posts were no longer on his Facebook. Murray is the University of Oklahoma's quarterback, who already had landed a lucrative Major League baseball contract. 

      I wondered how Murray would get along in Key West, which has a lot of LGBTQs, including the new city mayor, who is lesbian?



      Key West's official "One Human Family" philosophy was adopted by the City Commission maybe 25 years ago, and I think the city's large gay community had something to do with that. 

      The city creed caused me to say during citizen comments at city commission meetings, that Jesus was homeless and the city's "One Human Family" philosophy had invited God to put the city to the test regarding how it treated its homeless people. 

      In the back of my mind was Key West was said to have more churches for its size, (and more bars), than any other city, and Jesus had told his disciples not to be like the people who had not fed him when he was hungry, and as his disciples did unto hungry people, they did also unto him.

      In that regard:


      From: sloan bashinsky <sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com>
      To: diana.rojas@redcross.org <diana.rojas@redcross.org>
      Cc: James K. Scholl <jscholl@cityofkeywest-fl.gov>; tjohnston@cityofkeywest.fl.gov <tjohnston@cityofkeywest.fl.gov>
      Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2018, 11:37:20 AM EST
      Subject: SOS home-cooked meals for homeless people banned from KOTS?

      Dear Diana Rojo[a]s:

      Your name, email address and phone number are given in the Key West Citizen SOS article, provided in full below. I think this is a great thing SOS is doing.

      From the article:


      'The new 3,800-square-foot commercial kitchen is a division of the Star of the Sea (SOS) Foundation, which started on Stock Island in 2006, distributing bags of food to homeless people and working families struggling to feed their families. The outreach mission then grew exponentially in its efforts to provide hunger relief in Monroe County.'

      From new Mayor Teri Johnston's page on the city's website:

      'Hello and Welcome to the City of Key West,
      'As Mayor of Key West, I am proud to welcome you to our inclusive, laid back island life. Thank you for visiting the home of our 25,200 residents living our motto of “One Human Family”.' 

      A homeless women friend told me this morning that she came to SOS behind new city hall and was told she could not get a meal there, nor any leftovers. She said she thinks SOS prepares meals for the evening KOTS meals. She was banned for life from KOTS. As were quite a few KW homeless people.

      So, my question is, can SOS provide home-cooked meals to homeless people who are banned or suspended from KOTS?
      Thanks,
      Sloan Bashinsky

