Michael D. Cohen’s Testimony To Congress, February 27, 2019: Evidence of Criminal Acts by Trump, While President

(In the most damning Congressional Testimony since former White House Attorney John Dean, testified under oath 45 years ago that Richard Nixon committed crimes in the White House, former Trump Lawyer, Confidant and Fixer Michael D. Cohen, provided testimony under oath to Congress on February 27, 2019, and gave direct evidence of crimes committed by President Donald Trump, in office. The testimony, which I have excerpted here for brevity, was provided to the New York Times the night before Cohen’s Congressional Testimony.)

 

 

I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience.

 

I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.

 

He is a racist.

He is a conman.

He is a cheat.

 

He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.

 

I am providing the Committee today with several documents. These include:

  • A copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account – after he became president – to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign;

 

  • Copies of financial statements for 2011 – 2013 that he gave to such institutions as Deutsche Bank;

 

 

  • A copy of an article with Mr. Trump’s handwriting on it that reported on the auction of a portrait of himself – he arranged for the bidder ahead of time and then reimbursed the bidder from the account of his non-profit charitable foundation, with the picture now hanging in one of his country clubs; and

 

  • Copies of letters I wrote at Mr. Trump’s direction that threatened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores.

Before going further, I want to apologize to each of you and to Congress as a whole.

 

The last time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect Mr. Trump. Today, I’m here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump.

 

I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.

 

Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates.

 

In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me “there’s no business in Russia,” and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie. (Editor’s Note:  Just like Trump lies repeatedly by repeating “there’s no collusion.”)

 

There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?” – referring to the Moscow Tower project.

 

You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.

 

To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it.

 

He lied about it because he never expected to win the election.

 

He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.

 

And so I lied about it, too – because Mr. Trump had made clear to me, through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie.

 

And he made it clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before I gave it to Congress.

 

.

I have always tried to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity, and compassion – qualities my parents ingrained in my siblings and me since childhood.

 

My father survived the Holocaust thanks to the compassion and selfless acts of others. He was helped by many who put themselves in harm’s way to do what they knew was right.

 

That is why my first instinct has always been to help those in need. Mom and Dad…I am sorry that I let you down.

 

Last fall, I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual #1.

 

For the record: Individual #1 is President Donald J. Trump.

 

It is painful to admit that I was motivated by ambition at times. It is even more painful to admit that many times I ignored my conscience and acted loyal to a man when I should not have. Sitting here today, it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong.

For that reason, I have come here to apologize to my family, to the government, and to the American people.

 

 

Accordingly, let me now tell you about Mr. Trump.

 

I got to know him very well, working very closely with him for more than 10 years, as his Executive Vice President and Special Counsel and then personal attorney when he became President.

 

I wound up touting the Trump narrative for over a decade. That was my job. Always stay on message. Always defend. It monopolized my life. At first, I worked mostly on real estate developments and other business transactions. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Trump brought me into his personal life and private dealings. Over time, I saw his true character revealed.

 

Mr. Trump is an enigma. He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.

 

Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great.

 

He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power.

 

Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the “greatest infomercial in political history.”

 

He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity.

 

 

A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes.

 

As I earlier stated, Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails.

 

In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

 

Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”

 

Mr. Trump is a racist.

 

The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “shitholes.”

 

In private, he is even worse.

He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “shithole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.

 

While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way.

And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.

 

 

Mr. Trump is a cheat.

 

As previously stated, I’m giving the Committee today three years of President Trump’s financial statements, from 2011-2013, which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills and to Forbes. These are Exhibits 1a, 1b, and 1c to my testimony.

It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.

 

I am sharing with you two newspaper articles, side by side, that are examples of Mr. Trump inflating and deflating his assets, as I said, to suit his financial interests. These are Exhibit 2 to my testimony.

 

As I noted, I’m giving the Committee today an article he wrote on, and sent me, that reported on an auction of a portrait of Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 3A to my testimony.

 

Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself. Please see Exhibit 3B to my testimony.

 

And it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses, that were owed money for their services and told them no payment or a reducedpayment would be coming. When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it.

 

 

Mr. Trump is a conman.

 

He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it,which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly – and she did not deserve that.

 

I am giving the Committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to Ms. Clifford’s attorney during the closing days of the presidential campaign that was demanded by Ms. Clifford to maintain her silence about her affair with Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 4 to my testimony.

 

Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line of Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign.I did that, too – without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do or how it would impact me, my family,or the public.

 

I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later.

