Trump Lawyer’s Payment to Stormy Daniels Was Reported as Suspicious by Bank

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, wired the money to a lawyer for former actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, from an account at First Republic Bank .The money was received on Oct. 27, 2016, 12 days before the presidential election, another person familiar with the matter said. It isn’t clear when First Republic reported it to the government as suspicious.

Mr. Cohen said he missed two deadlines earlier that month to make the $130,000 payment to Ms. Clifford because he couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign, the person said.

.. After Mr. Trump’s victory, Mr. Cohen complained to friends that he had yet to be reimbursed for the payment to Ms. Clifford, the people said.

.. Mr. Cohen had said last month that he had “facilitated” the payment using his own funds, that the deal was a private transaction and that it didn’t violate any laws. He said he wasn’t reimbursed by the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization, his former employer, but declined to answer questions about whether he was reimbursed by Mr. Trump or anyone else.

.. Under federal law, banks are required to flag transactions that have no business or apparent lawful purpose or that deviate inexplicably from a customer’s normal bank activity.

.. The one-year lag between the payment by Mr. Cohen and the bank inquiry is unusual. It suggests that City National received new information that prompted it to take a fresh look at the transaction

.. Mr. Cohen’s role in a proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in late 2015 and early 2016, the Journal has reported. In a September 2017 statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Cohen said the proposal was “solely a real estate deal and nothing more” and noted it was terminated “months before the first primary.”

.. In October 2016, with Ms. Clifford’s representatives threatening to walk away from the deal, Mr. Cohen said he stopped trying to track down Mr. Trump and used his own funds to wire the payment to Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

The accounts of Mr. Cohen’s actions indicate he intended to involve Mr. Trump in the deal with Ms. Clifford, although it isn’t clear whether Mr. Trump participated.

.. Proving any violation would require evidence of coordination between Messrs. Cohen and Trump or his campaign

Trump Lawyer’s Payment to Porn Star Raises New Questions

“The thing seems so weird that it invites an inquiry into what you’re doing,” he said. “Lawyers don’t go around giving $130,000 to strangers, benefiting their clients, without billing their clients.”

.. Keith Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Ms. Clifford in the 2016 transaction, issued a statement Wednesday declaring that Mr. Cohen had told him at the time that the $130,000 payment was coming from his own funds.

“I represented Stephanie Clifford in the Michael Cohen/Stephanie Clifford transaction,” Mr. Davidson’s statement said. “I read today that Michael Cohen reports that the source of the $130,000 paid to Ms. Clifford was from his own personal funds. That assertion is in complete harmony with what he informed me of at the time of the transaction.”

.. Ms. Clifford believes that Mr. Cohen, in making his statement, has breached a nondisclosure agreement she signed in connection with the payment, releasing her from the confidentiality commitment, according to Gina Rodriguez, her manager. Ms. Clifford, she said, is now offering to sell her story to media outlets so that she can tell her version of events.

.. Last month, Mr. Cohen sent Wall Street Journal reporters a written statement in Ms. Clifford’s name denying that she had had “a sexual and/or romantic affair” with Mr. Trump or “received hush money from Mr. Trump.” He also issued his own statement saying that Mr. Trump “vehemently denies” any affair with her.

If evidence emerged showing that those statements were false and that Mr. Cohen knew they were false, his role in disseminating them could violate Rule 8.4, several legal ethics specialists said. It prohibits lawyers from engaging “in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

.. “Lawyers are not allowed to lie,” with some exceptions, said Lisa Lerman, a legal ethics professor at the Catholic University of America, and they are “also not allowed to induce other people to engage in conduct that they are prohibited from.”

But Stephen Gillers, a New York University professor of ethics law, said that in practice, the ethics rule against dishonesty is generally not interpreted so broadly as to cover facilitating a lie to the public or to journalists.

The death of Christianity in the U.S.

Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence. The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered by the ambitions of Trumpish flimflammers who have sold their souls for expediency. No greater proof is needed of the death of Christianity than the rush to defend a child molester in order to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Evangelicalism has ceased to be a faith perspective rooted on Jesus the Christ and has become a political movement whose beliefs repudiate all Jesus advocated. A message of hate permeates their pronouncements, evident in sulphurous proclamations like the Nashville Statement, which elevates centuries of sexual dysfunctionalities since the days of Augustine by imposing them upon Holy Writ.

.. Evangelicalism’s unholy marriage to the Prosperity Gospel justifies multi-millionaire bilkers wearing holy vestments made of sheep’s clothing

.. Christianity at a profit is an abomination before all that is Holy. From their gilded pedestals erected in white centers of wealth and power, they gaslight all to believe they are the ones being persecuted because of their faith.