      Community kitchen nourishes youngest and oldest

      BY MANDY MILES Key West CitizenDecember 8, 2018
      S.O.S. Foundation Chair Doria Goodrich and Executive Director Tom Callahan, for whom the new community kitchen is named, admire the newly-minted facility's donor wall Thursday afternoon after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (ROB O'NEAL/The Citizen)
      S.O.S. Foundation Chair Doria Goodrich and Executive Director Tom Callahan, for whom the new community kitchen is named, admire the newly-minted facility's donor wall Thursday afternoon after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (ROB O'NEAL/The Citizen)
      This is how Mayor Teri Johnston described the new SOS Callahan Community Kitchen, behind City Hall, at its dedication Thursday afternoon: “Pure good.”
      The new 3,800-square-foot commercial kitchen is a division of the Star of the Sea (SOS) Foundation, which started on Stock Island in 2006, distributing bags of food to homeless people and working families struggling to feed their families. The outreach mission then grew exponentially in its efforts to provide hunger relief in Monroe County.
      In 2015, the foundation was approached about providing more nutritious meals for children in the Keys, hundreds of whom used to spend their summers hungry because they had no access to the free- and reduced-price school meals for which they qualify during the school year, SOS Foundation Chair Doria Goodrich said on Thursday.
      Emily Nixon, SOS Foundation deputy director, reinforced Goodrich’s comments with two simple, but unacceptable statistics: 48 percent of Monroe County students qualify for free and reduced-price school meals, but only 12 percent of them were getting those meals in the summertime, Nixon said, adding that Monroe County had one of the lowest summertime meal plan participation rates in the country.
      So the foundation agreed to do what it could and began using a series of temporary kitchens to make and deliver meals to daycare sites throughout the community. In that first summer of 2015, the foundation managed to cook and deliver 53,000 meals, although they were often mediocre frozen meals, said SOS Foundation Kitchen Director and Nutritionist Suzie Bruels.
      In 2017, the City of Key West gave the SOS Foundation a building behind City Hall that had been a locker room when the property was still a school. Donations then came in the form of cash and construction services to transform the defunct locker room into a state-of-the-art community kitchen.
      Each day, inside the new SOS Callahan Community Kitchen, teams of workers and volunteers plan, prepare and cook more than 700 hot and healthy meals that are then delivered to kids and senior citizens at nine different locations around town, including the Boys & Girls Club at Reynolds Schools, Inez Martin Day Care Center and the senior housing center on Kennedy Drive.
      Callahan, Nixon and Bruels also worked to lobby Tallahassee officials for permission to plan their own meals and use locally available fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, Bruels said on Thursday, adding that now the kitchen can use locally grown and donated starfruit and mangoes, when before, the government-dictated menus would only call for fruit cocktail cups, allowing for no healthier substitutions, Bruels said.
      “Rarely do we have an opportunity to talk about something that’s just pure good,” Mayor Johnston said Thursday to the crowd of 100 or so supporters, donors and community members who had gathered to celebrate the official grand opening of the new kitchen. “It’s challenging to live in Key West, with our low-paying jobs and a housing shortage in the third most-expensive county in the United States.
      “I just met a man today who is living in his storage unit after being evicted, along with 150 others, from his trailer park. It’s a sad situation, but I’m sharing it today because every day Tom Callahan and his SOS staff and volunteers make life a little easier for our community’s most vulnerable.”
      Callahan is executive director of the SOS Foundation who has worked tirelessly to secure federal grant funding and large food donations that have helped make the SOS feeding program the second-largest food pantry in South Florida. Last year, the foundation served 10,000 unduplicated clients and distributed 2.1 million pounds of food, Goodrich said.
      Red Cross to
      honor Callahan
      The Greater Miami and The Keys Chapter of the American Red Cross has recognized Callahan as the 2019 Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year.
      The 25th Spottswood Gala will honor Callahan in January. The annual event was established to honor Spottswood’s devotion to the principles of the American Red Cross and her determination in bringing the first chapter to the citizens of the Florida Keys in 1917.
      Proceeds from the Spottswood Gala will benefit the work of the American Red Cross in the Florida Keys.
      Tickets are available for the event, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 10 p.m., at Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, and can be purchased at http://www.redcross.org/spottswoodgala or by contacting Diana Rojas at diana.rojas@redcross.org or (305) 389-4778.


      sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com

      Saturday, December 8, 2018

      Will President Tweet's ex-lawyer turn out to be the Republican Party's worst nightmare?

      Been a thinking lately that President Tweet's ex-lawyer might turn out to be the Republican Party's worst nightmare. Not Trump's worst nightmare, nor his MAGAs' - I wonder if they are capable of even thinking in that way? But I have lots of Republican friends I can tell are not gaga over Trump, and sometimes they seem aghast. Perhaps to the point they, and the Republican Party before MAGA, might decide it's time to put Party, Country and God first in 2020. 

      Perhaps Michael Cohen, for starts, and other people close to Trump who got, or will get, indicted, will push that outcome into actuality.

      Therefore, down below is an independent historical presentation of Cohen, prefaced by this former practicing attorney's opinion that there is little chance Cohen acted on his own; he was directed by his client to do what he did, and he reported it to his client, which is how lawyers deal with their clients, in my experience. 

      While I doubt President Tweet knew the extent of his ex-lawyer's illegal actions, I can imagine that he knew enough from what he asked his ex-lawyer to do, to know that he was dealing with a lawyer for whom the law was not a jealous mistress he had sworn to obey and protect.

      Below the Wikipedia treatment is a closing note describing the dream that caused me to write about this today, and about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein yesterday.


