(Thread) Hell Hath No Fury Like a Fixer Scorned

I finished Cohen’s book, and I’m ready with my Twitter Book Report.

The value of this book is that Cohen was a first-hand witness (with receipts) to TrumpWorld crimes.
1/ During Cohen’s 2-27-2019 Congressional testimony, Republicans hurled childish Trump-like insults at him.
politico.com/f/?id=00000169…

He looked them over and said⤵️

His book expands and explains.
2/ Cohen doesn’t expect us (liberals, Democrats, and Trump critics) to like him, but he hopes we’ll learn from his experience how TrumpWorld operates.

For 10 years, Cohen was an ‘active and eager participant’ in Trump’s ugly behavior:
3/ Cohen explains why people lie and cheat for Trump (Screenshot #1)

It's a Faustian bargain: Grovel at Trump's feet, and be rewarded with power, and invited into a world of wealth and glamour. (Screenshot #2)
4/ Cohen makes no excuses for himself (#1)

Cohen was susceptible to the allure of Trump-style power. Since childhood, he was fascinated by mobsters and attracted to their power and methods. He actually wanted to be a gangster – lawyer (#2 and #3)
5/ He explains how Trump brings people into his web of lies.

First Trump tells a lie. He knows it’s a lie. You know it’s a lie. If you go along, he has you. Then he tells another. He subtly signals what lie you're supposed to tell, and bestows his favor when you comply.
6/ Eventually people start believing their own lies because Trumpworld reinforces them.

To quote Yale Professor Timothy Snyder, Trump creates a story and forces us all to become actors in the play.

Trump has an “unerring eye” for the kind of person who he can reel in:
7/ Andrew McCabe, @PreetBharara and @Comey
described this same process: Trump tells a lie and invites you to join in.

Comey described it as Trump eating your soul in pieces:nytimes.com/2019/05/01/opi…

Comey, McCabe, and Bharara refused.
8/ They spoke the truth, so Trump set out to destroy them. @MichaelCohen212 accepted the lie in exchange for power. (I should have tagged MC in the first tweet) #1

Cohen became Trump's right-hand man because he was willing to lie and cheat (#2, #3, and #4)
9/ Cohen was amazed by Trump’s ability to lie to a person’s face. He described the acts Trump put on to win the Evangelical vote.

According to Cohen, Trump has no ideology other than accumulating wealth and power.

This, BTW, is exactly how @jasonintrator describes fascism.
10/ Fascism is all about hierarchy and power, and the cynicism of thinking that for everyone, it’s all about hierarchy and power.

Cohen describes how Trump employs fascists tactics, almost as if Trump and Cohen studied Stanley (but really, Stanley studied how fascists do it.)
11/ After explaining that Trump had no trouble cheating in the 2016 election or accepting help from Putin (which for Trump would have been “business as usual”) Cohen explains why Trump loves Putin. Read this entire passage (#1)

And also (#2)
12/ Yes, Trump is compromised.

Yes, Trump does Putin’s bidding willingly because he wants to.

Both of these things can be true, particularly if the compromising material consists of Trump’s willingness to secretly partner with Putin to promote Trump’s personal interests.
13/ The ending was quite dramatic: After ten years of loyalty and devotion, Cohen was arrested for crimes committed mostly while working for Trump, and actually committed at Trump’s direction.

The arrest took Cohen completely by surprise. I mean, he was shocked.
14/ It seems to have never occurred to Cohen that he was breaking laws.

I know that sounds stupid—he knew all along he was lying and cheating and hiding important stuff like payments to porn stars— but I’ve seen it before in my work as a defense lawyer . . .
15/ I recall sitting across the table from a man who said, “I knew I was pushing the envelope. But I had no idea I was violating 5 federal statutes.”

Part of the intoxication of being in Trump’s world was the feeling that rules don’t matter.
16/ Cohen describes the cynicism of thinking everyone cheats. If everyone cheats, the person prosecuted has been singled out for political reasons.

He thought he was targeted. If they got him (he thought) they can get anyone.

Narrator: Wrong! Most people don't do that⤵️crap!
17/ Trump’s response to Cohen’s arrest was a version of “I hardly know him.” Cohen was hurt and shocked.

The summer before Cohen told a Vanity Fair reporter that he would take a bullet for Trump.

“And I meant it,” Cohen wrote. “But not if Donald Trump pulled the trigger.”
18/ Cohen understood that Trump expected him to stay quiet, go to prison, and work on remaining in Trump’s good graces.

But Cohen—hurt and angry by Trump’s reaction—walked.

He cooperated with Mueller and testified under oath before Congress.
19/ He also describes how prison guards, who were pro-Trump (and took the cue from Trump) found little ways to make him miserable in prison, for example, shining a light on him every half hour when he was trying to sleep.
20/ Cohen describes the moment when he was unfairly slapped back in jail in a clear case of retaliation when he would not assure the Barr-DOJ that he would not publish a tell-all book. The judge released him after finding that the DOJ’s treatment of him was “retaliatory.”
21/ This is the book Trump didn’t want released.
22/ $ Millions.

