What do I need to know about the Cohen plea deal and the Manafort guilty charge?
Yesterday was a rollercoaster in a way that's notable, even for #TrumpAmerica. Why you ask? No, Obama isn't president again. World peace didn't happen. Season 10 of Game of Thrones didn't drop. BUT, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes AND Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, pleaded guilty in a federal court to eight criminal counts.
Cohen also reached a tentative plead deal with the FBI and has already implicated Trump in his crimes. Special counsel Robert Mueller is big balling this week. Here are the juicy facts:
- Found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. He faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.
- Prosecutors say Manafort collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014.
- The money came from Ukrainian oligarchs who paid Manafort to boost the political career of Viktor F. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who, with Manafort's help was elected president of Ukraine in 2010.
- He spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.
- Mr. Manafort faces a second criminal trial next month in Washington on seven other charges brought by the special counsel, including obstruction of justice, failure to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to launder money.
- What does this mean for Trump: Another member of Trump's group bites the dust and brings it all closer to Trump.
- Counts include tax fraud, false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including payments Cohen made or helped orchestrate that were designed to silence women who claimed affairs with the then-candidate.
- Cohen admitted to silencing two women "in coordination" with Trump to influence 2016 election. Trump has previously denied knowledge of these payoffs. Oop
- For paying off Stormy Daniels, Cohen was charged with making an excessive campaign contribution, since the payment of $130,000 was made in service of the campaign and exceeded the federal limit
- For paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal, whom got paid $150,000 by Cohen and America Media Inc., Cohen said the charge was done "for the principal purpose of influencing the election, and that the money "was later repaid to me by the candidate."
- His plea deal does not include a promise to cooperate with investigators against any individuals, but his description of his acts puts Trump in hot water.
- What does this mean for Trump: Cohen is arguably Trump's closest ally and he essentially threw him under the bus. Cohen also knows a lot of dirt. His lawyer is already on the cable circuit teasing that he knows more still. This could be the domino that brings it all down.