      Michael Cohen (lawyer)

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Jump to navigationJump to search
      Michael Cohen
      Trump executive Michael Cohen 012 (5506031001) (cropped).jpg
      Cohen in 2011
      Born
      Michael Dean Cohen

      August 25, 1966 (age 52)
      EducationAmerican University (BA)
      Western Michigan University (JD)
      OccupationLawyer
      Political partyDemocratic (before 2002; 2004–2017; 2018–present)
      Republican (2002–2004; 2017–2018)
      Criminal statusPleaded guilty to all charges; to be sentenced December 12, 2018.
      Spouse(s)
      Laura Shusterman (m. 1995)
      Criminal chargeFive counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate or campaign.
      Michael Dean Cohen (born August 25, 1966) is an American attorney who worked as a lawyer for Donald Trump from 2006 to 2018.
      He was employed by Trump until the termination of his employment in May 2018, a month after a federal investigation began. The investigation led to him pleading guilty on August 21, 2018, to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud. In his statement before the court, Cohen said he violated campaign finance laws "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office", meaning Trump, "for the principal purpose of influencing the election" for president in 2016.[1] On November 29, 2018, Cohen made a second guilty plea for previously lying to the Senate about what knowledge he had imparted to Trump regarding the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow.[2]
      Cohen served as a vice-president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump[3] and previously served as co-president of Trump Entertainment and was a board member of the Eric Trump Foundation, a children's health charity.[4] From 2017 to 2018, Cohen was deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.[5][6]

      Personal life

      Cohen married Ukraine-born Laura Shusterman in 1994.[11][12][13] Laura Shusterman's father, Fima Shusterman, left Ukraine for New York in 1975.[13] He has a daughter who was attending the University of Pennsylvania as of May 2017.[14][15] His uncle is a family practitioner who gave medical aid to members of the Lucchese crime family.[13]
      Before joining the Trump Organization, Cohen had purchased several homes in Trump's buildings.[7] A 2017 New York Times article reported that Cohen is known for having "a penchant for luxury"; he was married at The Pierre, drove a Porsche while attending college, and once owned a Bentley.[11]

      Career

      Legal career

      Cohen began practicing personal injury law in New York in 1992, working for Melvyn Estrin in Manhattan.[9][11] As of 2003, Cohen was an attorney in private practice and CEO of MLA Cruises, Inc., and of the Atlantic Casino.[16]
      In 2006, Cohen was a partner at the law firm Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon.[17] He practiced law at the firm for about a year before joining The Trump Organization.[11]

      Business ventures

      In 2003, when Cohen was a candidate for New York City Council, he provided a biography to the New York City Campaign Finance Board for inclusion in its voters' guide, listing him as co-owner of Taxi Funding Corp. and a fleet of New York City taxicabs numbering over 200.[16][18][19] At the time, Cohen was business partners in the taxi business with "taxi king" Simon Garber.[19] As of 2017, Cohen was estimated to own at least 34 taxi medallions through 17 limited liability companies (LLCs).[19] Until April 2017, another "taxi king", disbarred attorney and convicted felon Gene Freidman[20] managed the medallions still held by Cohen; this arrangement ended after the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission decided not to renew Freidman's licenses.[19] Between April and June 2017, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance filed seven tax warrants against Cohen and his wife for $37,434 in unpaid taxi taxes due to the MTA.[21]
      Cohen has been involved in real estate ventures in Manhattan, including buying and selling four apartment buildings between 2011 and 2014. The total purchase price of the four buildings was $11 million and the total sales price was $32 million.[11][22] Cohen sold the four properties at above their assessed values, in all-cash transactions, to LLCs owned by persons whose identities are not public.[23] After this was reported by McClatchy DC in October 2017, Cohen said that all four properties were purchased by an American-owned "New York real estate family fund" that paid cash for the properties in order to obtain a tax deferred (Section 1031) exchange, but did not specifically identify the buyer.[22]
      In 2015, Cohen purchased an Upper East Side apartment building for $58 million.[11]

      Politics

      Cohen volunteered for the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis,[4] was an intern for Congressman Joe Moakley,[7] and voted for Barack Obama in 2008, though he later became disappointed with Obama.[4]
      In 2003, he unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for the New York City Council from the Fourth Council District (a Manhattan district).[16] Cohen received 4,205 votes, and was defeated by Democratic candidate Eva S. Moskowitz, who received 13,745 votes.[24] In 2010, Cohen briefly campaigned for a seat in the New York State Senate.[7][25] He was a registered Democrat until he officially registered as a Republican on March 9, 2017.[26][27][non-primary source needed] On October 11, 2018, Cohen re-registered himself as a Democrat in an effort to distance "himself from the values of the current" administration.[28][29]