Cohen was a successful personal injury lawyer before meeting Trump. This moved him into a whole new world.

As a fringe benefit, he loved being part of the thrilling jet-setting glamorous world of high stakes and power.

He's sorry now.

23/ I can say confidently after having read the book that the mention of blood was metaphoric.


I see in Michael Cohen a weak and limited person who was unable to withstand evil. (Are my years as a defense lawyer showing?)
24/ I think this is correct: The hold he has on them is essentially their own weakness, which means he gets control of people unable to wrest free.

He eats their souls.
The problem goes back pretty far in human history.
This thread is a blog post, here: terikanefield-blog.com/hell-hath-no-f…

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More from @Teri_Kanefield

18 Sep
(Thread) Our Malady

I finished Our Malady and I’m ready with a Twitter Book report.

Our Malady book opens with @TimothyDSnyder in a hospital after a series of medical mistakes almost killed him. Image
1/ Flannery O’Connor, in Mystery and Manners, says that facing death is the “most significant position life offers . . .”

While facing death—and feeling rage and trying to regain full consciousness—Snyder begins writing this book.
2/ He talks about three maladies, and how they are connected:

🔹His own malady
🔹The malady in our healthcare system
🔹The political malady that made commercialized medicine possible.

He ties this all back to individual freedom, and concludes⤵️ (screenshots #1 and #2): ImageImage
Read 11 tweets
17 Sep
(Thread) The GOP wants a Leadership Cult

Mindy asked me these questions about Trump’s Town Hall yesterday⤵️

🔹Her questions assume that the GOP wants the same form of government we want.
🔹Her questions assume that the truth matters to the GOP.

They don't, and it doesn't.
1/ Sociologist Max Weber explains why.

In his essay, Politics as Vocation, he describes three sources of authority.
archive.org/details/weber_…

🔹Traditional (monarchy)
🔹Charismatic leader (fascism)
🔹Rule of law (democracy)

For #2, today we’d say cult leader or demagogue.
2/ Rule of law requires a shared truth (@timothydsnyder uses the word ‘factuality.’)

Fascism or demagoguery is based on myth, and can only exist if it destroys factuality.

So fascism (leadership cult) is always trying to destroy truth.
Read 20 tweets
14 Sep
This is believable.

Cohen, in his book, talks about how Trump's shady business ethics led Russians to purchase Trump property through shell companies to hide their identities.

(Screen shot in the next tweet).

1/
Money laundering simply means hiding the origins of properties.

Reportedly, what Trump did when he sold real estate to Russian oligarchs was fail to inquire into the orgins of the money.

This (if true) would be known to the people who handled the sales transaction.

2/
Cohen wasn't part of those transactions. His job was basically to bully people. It's unlikely that Cohen would have seen the bank records that would establish money laundering.

What Cohen says happened is consistent with what we know about Trump taking dirty Russian money.

3/
Read 11 tweets
11 Sep
I finished reading @petestrzok’s Compromised.

I highly recommend it, particularly for those who want an inside look at the FBI, an inside look at the Mueller investigation, and/or an introduction to law enforcement and counterintelligence (including the difference).

1/
It’s also a chilling look at Trump’s vindictiveness and destructiveness.

It’s no surprise that a president who doesn’t care how many Americans die of a virus doesn’t care if he destroys the life of anyone who crosses him or seeks to expose the truth about him.

2/
This book is partly a defense against the unhinged right-wing attacks on the FBI.

Strzok never mentions the Fourth Amendment (the amendment protecting Americans from unreasonable searches, seizures, and surveillance) but he outlines the procedures the FBI follows.

3/
Read 14 tweets
10 Sep
(Thread) Lordy, There Are Tapes

We learned that Bob Woodward has tapes of Trump admitting that he knew in Jan. that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, and lied about it.

Mindy asked:
1/ I believe the answer is no.

First, recall the arguments made by the Fox-Trump-GOP for why we should do nothing–even after we knew the virus was deadly:
2/ They said we have a choice: People die from COVID, or we “kill the country”:

They said deaths from a shutdown could exceed the deaths from the virus.
bostonherald.com/2020/04/16/dea…
Read 25 tweets
10 Sep
If Trump so casually revealed all of this to Woodward, you know he was saying the same things to people in his circle.

He probably saw no reason to hide his view that it was better to keep the masses from panicking so that the stock market wouldn't crash.
washingtonpost.com/politics/bob-w…
My followers also knew.

I went back and checked: On Feb. 27, @mcjulie asked me if I thought Sadopopulism was at work, or if the Trump-FOX-GOP wanted a serious pandemic.

(To be fair, I have the smartest followers on Twitter)

Here's the thread I wrote answering her question ⤵️

In a nutshell, I argued that Trump was downplaying it because he had no idea how to manage a real crisis.

He only knew how to stage manufactured crises and pretend to be the strongman.
Read 4 tweets

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