Couldn’t happen to a nicer DeSantis.

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I will keep posting this comment until every writer STOPS CALLING THIS HUSH MONEY TO KEEP STORMY DANIELS QUIET!

She was trying to SELL HER STORY to the National Enquirer, not keep it quiet. They bought the story, Cohen paid her for the story via the National Enquirer and Trump paid Cohen back. It was a CATCH AND KILL operation.


Here’s the long version.

The Popular Information Substack summed it up quite well yesterday.

“ Daniels met Trump at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. (There is a photo of the two of them together at the event.) Daniels says Trump invited her to his hotel room and said he could secure her a spot on his reality show, The Apprentice. She alleges that they then had a sexual encounter, which Trump denies. Afterward, according to Daniels, Trump would call her and invite her to other events, including the 2007 launch of Trump Vodka.

Daniels sought to sell the story about her alleged relationship with Trump to media outlets beginning in 2011 when Trump raised his profile by making baseless accusations about Obama and publicly contemplated a presidential run. Daniels gave Life & Style an extensive interview in exchange for $15,000. That would have been the end of it, but when Life & Style contact the Trump Organization for comment, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, threatened to sue. Life & Style killed the story and did not pay Daniels. (The full Life & Style interview was published in January 2018.)

Daniels tried to shop the story again in 2016, when Trump emerged as the Republican nominee, but did not receive an offer. Everything changed in October 2016 when the Washington Post published the infamous Access Hollywood tape that featured Trump's lewd comments about groping women. Trump's sexual mores were now at the center of a closely contested campaign. And his ability to win the election hinged largely on Trump changing the subject before Election Day.

Dylan Howard, then-editor of the National Enquirer, reached out to Daniels' agent and asked her to make another proposal for Daniels' story. What Daniels didn't know is that David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, Howard, Trump, and Cohen, had reached a secret agreement at the outset of Trump's presidential campaign to work together to "catch-and-kill" negative stories about Trump. The purpose of the agreement was to boost Trump's chances in the campaign.

Howard reached a tentative agreement to pay Daniels $120,000 for her story. But Pecker had recently paid Karen McDougal, another woman who alleged she had an affair with Trump, $150,000. Pecker wasn't prepared to shell out any more cash. So Howard advised Cohen that he would need to take care of it himself. Cohen conferred with Trump and Pecker and negotiated a $130,000 deal to purchase Daniels' silence.

Daniels, in other words, never tried to extort Trump. Instead, she was targeted by a "catch-and-kill" operation set up by Trump and his associates prior to the campaign to hide damaging stories.

Cohen had successfully negotiated a deal for Daniels' silence, but he had a big problem: where was he going to come up with $130,000? On October 25, 2016, two weeks before Election Day, Daniels' attorney, Keith Davidson, told Cohen that he was canceling the deal and Daniels would resume shopping it to media outlets.

This put Trump, and his campaign, in a dire situation. Not only could Daniels reveal the story of her affair with Trump in the critical days before the election, but she could also reveal the botched scheme to buy her silence. Had the truth emerged in October 2016, it could have played a decisive role in an election determined by about 70,000 votes across a handful of states.

That didn't happen. After consulting with Trump, Cohen withdrew $131,000 from a home equity line of credit and transferred it to a recently formed shell company, Essential Consultants. The shell company transferred $130,000 to Davidson on October 27.

There was a great deal of effort to obscure Trump's involvement with the payment. In the non-disclosure agreement itself, Trump was referred to by a pseudonym, David Dennison (DD). A separate side agreement identified Dennison as Trump.

A few days later, Trump won the presidency.

Over the course of the next year, Cohen invoiced the Trump Organization $35,000 per month to both reimburse him for the payment to Daniels and compensate him for his role in defusing a threat to the campaign. Cohen was paid a total of $420,000 by the company, and the checks were personally signed by Trump.

The public first learned of the hush money payments to Daniels from a story in the Wall Street Journal in January 2018. Trump repeatedly lied about his involvement.

On April 5, 2018, Trump was asked if he knew anything about the payments from Cohen to Daniels. He claimed he knew nothing:

Q. Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No. What else?

Q. Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: Well, you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. And you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.

Q. Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No, I don’t know. No.

Federal prosecutors determined the scheme that was directed by Trump and executed by Cohen was illegal. Among other things, the payments by Cohen, which were ultimately reimbursed by the Trump Organization, constituted unlawful corporate contributions to Trump's campaign. Cohen pled guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes and was sentenced to three years in prison for his role.

Federal prosecutors declined, however, to prosecute Trump. This decision might have been based on an opinion by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel stating that "the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions." But federal prosecutors did not charge Trump after he left office either.

Whether the same scheme also violated New York State law is a separate question. If Bragg decides to charge Trump, he will have to make the case in detail. But Trump's conduct was not unmeaningful, and efforts to hold him legally accountable are not outrageous.

