Rantt Rundown: Cohen, Trump, Ukraine, And Pay-To-Play Diplomacy

Day 489 of the Trump presidency

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, walks down the sidewalk in New York, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Since Donald Trump took the oath of office, one thing has been clear: this administration’s foreign policy would effectively be up for sale. We’ve long seen the President’s personal business interests influence America’s foreign policy and the nations that offered his campaign help during the election receive preferential treatment. And today, the level of corruption continued to escalate with this bombshell report from the BBC:

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

Mr Cohen denies the allegation.

The meeting at the White House was last June. Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

The BBC also goes on to cite a report that indicated the following:

The report states that Poroshenko returned from Washington and, in August or September, 2017, decided to completely end cooperation with the US agencies investigating Manafort. He did not give an order to implement this decision until November 2017.

The order became known to the US government after scheduled visits by Poroshenko’s senior aide to see Mueller and the CIA director, in November and December, were cancelled.

The report says that an “element of the understanding” between Poroshenko and Trump was that Ukraine agreed to import US coal and signed a $1bn contract for American-made diesel trains.

These deals can only be understood as Poroshenko buying American support, the reports say.

In March, the Trump administration announced the symbolically important sale of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.

Even under President Obama, the US did not sell arms to Ukraine.

And there you have it. Donald Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up a meeting between the President of Ukraine and the President of the United States. Not only that, the dropping of Manafort’s case was reportedly a direct appeal to obtain the President’s patronage.

The piece goes on to report that Felix Sater helped Cohen in this endeavor. Aside from one of the failed Trump Tower Moscow deals, Cohen and Sater also collaborated on the Ukraine peace deal…

On January 27, 2017, Cohen, and Sater met with Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko at a dinner in New York in an attempt to create a back-channel peace deal with Ukraine and Russia. A move many saw as a covert method to lift sanctions. Artemenko left the sealed plan with Cohen who was supposed to deliver it to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Artemenko claims he “got confirmation” from Sater that his plan was delivered to the White House. Artemenko confirmed the dinner took place and that the intention was to create this deal. Cohen confirmed the dinner took place but denies this was the content discussed. Because of this deal with Cohen and Sater, Artemenko has since been stripped of his citizenship and accused of treason…

I bring this other deal up because it further bolsters my next point. Michael Cohen did not register as a foreign agent before working on behalf of a foreign government. Given the fact Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Rick Gates and Paul Manafort under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, this adds another worry to Cohen’s mountain of legal issues.

To cover both sides of this story, here is the Ukrainian media using some familiar language.

Meanwhile…

  • President Trump went on a tweetstorm, continuing his false conspiracy theory about his campaign being spied on.

  • It was revealed that President Trump’s son-in-law, and White House Adviser, Jared Kushner was interviewed by Mueller for seven hours in April. As we know, Kushner is of interest to Mueller because:
    • The firing of James Comey.
    • The Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Russian operatives where dirt on Hillary Clinton was sought.
    • The December Trump Tower meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Michael Flynn where a back channel line of communication with Russia was proposed.
    • The December meeting with Sergey N. Gorkov who runs VneshEconomBank (VEB), a Russia owned bank that is currently under U.S. sanctions that were put in place in 2014.
  • Speaking of Kushner, he received his permanent security clearance today. This came in spite of the fact Kushner has had to amend his SF-86 at least three times, adding over 100 meetings with officials from over 20 countries and over 100 foreign contacts — willful omission on an SF-86 is a felony.
  • President Trump’s Twitter blocking has been deemed unconstitutional.

  • The NFL will fine players who kneel (protest racial injustice) during the national anthem.
  • Robert Mueller has requested to begin sentencing for Trump’s campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians.

  • Lesley Stahl shed light on the reasoning behind Trump’s war on the media.

  • Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (R-CA) claimed that the controversial meeting slated for tomorrow between DOJ and members of Congress will also include Democrats, after they weren’t initially invited.


But there’s a catch.

Rundown // Donald Trump / News / Politics