      Relationship with Donald Trump and the Trump Organization

      2006

      Cohen joined the Trump Organization in 2006.[30] Trump hired him in part because he was already a fan of Trump's, having read Trump's Art of the Deal twice, bought several Trump properties, and convinced his own parents and in-laws, as well as a business partner, to buy condominiums in Trump World Tower.[11] Cohen aided Trump in his struggle with the condominium board at the Trump World Tower, which led to Trump obtaining control of the board.[11] Cohen became a close confidant to Trump, maintaining an office near Trump at Trump Tower.[11]

      2008

      Cohen was named COO of mixed martial arts promotion company Affliction Entertainment in which Trump held a significant financial stake.[31]

      2011

      While an executive at the organization, Cohen was known as Trump's "pit bull." In late 2011, when Trump was publicly speculating about running for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination, Cohen co-founded the website "Should Trump Run?" to draft Trump into entering the race.[7]
      In an interview with ABC News in 2011, Cohen stated, "If somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn't like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump's benefit. If you do something wrong, I'm going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I'm not going to let you go until I'm finished."[32]

      2013

      In 2013, Cohen sent an email to the satirical news website The Onion, demanding that an article The Onion had published which mocked Donald Trump ("When You're Feeling Low, Just Remember I'll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years") be removed with an apology, claiming it was defamatory.[33][34]

      2015

      In 2015, in response to an inquiry by reporter Tim Mak of The Daily Beast concerning rape allegations (later recanted) by Ivana Trump about her then-husband Donald Trump, Cohen said, "I'm warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting."[30]

      2016

      A video of an interview of Cohen by CNN's Brianna Keilar went viral, in which Cohen said "Says who?" several times in response to Keilar's statement that Trump was behind in all of the polls.[35][36]
      Cohen defended Trump against charges of antisemitism.[8]
      In 2016, he was a co-founder, along with Darrell C. Scott, of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.[37][38] Peter J. Gleason, a lawyer who filed for protection of documents pertaining to two women with sexual abuse allegations against Eric T. Schneiderman, stated - without offering details or corroborating evidence - that Cohen told him that if Trump had been elected governor of New York in 2013, the latter would have helped bring the accusations to public attention.[39]

      2017

      The Trump–Russia dossier, published in January 2017, alleges that Cohen met with Russian officials in PragueCzech Republic in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to "cover up all traces of the hacking operation". The dossier contains raw intelligence, and is widely thought to be a mix of accurate and inaccurate information.[40][41] Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[42][43][44] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September.[45] According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have theoretically entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist, if it occurred.[46][47]
      However, on April 13, 2018, the DC Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Cohen did travel to Prague during the late summer of 2016, with two sources having confirmed this secret trip. The evidence is said to show that Cohen entered the Czech Republic from Germany, and since both countries are in the European Union's Schengen passport area, Cohen would not have needed to receive a passport stamp to enter Czech territory.[48] The following day, Cohen again denied he has "ever been to Prague".[49][50][non-primary source needed] Cohen also said that he didn't travel to the European Union in August 2016.[49]
      In late January 2017, Cohen met with Ukrainian opposition politician Andrey Artemenko and Felix Sater at the Loews Regency in Manhattan to discuss a plan to lift sanctions against Russia. The proposed plan would require that Russian forces withdraw from eastern Ukraine and that Ukraine hold a referendum on whether Crimea should be "leased" to Russia for 50 or 100 years. Cohen was given a written proposal in a sealed envelope that he delivered to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in early February.[51]
      On April 3, 2017, Cohen was appointed as national deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.[52][53] In April 2017, Cohen also formed an alliance with Squire Patton Boggs for legal and lobbying counsel on behalf of Trump.[54]
      In May 2017, amidst expanding inquiries into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, two congressional panels asked Cohen to provide information about any communications he had with people connected to the Russian government.[55][56][11][57][58] He was a subject of the Mueller investigation in 2018.[59][60][61]

      2018

      In May 2018, the BBC reported that Cohen had received a secret payment of between $400,000 and $600,000 from intermediaries for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to arrange a meeting between Poroshenko and Trump, though Cohen was not registered as a foreign agent.[62] Cohen and the Ukrainian president's office denied the allegations.[62]
      In May 2018, Rudy Giuliani announced that Cohen was no longer Trump's lawyer.[63] In July, seized tapes secretly recorded by Cohen of his conversations with Trump about hush payments to Karen McDougal were disclosed to the New York Times, seemingly contradicting earlier statements by Trump denying knowledge of the payments,[64] and raising questions about campaign finance ethics.[64] Cohen also asserted that then Candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Jr. and other Trump campaign officials with Russians who claimed to possess information damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign, contradicting the President's repeated denials that he was aware of the meeting until long after it had taken place.[65]
      In June 2018, Cohen resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. His resignation letter cited the ongoing investigations and also criticized the Trump administration's policy of separating undocumented families at the border.[6]