.. Evangelicalism’s embrace of a new age of ignorance, blames homosexuality for Harvey’s rage rather than considering the scientific consequences climate change

.. Evangelicalism forsakes holding a sexual predator, an adulterer, a liar and a racist accountable, instead serving as a shield against those who question POTUS’ immorality because of some warped reincarnation of Cyrus.

.. Charlottesville goose steppers because they protect their white privilege with the doublespeak of preserving heritage

.. The Evangelicals’ Jesus is satanic, and those who hustle this demon are “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

.. You might wonder if my condemnation is too harsh. It is not, for the Spirit of the Lord has convicted me to shout from the mountaintop

Trump always lashes out when he’s cornered. He told me so years ago.

The president’s tweets and public remarks will only get wilder as the Russia investigation narrows.

In less than two hours, he managed to criticize his own FBI; peddle a new conspiracy theory; attack James B. Comey, Hillary Clinton and ABC; and draw more attention to the Russia probe that has already implicated several of his aides.
.. As someone who spent hundreds of hours observing Trump so I could write “The Art of the Deal,” I find his increasingly extreme behavior entirely consistent and predictable.
.. For five decades now, Trump’s pattern has been that the more aggrieved and vulnerable he feels, the more intensely he doubles down on the behaviors that have always worked for him in the past.
Sunday’s tweetstorm won’t be the last time the president indulges in self-pity, deceit and deflection. In all likelihood, it will get worse.
.. Trump’s first move in the face of criticism has always been to assume the role of victim. “Unfair” has long been one of his favorite words. He always perceives himself as the victim, so he feels justified in lashing back at his perceived accusers.

.. Here’s how he explained the tactic in “The Art of the Deal”:

“When people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard.”

And this:

“Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.”

In the weeks ahead, Trump will also probably double down on lying, even as he falsely accuses others of being dishonest. Consider his remarkable recent suggestion to aides that his remarks on the “Access Hollywood” tape about assaulting women might not be real — even though he has already publicly acknowledged that they were his, and apologized for them. Trump regularly rewrites his narrative, using what Kellyanne Conway has called “alternative facts,” to fit whatever he wants to believe and convey in any given moment. This is classic “gaslighting” — a blend of lying, denial, insistence and intimidation designed to fuel uncertainty and doubt in others about what’s actually true.

In the time I spent with Trump, I concluded that lying became second nature to him long ago, both because he lacked any conscience about being deceptive and because he discovered that he could get away with it. “Truthful hyperbole” is the sanitized term I gave lying in “The Art of the Deal,” with Trump’s blessing. I have never met someone, before or since, who was untruthful so effortlessly.

In Trump’s mind, he is only doing what’s required to win. Here’s the way he describes himself in “The Art of the Deal”: “Despite what people think, I’m not looking to be the bad guy when it isn’t absolutely necessary.”

.. The more threatened Trump feels by troublesome facts, the more preposterous the lies he will tell.

.. To get the outcome he wants, he’s willing to be scorned, parodied and even reviled in ways most of us are not. “I’m the first to admit,” he said in “The Art of the Deal,” “that I am very competitive and that I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win.” He is willing to flatter, cajole and seduce, or bully, threaten and humiliate, depending on which approach he thinks will work best.

..  I watched him switch between these modes countless times during the 18 months I spent around him.

.. If he was getting what he wanted from someone on a call, he’d invariably sign off with, “You’re the greatest, you’re the best.” If he wasn’t getting his way, he was equally comfortable hurling insults and making threats.

.. The more frequent and aggressive Trump’s tweets become, the more threatened and vulnerable he is probably feeling. But he also knows that this approach can work.

.. The other predictable pattern for Trump is his approach to loyalty. He expects it unconditionally — more so when his behaviors prompt backlash — but he provides it only as long as he gets unquestioning adulation in return.

.. One of the most revealing relationships in Trump’s life was with Roy Cohn, best known as the chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy

.. For more than a decade, Cohn fought hard on Trump’s behalf and was fiercely loyal to him. They often spoke multiple times in a day. But when Cohn became ill with AIDS in 1984, Trump dropped him immediately.

..  I can’t remember a single occasion during the time I spent around Trump when he seemed genuinely interested in the welfare of another human being, including any of his three then-young children. And at that time, he was under vastly less stress than he is now. If either Jared Kushner or Donald Trump Jr. become Mueller’s next target, I can’t help wondering what Trump will perceive as his self-interest.