When he stood before a U.S. district court judge in Manhattan in late August, Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pled guilty to eight felonies: Five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank, and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.
While those eight charges got the vast majority of the attention — especially since they came on the same day as Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion — there was a small detail in the Cohen plea agreement that could well wind up being the most damaging to Trump.
As Cody Fenwick writes for AlterNet, there’s a sum of $50,000 mentioned in the court filing charging Cohen, and it had nothing to do with hush money payoffs to women Donald Trump allegedly had affairs with:
“There was another large sum for which Cohen was later reimbursed, according to the court documents:
“‘The $50,000 represented a claimed payment for ‘tech services,’ which in fact related to work COHEN had solicited from a technology company during and in connection with the campaign.'”
Tech services? Cohen isn’t a computer guy, he’s an attorney. And by all accounts, not a particularly gifted one.
So what could that mysterious $50,000 have been used for?
You probably recall the name Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that the 2016 Trump campaign used to target ad buys and disinformation on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Cambridge has since gone out of business, but they were instrumental to the larger effort that helped elect Donald Trump by a few thousand votes in a couple of key battleground states. There have also been reports that the firm has ties to Russia.
The two co-heads of the digital effort for the Trump 2016 campaign were Jared Kushner and Brad Parscale. Kushner is now a senior adviser to the president. Parscale has been named as head of the Trump 2020 campaign team, which will likely never get off the ground thanks to what’s happened this week that’s brought Trump to the brink of impeachment or resignation.
If Cohen has evidence of payments to Cambridge Analytica and the company’s links to Russia can be established, that gives Special Counsel Robert Mueller a slam dunk case proving the president and his team were indeed part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.
And that, as they say, would mean it’s lights out for Donald Trump and his fellow traitors.