      Payment to Stormy Daniels

      In the fall of 2016, adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels) was speaking to some reporters about her allegation that she had had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006. In October, Cohen and her attorney, Keith M. Davidson, negotiated a non-disclosure agreement under which she was to be paid $130,000 for her silence. Cohen created a Delaware limited liability company called Essential Consultants and used it to pay the $130,000.[66] The arrangement was publicly revealed by the Wall Street Journal in January 2018.[67][68]
      Cohen told The New York Times in February 2018 that the $130,000 was paid to Daniels from his own pocket, that it was not a campaign contribution, and that he was not reimbursed for making it by either the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign.[69] The Washington Post later noted that, by stating that he used his own money to "facilitate" the payment, Cohen was not ruling out the possibility that Trump, as an individual, reimbursed Cohen for the payment.[70] In April 2018, Trump acknowledged for the first time that Cohen has represented him in the Stormy Daniels case, after previously having denied knowledge of the $130,000 payment.[71]
      On March 5, the Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources recounting Cohen as saying he missed two deadlines to pay Daniels because Cohen "couldn't reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign", and that after Trump's election, Cohen had complained that he had not been reimbursed for the payment. Cohen described this report as "fake news".[72]
      On March 9, NBC News reported that Cohen had used his Trump Organization email to negotiate with Daniels regarding her nondisclosure agreement, and that Cohen had used the same Trump Organization email to arrange for a transfer for funds which would eventually lead to Daniels' payment.[73] In response, Cohen acknowledged that he had transferred funds from his home equity line of credit to the LLC and from the LLC to Daniels' attorney.[74]
      In a March 25, 2018, interview with 60 Minutes, Daniels said that she and Trump had sex once, and that later she had been threatened in front of her infant daughter, and felt pressured to later sign a nondisclosure agreement.[75][76]
      On March 26, David Schwarz, a lawyer for Cohen, told ABC's Good Morning America that Daniels was lying in the 60 Minutes interview. Cohen's lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter claiming Daniels' statements constituted "libel per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress" to Cohen.[77]
      Cohen initiated a private arbitration case against Daniels in February 2018, based on an October 2016 non-disclosure agreement signed by Daniels in October 2016, in exchange for $130,000. Cohen obtained an order from an arbitrator barring Daniels from publicly discussing her alleged relationship with Trump.[78][79] Daniels subsequently brought a lawsuit in federal court against Trump and Cohen, arguing that the non-disclosure agreement is legally invalid because Trump never signed it,[80] Cohen responded by seeking to compel arbitration, which would avoid public proceedings.[79] In April 2018, Cohen filed a declaration in the court saying that he would invoke his Fifth Amendmentright not to incriminate himself in the Daniels lawsuit.[81][82]
      On May 18, lawyers for Cohen filed an objection to Daniel's lawyer Michael Avenatti being allowed to represent her in a case involving Cohen, claiming it (the objection) was based on the violations of ethical rules and local court rules, among other issues.[83] After Cohen's August 2018 conviction, Trump stated that the payment to Daniels came from him personally and not from the campaign during a Fox & Friends interview.[84]