Trump schemed to conceal relevant information from the voting public in the days before the election, engaged in an elaborate coverup, and then lied about his involvement. This deceit was a subversion of the democratic process and may have changed the course of history. ”

https://popular.info/p/why-stormy-daniels-mattersShow less

And one last little fun fact. Per a book by former SNDY chief prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, Trump was originally listed in the Cohen indictment as “Individual One” and was removed at the request of main DOJ.

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What a pretty pass the Republican Party has gotten themselves into. Verbally going to the barricades to defend a man who had sex with a porn star while his wife had just given birth and then organizing with his fixer to pay money to said porn star to keep her quiet while he barnstormed to the Presidency. Only in America.

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Reading McCarthy's statements, that is a scared politician.

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Trump v. DeSantis = Deranged v. Authoritarian. Neither has much to offer.

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I wonder if all the contortions that the GOP will go through to protect Trump will end up breaking them. I don't mean that voters will get turned off or the like. Just if some of these people will just truly crack from the strain and stop. I foresee a lot of barking at nothing, and sweaty frantic maneuvering over the next year or so. Keep talking to the "quiet" Republicans. Don't let them miss out on the fun.

No sadness for DeSantis, but I wonder if he can come out of this OK, even if he covered in crap. It will depend on the nature of the attacks and his response.

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According to Philip Bump in yesterday's WaPo (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/03/20/trump-soros-desantis-bragg/ ),

"One of the useful characteristics of the term [Soros-backed], certainly, is its vagueness. That suffix “-backed” can mean all sorts of things. It can mean, for example, that Soros gave money to a group that then backed a candidate who then won — as it does in the case of Bragg.

"In mid-May 2021, as Bragg was jockeying for the Democratic Party’s nomination for New York County, N.Y., district attorney, a nomination that all but guaranteed election in the general, Soros contributed $1 million to the political arm of a group called Color of Change. Over the course of the next two weeks, the group ran an independent expenditure campaign including pieces of mail, text messages and encouragements to vote by mail. Most of that effort was earmarked for Bragg in campaign filings. Color of Change had announced its plans to spend $1 million on the race shortly before Soros’s contribution, but reportedly ended up spending only half that amount.

"In the abstract, that’s pretty clear: Soros gave to Color of Change, who spent on Bragg. But of course, a lot of people made contributions to his campaign; he raised more than $2 million in direct contributions. It’s also not clear how much effect spending had. Bragg won the nomination by a bit more than 3 points over Tali Farhadian Weinstein, who gave herself $8.2 million in the last few weeks of the campaign, part of nearly $13 million she spent in total — more than all of the other candidates combined. And she came in second."

The DA of NY County has been held by a Democrat for decades. So the "Soros-backing," was for a primary contest in which the next leading candidate was also reasonably progressive (e.g., she's a frequent legal commentator on MSNBC) whose self-funding, according to Bump, significantly exceeded Soros' contribution to Color of Change. So the argument that Soros' indirect support was somehow decisive in that primary seems rather tenuous. As Joe and Bump point out, "Soros-backed" is mostly just a right wing, antisemitic code phrase for "cosmopolitan Jewish financier." That is, "Soros-backed" is just chum for Trump's myriad remoras.

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"Matt Gaetz said the expected indictment is an 'absurd abuse of the criminal process in our politics.'"

What else would we expect from GOP politicians who think they are all above the law? The law only applies to Democrats, and in some cases, ie: "Lock Her Up" - they suspend any Rule of Law whenever they want to.

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I am so weary of all these loud mouthed Putinistas ruining the entire planet.

This war in Ukraine is helping speed up climate catastrophe... and we're all arguing about politics, when our children are going to die from poison water and toxic air (unless an AR at school kills them first); tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and no food. Is America irredeemably broken? Trying hard to be optimistic, but between the Republican clown show and the evil zealots on the scotus.... Idk.

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Did someone say, “deplorables?”

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Poor Mr Soros. Why can’t they remember Tom Steyer? (Sorry, Mr Steyer!)

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What precisely business is it of congress what a state DA does?

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Mar 21·edited Mar 21

Sounds like the little piggies are squealing because they might not be able to sponge off TFG for much longer. What has DJTJ ever accomplished in his life? Sad.

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"In the coming months, Congress—particularly House Republicans—will be in constant action to undermine, discredit, and disrupt these investigations and prosecutions."

I can't be the only Bulwark consumer who remembers the "Good Old Days" when people we elected to pass laws and help govern the country did just that rather than wasting their time and the taxpayer money they are suppose to be using for the Commonweal on patently partisan "witch hunts" (sarcastic irony intended)?

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I have never figured out why, Cohen had to pay the money from his own funds, Which left him open to the illegal campaign contribution. If t**** had simply paid out of his pocket and reported it as a campaign contribution, it would not have come out before the election. The irony here is that the evangelical men at least found this "exciting" that t**** had slept with a porn star.. This per Ralph Reed I believe the head of "focus on the family".

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DeSantis is going to get the same treatment as all the other Republican presidential candidates got in 2016. If DeSantis doesn't think he can handle the bullying and the attacks on him and his family, he should not get into the race. Trump's M.O. is to destroy every political opponent that stands in his way to becoming president again. Welcome to Trump World 2.0.

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