How Bad Was Trump’s Fox & Friends Meltdown From A Legal Perspective? Here’s A Lawsplainer

By Five Dollar Feminist as originally published over at Wonkette and reposted here with permission


THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL FUCKING CRAZY! Not to get technical, but what the hell is going on here? Normal human beings do not go on television and rant about their ongoing legal problems. In the span of 20 excruciating minutes, Trump admitted:

  1. That Cohen had represented him in the Stormy Daniels payoff – a fact he’d previously claimed no knowledge of;
  2. That he knew about the payoff, but that it was fine because it didn’t come from campaign funds;
  3. That Cohen’s legal representation of him was minimal, meaning very little of what was seized in the FBI raid of Cohen’s office can be privileged; and, just for good measure,
  4. That he’s considering intervening in the Justice Department to put an end to the Mueller investigation.

Or, as Hugh Hewitt derped to the Twittersphere,

Oh, Hugh, you old lecher! You just want to see Donald swing his hips!

There is really no making sense of this, but let’s try to lawsplain it as best we can. WISH US LUCK!

But we were led to believe only guilty people plead the Fifth!

Earlier this week Michael Cohen formally declared his intention to plead the Fifth in the Stormy Daniels civil suit in California. Even this guy isn’t stupid enough to allow himself to be deposed on the Daniels payment while the FBI is investigating it, and his attorneys requested a postponement in the California case so that their client wouldn’t have to plead the Fifth. (Remember, pleading the Fifth can be held against you in a civil case, but NOT in a criminal proceeding.) Judge James Otero said Cohen couldn’t have it both ways. No 5A, no stay.

As a very wise man (JKLOLROFLMAO!) once said, “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”


On the plus side, Cohen will probably get that postponement now. Which is a lucky thing, since he’s kind of busy getting thrown under the bus at the moment.

So, how bad was that Fox thing? Like, doesn’t Trump talk shit all day long?

OH, IT WAS BAAAAAAD! Think about Trump’s legal problems as a three-car pile-up, with Trump and Cohen in the middle vehicle. If they pull forward, they’ll hit the criminal investigation. If they move backward, they’ll hit the civil suit.

The best of all the bad choices was to sit still, shut the fuck up, and let Cohen take the fall for whatever campaign finance violations the FBI could get him on for the Daniels payment. Which is why Cohen and Trump both denied that the president knew or had anything to do with the payoff. Cohen and Trump both agreed to fight tooth and nail in the New York criminal case to dump all of their communications into a pile marked ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE, KEEP OUT, THIS MEANS YOU ROBERT MUELLER!

Thursday morning, Trump admitted both that he knew about the payment, and that the extent of Cohen’s lawyering on his behalf was minimal. Trump seems to believe that the payment is kosher if it didn’t come from the campaign. We’re not sure where he got that totally ridiculous idea. (Cough, cough FOX NEWS.) And now he’s made it all but impossible for his lawyers to argue that there is a huge pile of privileged evidence to be excluded in Cohen’s seized files.


Now, we are not the president’s lawyer, THANK GOD. But if Donald Trump is worried about Cohen flipping on him, sabotaging their joint legal defense and saying he doesn’t know what kind of shit the FBI will find if they look into Cohen’s business is kind of a poor strategy. But you do you, Mister President!

Duck! Incoming!

Well, that didn’t take long. Here’s the government’s letter to Judge Kimba Wood in the SDNY case, filed just after the Fox Couch Gurus managed to get Trump off the line. Check out this footnote in support of the SDNY’s plan to hire a special master to sort the documents instead of a taint team.

As the Court is aware, after originally stating that the Government seized “thousands, if not millions,” of pages of privileged documents, Cohen subsequently identified three current clients. Of those three clients, one, Sean Hannity, has since said that “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees.” Another, President Trump, reportedly said on cable television this morning that Cohen performs “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his overall legal work. These statements by two of Cohen’s three identified clients suggest that the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents, further supporting the importance of efficiency here.

Translation: President Dumbass can’t even lie right, and he just admitted there’s hardly any privileged stuff pertaining to him. So after Your Honor stops LOLing at his offer to sort the documents himself, we can get down to examining all Cohen’s nasty, dirty secrets. And if it’ll shut him up, FINE use a special master to sort the documents. Since these idiots are waiving the privilege right and left, it shouldn’t take long!

Judge Wood appointed retired federal judge and prosecutor Barbara Jones as special master to sort the evidence. Cohen and the SDNY prosecutors had both submitted a list of proposed lawyers, but Jones was on neither list. But probably she gets her hair done at the salon where Hillary’s colorist used to work, which Trump’s legal team will cite as evidence of BIASSSSS! She probably eats pizza, too!

And here’s Michael Avenatti, yukking it up with Mika and Joe over at NBC yesterday morning.

Another gift from the heavens on this case. They keep coming. I don’t know how I’ve fallen into such good luck in this case, but I’m gonna take it! Joe, that’s a very damaging … hugely damaging admission by the president. Because, according to what he said on Air Force One a few weeks ago, he didn’t know anything about the agreement, he didn’t know anything about the payment, Michael Cohen went off and did this on a lark, and Mr. Trump knew nothing about it. We now find out that that’s bogus.


Trump just blew up his legal strategy to keep all his communications with Michael Cohen privileged and unavailable to prosecutors. And he admitted that he and Cohen had been lying the whole time that Cohen paid off Stormy Daniels on his own without Trump’s knowledge.

And just in case it slips through the cracks, Rudy Giuliani met with Mueller this week to see whether he has “an open mind” about Trump. Should Trump sit down for an interview with the Special Counsel? Giuliani just wants his client, a man of unimpeachable integrity, to get a fair shake.

Do they favor Comey over Trump in terms of credibility?


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One thought on “How Bad Was Trump’s Fox & Friends Meltdown From A Legal Perspective? Here’s A Lawsplainer

  1. “That Cohen’s legal representation of him was minimal, meaning very little of what was seized in the FBI raid of Cohen’s office can be privileged; and, just for good measure,”

    Cohen, as the lawyer for someone who’s been involved in over 1300 lawsuits, may be involved with a very small portion of his clients legal needs, but that very little may very well account for a large portion of his work/document hoard (aside from his “business” documents, of course.)

    I’d like to see Trump indicted just as much as the next sane person……, so am I missing something here or is there a gaping hole in logical reasoning here?

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