      Recording of discussion regarding Karen McDougal

      In 2016, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, claimed that she and Trump had an affair from 2006 until 2007, a claim that Trump has since denied.[85] The National Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for her story, but never published it, in a practice known as catch-and-kill.[86] On September 30, 2016, Cohen created Resolution Consultants LLC, a Delaware shell company, to purchase the rights to McDougal's story from the National Enquirer, though the rights to the story were ultimately never purchased.[87][88]
      Cohen had been known to record conversations and phone calls with other people.[89] According to his lawyer Lanny Davis, "Michael Cohen had the habit of using his phone to record conversations instead of taking notes".[90] Altogether the prosecutors have been given more than one hundred audio recordings from the material seized from Cohen in the April raid, after the Trump team withdrew their claims of privilege for those items; reportedly only one of them features a substantive conversation with Trump.[90] The existence of that tape was revealed on July 20 and the actual recording was released on July 25.[85][91]
      On July 20, it was revealed that Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump discussing a potential hush payment to the publisher of National Enquirer. The recording had been classified as a privileged attorney-client communication by the Special Master reviewing the Cohen material, but Trump's attorneys waived that claim, meaning that prosecutors can have it and use it. The conversation in that tape occurred in September 2016, two months before the election and weeks after the Enquirer paid McDougal the $150,000. In the conversation, Trump and Cohen discuss whether to buy the rights to her story from the Enquirer, and Trump appears to approve the idea. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, initially claimed that the tape shows Trump saying "make sure it's done correctly, and make sure it's done by check". Giuliani also noted that no payment was ultimately made, and asserted that Trump's team waived privilege and allowed the recording to be revealed because it shows no violation of law.[85] The recording appears to contradict Hope Hicks, then Trump’s spokeswoman, who said when the story of the Enquirer payment came out a few days before the election that the Trump campaign had "no knowledge of any of this".[92]
      On July 25, Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis released the actual recording to CNN, which played it on the air on the Cuomo Prime Time program. On it, Trump can be heard concluding a telephone conversation with an unidentified person and then discussing several items of business with Cohen. Cohen mentions that he needs to "open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David," interpreted as meaning David Pecker, the head of American Media which publishes the National Enquirer. Later when they discuss financing, Trump is heard saying something about "pay with cash", to which Cohen responds "no, no, no", but the tape is unclear and it is disputed what is said next; the word "check" can be heard.[91] A transcript provided by Trump's attorneys has Trump saying "Don't pay with cash ... check."[93] The tape cuts off abruptly at that point.[94] A lawyer for the Trump Organization said that any reference to "cash" would not have meant "green currency", but a one-time payment ("cash") vs. extended payments ("financing"), in either case accompanied by documents.[91] According to Aaron Blake at The Washington Post, "the tape provides the first evidence that Trump spoke with Cohen about purchasing the rights to women's stories -- apparently to silence them -- before the 2016 election."[94] He also notes that Cohen speaks in "somewhat coded language", which Trump understands, suggesting that he is already familiar with the issue.[citation needed]
      Despite the taped conversation, on August 23, in a Fox News interview Trump states that he was not aware of the hush-money payments until "later on": “Later on I knew. Later on. What he did –and they weren’t taken out of the campaign finance, that’s the big thing." He added: “In fact, my first question when I heard about it was, did they come out of the campaign, because that could be a little dicey. And they didn’t come out of the campaign and that’s big. But they weren’t…that’s not even a campaign violation.”[95] According to U.S. election rules, any payments intended to influence an election vote must be reported.[84]

      Payment to Shera Bechard

      In April 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Shera Bechard, a former Playboy Playmate, had an affair with married Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, got pregnant by him, had an abortion, and was to be paid $1.6 million in so-called "hush money" to stay quiet.[96][97] Broidy is a Republican fundraiser and deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee.
      In a 2018 court proceeding, Cohen said he had given legal advice to only three clients in 2017: Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, and Elliott Broidy.[98] In late 2017, Cohen arranged the $1.6 million payment by Broidy to Bechard as part of a nondisclosure agreement requiring Bechard to keep silent about the matter.[99] Cohen was Broidy's attorney and Keith M. Davidson represented Bechard.[99] Davidson had previously been the attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.[99] The Bechard nondisclosure agreement used the same pseudonyms - David Dennison for the man and Peggy Peterson for the woman - as in the Daniels agreement.[100] The payments were to be made in installments.
      On July 6, 2018, Bechard filed a lawsuit against Broidy, Davidson, and Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, claiming the three had breached the agreement in relation to the cessation of the settlement payments.[101][102][103][104]

