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Stephen McIntyre @ClimateAudit
, 16 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
there's remarkable structural similarity between the 8 Manafort and 8 Cohen convictions. 5 of 8 counts are individual years of income tax. Next, bank loan applications: Manafort 2, Cohen 1. Manafort (1 count) not registering foreign bank account; Cohen (2) campaign contribution
2/ if one were to ask ordinary citizens to single out a form of pernicious political abuse, it would be using the IRS against one's political enemies. But surely it's even worse when such IRS persecution is carried out by a Special Counsel with its extra resources and power.
3/ none of the supposed bank frauds arose from complaints by the banks. They arose only because Mueller used IRS powers to investigate and persecute political opponents.
4/ in 2010, I spoke out against Virginia AG Cuccinnelli's attempt to investigate Michael Mann for tax fraud on grounds that it was an abuse of administrative power (incurring wrath of many climate skeptics. Same applies to Mueller……
5/ Quoting: "My objection to Cuccinnelli’ CID was as apparent abuse of administrative authority. I did not doubt his jurisdiction over the University of Virginia ...and, if Mann’s name had popped up on short list using financial criteria under the Act, I would not oppose his CID"
6/ same principles apply here. If Manafort or Cohen's name had turned up in IRS screening, then they should be investigated by IRS. But using such techniques on political opponents and enemies is a terrible precedent. It makes US look like Ukraine.
7/ Cohen's deal included him pleading guilty to things that he wasn't guilty of (campaign contribution violations), apparently in exchange for getting off of something more serious. That part of plea looks crooked.
8/ Count 7 was making a campaign contribution from a corporation. Count 8 was making a campaign contribution over $2000. In neither case did Cohen's name emerge from FEC scrutiny, only from persecution of political opponents. Plus it's pretty clear that Trump paid off Stormy ...
9/ Daniels and Karen MacDougall, with Cohen acting as intermediary, and that it was not a "campaign contribution" from Cohen personally or as a corporation. Neither offense applies to Trump personally, notwithstanding disinformation from Lanny Davis.
10/ for reference, here is underlying offense for Cohen Count 7 - contributions to election campaign by corporation… and for Count 8 - contributions over $2000…. These would both be typically settled by fines.
11/ Trump himself is allowed to spend whatever he wants. Again, it's obvious that Cohen expected to be re-imbursed by Trump and was re-imbursed. Plus while hookers used campaign for maximum extortion, Trump also had family interest in hushing up.
12/ in all, these convictions say more about out-of-control Mueller investigation than Trump. IRS persecution of political opponents on steroids. Crooked and/or unethical deal on Cohen campaign contribution plea.
13/ Trump is exactly right in this tweet. Cohen deal raises big question: why did Cohen plead guilty to two counts where there was no crime? What did he get for this false plea? Also, is it ethical for Lanny Davis and prosecutors to knowingly agree to a false plea?
15/ here is very clever refutation on why payments to Stormy Daniels were not "campaign contribution": if Trump had used contributions to Trump Campaign to pay off Stormy Daniels, he would have been charged with illegally using campaign funds for personal use. Cohen deal crooked
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