From Fixer to Gatekeeper to Solicitor

Michael Cohen, personal lawyer to the president of the U.S., reportedly asked for $1 million from a former member of the Qatari embassy in return for his “services.”

The entire revelation was triggered Sunday evening, when Michael Avenatti, lawyer to Stephanie Clifford AKA Stormy Daniels, tweeted security footage of the Qatari national, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, and Michael Cohen entering and exiting Trump Tower in December 2016.


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Fixer, or Gatekeeper?

Presidential lawyer and longtime “fixer” Michael Cohen reportedly received $4.4 million in payments from various companies, including AT&T and drug-maker Novartis, in return for promises of White House access.

The New York Times revealed the discovery Monday after having sifted through undisclosed financial records that showed the payments being funneled through Cohen’s shell corporation, Essential Consultants L.L.C., which was used to pay off adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels.

Cohen collected the payments in return for “consulting” services and apparently promised access to the president as well as those close to him.

“We were trying to find an inroad into the administration. Cohen promised access to not just Trump, but also the circle around him. It was almost as if we were hiring him as a lobbyist.” – Anonymous Novartis employee

On Tuesday, Clifford’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, revealed that the limited liability company had also received a half a million dollars from known Russian billionaire and oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who has been sanctioned by the U.S.

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Wait, He Said What Now?

Rudy Giuliani, the latest addition to the White House legal team, announced on Fox News Wednesday that the president did indeed reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 hush-money payment Cohen made to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels.

UPDATE 05/04/2018 4:00 PM PST: Giuliani released a statement today attempting to walk back the comments he made Wednesday, claiming that, “The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.”

In response, the president said that, “When Rudy made the statements — Rudy is great — but Rudy had just started, and he wasn’t totally familiar with everything.”

The president has consistently denied any knowledge of the payment as recently as last month.

On Wednesday, Giuliani, speaking on Fox with Sean Hannity, said that the president paid Cohen back in installments for the $130,000 hush-money payment the lawyer made to Clifford before the 2016 election.

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Michael Cohen will Plead the Fifth

Michael Cohen, lawyer to the current president of the U.S., has announced that, if called to testify, he will plead the fifth in the president’s upcoming trial over the allegedly invalid nondisclosure agreement signed by adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, more popularly known as Stormy Daniels.

The FBI recently seized documents pertaining to the $130,000 “hush-money” payment Cohen made to Clifford on the president’s behalf in the days leading up to the 2016 election.

While it has been pointed out that pleading the fifth — one’s right to protect oneself against self-incrimination — does not inherently mean that one is guilty, it does mean that Cohen will not be deposed and made to reveal sensitive information.

And, the president was upset enough by it to bring it up during his unhinged rant on his favorite show, “Fox & Friends.” So upset, in fact, that he finally admitted that Cohen actually did represent him in the Clifford case, which is a big break from his previous claims that he knew nothing about any of it.

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The Likeliest of Bedfellows

Judge Kimba Wood has ruled that Michael Cohen cannot access the materials confiscated from him in an FBI raid last week, and she has yet to decide who will ultimately review the materials for privileged information that should be excluded from the case due to attorney-client privilege.

In the same hearing, it was revealed that Sean Hannity, who railed against the FBI raid against Cohen, is in fact the lawyer’s mysterious third client.

It is being reported that the current administration is now more concerned about the investigation into Cohen’s affairs than the Russia investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

What does all of this mean, and why does a talk-show host like Sean Hannity matter in the slightest?

Let’s start with Judge Wood’s decision, because it’s actually pretty complicated.

Cohen had requested that the court issue a temporary restraining order to prevent prosecutors from examining the materials confiscated during the FBI raid; he made this request so that he could go through the materials himself and remove anything that he felt qualified as ‘privileged information,’ or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege.

What that means, in essence, is that Cohen tried to get back all the information that the FBI took from him so that he could clean it up and give back only the things he feels comfortable giving to the public.

And Woods said no — to an extent.

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