      Essential Consultants LLC

      Essential Consultants LLC is a Delaware shell company created by Cohen in October 2016 to facilitate payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels.[66] For many months thereafter, Cohen used the LLC[105] for an array of business activities largely unknown to the public, with at least $4.4 million moving through the LLC between Trump's election to the presidency and January 2018.[106] In May 2018, Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti posted a seven-page report to Twitter detailing what he said were financial transactions involving Essential Consultants and Cohen. Avenatti did not reveal the source of his information, which was later largely confirmed by the New York Times and other publications.[106] The data showed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to Cohen, via Essential Consultants, from Fortune 500 firms such as Novartis and AT&T, which had business before the Trump administration. It was also revealed that Essential Consultants had received at least $500,000 from a New York-based investment firm called Columbus Nova which is linked to a Russian oligarch. The firm's largest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, a Ukrainian-born Russian oligarch.[106][107][108][109] Vekselberg is a business partner of Soviet-born billionaire and major Republican Party donor, Leonard Blavatnik.[110] A spokesperson for Columbus Nova said that the payment was a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Vekselberg.[106]
      Questions were raised about many of the payments, such as four totaling $200,000 that AT&T paid to the LLC between October 2017 and January 2018,[111][112] while at the same time the proposed merger between the company and Time Warner was pending before the Justice Department. AT&T claimed that the money was paid to the LLC and other firms that were used to provide insights into understanding the new administration, and that the LLC did no legal or lobbying work for AT&T.[106][113]
      On May 11, 2018, the CEO of AT&T stated that in early 2017 it was approached by Cohen to provide "his opinion on the new president and his administration". Cohen was paid $600,000 ($50,000 per month) over the year, which its CEO described as "a big mistake". Novartis was also approached by Cohen and was offered similar services.[114]
      Novartis, a Switzerland–based pharmaceutical giant paid the LLC nearly $1.2 million in separate payments.[115] Novartis released a statement May 9, 2018, that it hired the LLC to help the company understand the "health care policy" of the new administration, but it actually did not receive benefit for its investment. The statement continued that Novartis made a decision to not engage Essential Consultants further, but it could not terminate the contract for "cause", raising concerns on why the company did not pursue reimbursement.[116]
      Korea Aerospace Industries paid $150,000,[109] ostensibly for advice on "cost accounting standards".[116]
      Franklin L. Haney agreed to pay Cohen $10 million if he successfully lobbied for the United States Department of Energy to finance the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station, or a reduced fee if the funding targets were only partially met.[117]

      Federal investigation


      Cohen v US – Govt Opposition to TRO Request
      As of April 2018, Cohen was under federal criminal investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.[118]Possible charges reportedly included bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of campaign finance law.[119]
      On April 9, 2018, the FBI raided Cohen's office at the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, as well as his home and his hotel room in the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City, pursuant to a federal search warrant.[120][121] The warrant was obtained by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, whose public corruption unit was conducting an investigation.[18] Seeking the warrant required high-level approval from the Department of Justice.[122] The Interim U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey Berman, was recused.[123] Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray – both of whom are Trump appointees – had supervisory roles.[124]The FBI obtained the warrant after a referral from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, although underlying reasons for the raid were not revealed.[122][125] Following the raid, Squire Patton Boggs law firm ended its formal working relationship with Cohen.[126]
      Agents seized emails, tax records, business records, and other matter related to several topics, including payments made by Cohen to Stormy Daniels,[122] and records related to Trump's Access Hollywood controversy.[127] Recordings of phone conversations Cohen made were also obtained.[128] According to Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti and civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, some of the recordings may have included participants located in California, which would make the recordings illegal, as California is a "two party consent" state.[129]
      Since Cohen is an attorney, the search included the seizure of materials normally protected by attorney-client privilege, which is subject to a crime-fraud exception if a crime is suspected.[130] Some legal scholars opined that Trump's denial that he had knowledge of the Daniels payment, combined with denials by Cohen and his lawyer David Schwartz, meant both sides had effectively said that matter did not involve attorney-client communications.[131] Cohen and his lawyers argued that all of the thousands of items seized during the FBI raid should be protected by attorney-client privilege and thus withheld from the prosecutors. The judge presiding over Mr. Cohen's case in Manhattan, Judge Kimba M. Wood, appointed a special master, former federal judge Barbara S. Jones, to review all of the seized materials for attorney-client privilege. She found that only 14 of the 639 paper documents were privileged, and out of the 291,770 electronic files seized, only 148 files were withheld from the prosecution.[132] The search warrant itself has been sealed, making it unavailable to the public.[133] The FBI also sought documents pertaining to Cohen's ownership of taxi medallions.[18][134] Cohen's taxi fleet is operated by Gene Freidman, who is facing legal trouble for alleged tax evasion.[135]
      A few days after the raid, McClatchy reported that the Mueller investigation was in possession of evidence that Cohen traveled to Prague in August or September 2016. If true, the report bolsters similar claims in 3 of 17 reports from the Trump–Russia dossier. According to McClatchy's confidential sources, Cohen traveled to Prague via Germany, a passage which would not have required use of a passport due to both countries being within the Schengen Area.[136][137][138] In reaction, Cohen denied having ever been to Prague, as he had done in his January 2017 denial following the dossier's release.[139][49][50] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them "I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago", contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[140]
      On May 3, 2018, NBC erroneously reported that Cohen's phone lines had been wiretapped for weeks before his office, home and hotel room were raided and that at least one call between the White House and one of the phone lines associated with Cohen was intercepted. Later that day, NBC corrected the story to indicate that Cohen's phone calls had been monitored by pen register, which logs the origins and destinations of calls but not the contents.[141][142]
      The Wall Street Journal reported on July 26, 2018, that longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury regarding the Cohen investigation.[143]

