Bad news for Trump: Darcy cartoon
Bad news for Trump: Darcy cartoon
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The worst news President Trump got last week might not have been the back-to-back convictions of his longtime lawyer and former campaign manager, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.
Due to the convictions, many had dubbed last week Trump’s worst ever. But the worst Trump news of the week might end up being the immunity deals granted to National Enquirer owner David Pecker and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, and comments made by Manafort juror Paula Duncan.
Trump can’t ‘Catch and Kill’ Pecker immunity deal.
Pecker, who is CEO of American Media Inc., owner of the National Enquirer, was granted immunity in the Michal Cohen case. Pecker reportedly corroborated Cohen’s testimony about hush money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump.
In a scheme called ‘Catch and Kill’, Pecker routinely bought the rights to stories damaging to Trump and buried them, literally locking the information in a National Enquirer safe. Among the stories he paid for and suppressed, was Playboy Playmate Karen MCDougal’s story of her long term affair with Trump.
While Pecker used his money to buy and bury unflattering Trump stories, he used the cover of the Enquirer to routinely bash Hillary Clinton with outrageous headline claims and photos.
But now that the Trump-Pecker friendship has cooled, how long will it take for Trump to go from saying the National Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer Prize to calling it “Fake News”?
CFO gets Immunity deal too.
On the heals of the Pecker immunity deal being reported, it was revealed that the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg had been granted immunity too.
Weisselberg started working for Trump’s father, that’s how far he goes back in the Trump organization. Likely, the only person who knows more about what Trump has done in the organization is Trump himself.
Getting immunity implies that the subject has done something illegal. And Pecker and Weisselberg being granted immunity means prosecutors are aiming for bigger targets.
Trump flips out over flipping while Manafort sought plea deal.
With Cohen’s plea deal, and the Pecker-Weissleberg immunity deals, Trump railed against the concept of “flipping.” Trump, who appoints the nation’s top law enforcement officers, said ‘flipping’ should be illegal. Cooperating witness who tell the truth are “rats” according to Trump.
While the first Manafort trial jury deliberated, and Trump praised Manafort for not “breaking” and called for flipping to be outlawed, Manafort’s lawyers were seeking a plea deal to avoid Manafort’s second trial in September, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ reports the Manafort plea deal talks broke down over unspecified issues Special Counsel Robert Mueller raised.
Trump supporter opposes Manafort pardon.
Trump is considering a pardon of Manafort. But a Trump supporter on the Manafort jury said that would be “a grave mistake.” Paula Duncan had told Fox News one holdout juror kept Manafort from being found guilty on all 18 chargers.
Duncan called the Mueller investigation a “Witch Hunt”, drove to court with a “Make America Great Again” hat in her backseat and said she planned to vote for Trump in 2020, but strongly opposes a pardon for Manafort.
“Justice was done. The evidence was there. And that’s where it should stop,” said Duncan. “If President Trump pardons him without him doing anytime at all it would look like President Trump was saying it’s OK that you broke the law. It’s not OK to break the law.”
The immunity deals and Duncan’s comments are bad news for Trump because of what they signal. And the immunity deals are especially bad because of what jurisdiction they are in.
it is the Southern District in New York City that’s handling the Cohen case. It’s the State of New York that is bringing the case against the Trump Charity Foundation and Organization, not Mueller. Trump firing Mueller or Rosenstein will not stop the prosecution of those cases.
Rudy Giuliani said Monday Trump is having his day in court now, and the American public is his jury. If that’s the case, than the comments from Manafort juror Paula Duncan was the most troubling news of the week for Trump.
Duncan, a Trump supporter thought Manafort was guilty on all 18 counts. Duncan who said she plans to vote for Trump in 2020, said a Manafort pardon would be a “grave mistake.” Duncan, who called the Mueller probe a “Witch Hunt” also said “It’s not OK to break the law,” and in the end, she sided with it, not Trump’s campaign manager.