The Russian Connection: Pee Tapes, Love Children and Grand Juries, Oh My

Unless you’re totally detached from the news, you most likely know that former FBI Director James Comey wrote a book. That book revealed a lot, much o which we already knew but now confirmed by a person directly involved with Donald Trump and his cabal. Comey is not by any definition of the word a hero. He should have been fired by Barack Obama when he violated agency policy of not publicly discussing or revealing investigations. Comey admits in the book that, in his decision to reveal the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, that he was influenced by the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton was going to win on Election Day and it played a role in his fateful decision in October of 2016.

As for his controversial disclosure on Oct. 28, 2016, 11 days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reviewing more Clinton emails that might be pertinent to its earlier investigation, Comey notes here that he had assumed from media polling that Clinton was going to win. He has repeatedly asked himself, he writes, whether he was influenced by that assumption: “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”

I’m just hoping that in the inevitable round of interviews someone asks Comey why he didn’t reveal that Trump, too, was under investigation. I’m no going to hold my breath.

Nor was Comey the saint he’s portrayed as stemming from the 2004 hospital ICU encounter stopping the ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft from being harassed into signing the papers reauthorizing the domestic surveillance program secretly launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. After the program was restructured, Comey signed them anyway. He also authorized waterboarding and other forms of torture which are illegal under US and International law.

Did Comey deserve to be fired? Absolutely, but not for the reasons that Trump did it.

Leaving that behind, Comey recounts his conversation with Trump at Trump Tower shortly after the election where Trump seemed obsessed with the so-called pee tape allegations

According to Comey’s telling in A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Trump was obsessive about disproving the most salacious allegations in the infamous intelligence dossier about him: that there is footage of him watching prostitutes urinate in the same Moscow hotel suite that the Obamas had once stayed in.

Trump “strongly denied the allegations, asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes,” Comey wrote of conversations he had with Trump about the dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Trump brought up the alleged incident with him at least four times in January 2017, according to the 304-page memoir. [..]

Trump reportedly later asked Comey what he could do to “lift the cloud” surrounding the allegation due to pain it was causing first lady Melania Trump.

This prompted Late Show host Seth Meyers response: “Oh my god, it’s real.”

“It has to be. Why would you ask the FBI director to investigate a pee tape if you knew for a fact that the pee tape definitely didn’t exist? It’s like me saying, ‘Can you make sure there isn’t a tape of me in 1994 doing ‘Thunder Road’ at karaoke and then barfing and then slipping on the barf and farting?’”

Besides the Stromy Daniels scandal, the news broke that the doorman at Trump Tower was paid of to keep silent about Trump’s alleged love child with his housekeeper.

In late 2015, Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at Trump Tower, told a reporter for American Media Inc. (or AMI for short, which publishes the National Enquirer among other gossip outlets) that Donald Trump had possibly fathered a child out of wedlock with an ex-employee in the late 1980s. He passed a lie detector test, AMI paid him $30,000 for the exclusive rights to his account, and then the company, whose president is good friends with President Trump, buried it.

Sajudin’s allegation of a $30,000 payoff to kill the story, reported first by the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow on Thursday, April 12, has since been corroborated in whole or in part by the Associated Press and the Washington Post. The Post’s Carol Leonnig spoke to Sajudin, who stood by his story and told her it “had to come out.”

In a statement, he elaborated, “I was instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.”

Then today we find out that another of Michael Cohen’s clients, deputy RNC finance chair Elliot Broidy, has resigned when it was revealed that Cohen helped make a payment of $1.6 million to a former Playboy playmate reportedly impregnated by Broidy.

Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen helped make another payment: $1.6 million to a former Playboy playmate reportedly impregnated by Cohen’s RNC committee colleague Elliott Broidy. Broidy has reportedly resigned from the RNC.

According to the Journal, in the settlement agreement, Cohen even used the same pseudonyms for Broidy and the former Playboy model as he used in the nondisclosure agreement between Trump and porn actress Stormy Daniels: David Dennison and Peggy Peterson.

Cohen is still a member of the RNC finance committee as of today. And the RNC (and a Trump 2020 Super PAC) have refused to return Wynn’s donations.

Cohen has even worse headaches. Today in federal court hearing to suppress evidence in the search of his office and residences, prosecutors revealed that Cohen has been the target of a grand jury investigation for months in the Southern District of New York

Cohen has been the subject of a “months-long investigation” into “acts of concealment” and “fraud” as part of an “ongoing grand jury investigation,” the filing said. Prosecutors obtained search warrants on multiple email accounts maintained by Cohen before Monday’s raid, they said.

The filing was submitted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in response to a motion by Cohen earlier Friday that asked a federal judge to block the Justice Department’s access to documents seized in the raid until he reviews them to determine what might be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors responded that Cohen’s request “belies the true intent of his motion: To delay the case and deprive the [U.S. Attorney’s Office] of evidence to which it is entitled.” [..]

Although the nature of that alleged conduct remains a mystery, the filing says that the investigation “largely centers on [Cohen’s] personal business dealings.”

The filing took a direct shot at Cohen’s claim that much of the evidence seized falls under the umbrella of attorney-client privilege. [..]

Prosecutors also used Cohen and Trump’s words against them in the filing, particularly Trump’s denial that he knew about a $130,000 payment made by Cohen to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels, currently embroiled in her own legal battle with Cohen and the president, says that the payment was made in exchange for her silence about a physical relationship between herself and the president in 2006, shortly after the birth of Trump’s fifth child.

Keep in mind this all was instigated by the lose lips of a campaign policy advisor in a London bar.

Stay tuned this day isn’t over.