      Conviction and subsequent events

      In August 2018, it was reported that investigators were in the final stages of their investigation.[144] Cohen officially surrendered to the FBI on August 21, 2018.[145] That afternoon, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal[146] charges: five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate for the "principal purpose of influencing [the] election."[147][148][149] The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York.[150] The plea deal did not include any agreement to cooperate with investigators.[151] The agreement did include jail time. His sentencing is scheduled for December 12, 2018. The judge said he can be released on $500,000 bail after surrendering his passport and any firearms he owns.[149]
      After Cohen's conviction his personal lawyer, Lanny Davis, stated that Cohen was ready to "tell everything about Donald Trump that he knows".[152] Davis alluded to Cohen's knowledge which could be used against Trump, and hinted that Cohen had knowledge of whether Trump knew in advance about the computer hacking that was detrimental to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as well as knowledge of the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.[153] He later added that he believed Cohen would agree to testify before Congress, even without immunity.[154]
      Responding to speculation that President Trump might issue a pardon for Cohen, lawyer Davis said on NPR, "I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a dangerous person in the oval office. And [Cohen] has flatly authorized me to say under no circumstances would he accept a pardon from Mr. Trump."[155] In his interview to Sky News, Davis said the turning point for his client's attitude toward Trump was the Helsinki summit in July 2018, which caused him to doubt Trump's loyalty to the U.S.[156]
      The New York Times reported on August 22, 2018, that Cohen court documents revealed that two senior Trump Organization executives were also involved in the hush moneypayments, and that Cohen “coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls” about the payments.[157]
      ABC News reported on September 20, 2018, that Cohen had multiple interviews with Mueller's investigators since his guilty plea, and has been cooperating with New York State investigators regarding the Trump Organization and Trump Foundation.[158]

      Senate perjury plea

      On November 29, 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the proposed Trump Tower Moscow deal which he spearheaded in 2015 and 2016.[2][159] Cohen had told the Committee the deal ceased in January 2016 when it actually ended in June 2016, and that he hadn't received a response about the deal from the office of a senior Russian official when he actually had.[160] This charge was brought directly by Robert Mueller's investigation, rather than the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who brought the previous charges against Cohen.[150] In a sentencing memorandum filed the following day, Cohen's attorneys stated he kept Trump “apprised” of the “substantive conversation” Cohen had with a Russian official, and discussed with Trump traveling to Russia to advance the project during the summer of 2016. The filing also stated Cohen “remained in close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel” as he prepared to provide false testimony to Congress.[161]

      State investigations

      On August 22, 2018, it was announced that the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance had issued a subpoena to Cohen in connection with their investigation into whether the Donald J. Trump Foundation had violated New York tax laws.[162] This investigation is separate from the New York Attorney General's lawsuit alleging that the foundation and its directors violated state and federal laws about the operation of charities.[163]

      Closing note:
      What nudged me to write yesterday about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and about Michael Cohen today was a dream the night before last, in which I was riding in the back right passenger seat of a car driven by a younger woman I do not know in "real life". There was a woman passenger to my left, behind the driver, I also did not recognize, and to the driver's right, in the "shotgun" seat directly in front of me, was President Trump, not in a good mood, silently looking ahead. I told the driver, "This redneck mystic is really looking forward to going to New York City with you." 
      sloanbashinsky@outlook.com