 

As Exhibit 5 to my testimony shows, I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017 – when he was President of the United States – pursuant to the cover-up, which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me – the word used by Mr. Trump’s TV lawyer — for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf.

 

This $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year – while he was President.

 

The President of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. You can find the details of that scheme, directed by Mr. Trump, in the pleadings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

.

 

When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.

 

As I mentioned, I’m giving the Committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr. Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission. These are Exhibit 6.

 

The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades. As you can see in Exhibit 7, Mr. Trump declared “Let him show his records” after calling President Obama “a terrible student.”

 

The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better.

 

In fact, he did the opposite.

 

When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employees’ salaries in half – including mine – he showed me what he claimed was a $10 million IRS tax refund, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving “someone like him” that much money back.

 

During the campaign, Mr. Trump said he did not consider Vietnam Veteran, and Prisoner of War, Senator John McCain to be “a hero” because he likes people who weren’t captured. At the same time, Mr. Trump tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft.

 

Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery.

 

He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment.

 

He finished the conversation with the following comment. “You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”

 

I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now.

Over the past year or so, I have done some real soul searching. I see now that my ambition and the intoxication of Trump power had much to do with the bad decisions I made.

 

To you, Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, the other members of this Committee, and the other members of the House and Senate, I am sorry for my lies and for lying to Congress.

 

To our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most.

 

 

I am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that I tried so hard to provide for my family.

 

My testimony certainly does not diminish the pain I caused my family and friends – nothing can do that. And, by coming today, I have caused my family to be the target of personal, scurrilous attacks by the President and his lawyer – trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel.

 

Mr. Trump called me a “rat” for choosing to tell the truth – much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government.

 

As Exhibit 8 shows, I have provided the Committee with copies of Tweets that Mr. Trump posted, attacking me and my family – only someone burying his head in the sand would not recognize them for what they are: encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family.

 

I never imagined that he would engage in vicious, false attacks on my family – and unleash his TV-lawyer to do the same. I hope this committee and all members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will make it clear: As a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before Congress and attacks on family are out of bounds and not acceptable.

 

 

Born to Write

 

I can’t get away from Bruce.

 

Everywhere I turn, everytime I look at TV, every publication I read, Bruce’s brooding face beckons me.

 

It’s so odd, since I’ve never liked New Jersey, hated the “Jersey Boys “ musical, and detested the stereotype of Italians created by “The Sopranos, generic jerks from Jersey. Yet, I cannot escape the most famous son of New Jersey since Frank Sinatra, whose velvety voice my mother adored.

 

I never adored Bruce’s raspy voice, but his words and his writing have taken my breath away, now, for the first time, when both of us are 69 years old.  After decades of listening to Springsteen’s songs, it’s his words, thoughts and actions which have turned me into a geriatric groupie.

 

It happened unexpectedly, while researching the official biography I’m writing about the singer/songwriter/humanitarian Harry Chapin.  Sure, like many others, I was struck by Bruce’s break-out hits in the 1980’s—Born in the USA and  Glory Days.  Both dominated the airwaves while I worked for an old ballplayer turned politician. Mario M. Cuomo, who articulated Springsteen’s working class anger in a less aggressive way.

 

It was Harry Chapin, six years after his death, who first brought me in close contact with Bruce, at a Carnegie Hall memorial  benefit concert on the 45th Anniversary of Harry’s birth.  I sat with my 12-year old son, and his mother, my partner of 15 years, less than 10 feet away from Springsteen.  He came out on the big stage, and talked about how Chapin would never stop bugging him about giving more of his earnings to people less fortunate—the poor, the hungry.

 

“Harry would stand outside my hotel window, and tell me that when he performed, he’d give one dollar for the other guy, and keep one for himself, “ Bruce said, “ and I’d nod my head, just to get rid of him and get some sleep.”  Then, Springsteen, holding his electric guitar and wearing an harmonica around his neck, stepped up to the microphone and in his haunting voice sang “Remember When the Music,” and left all of us in the audience gasping for air.

 

I hadn’t thought much about Bruce Springsteen for a few decades, until I learned that he had quietly picked up the humanitarian mantle worn by Harry Chapin, raising millions of dollars for non-profit organizations like World Hunger Year (WHYHunger), which Chapin founded with former Catholic priest and DJ, Bill Ayres.   Harry’s hectoring had hit home with the working class hero from Freehold, New Jersey.

 

Then, earlier this year, while carefully sifting through articles about celebrities using their gifts to improve the world, I came across a 20-year old interview done with Springsteen, by the writer Will Percy, the nephew of the great writer Walker Percy.  The “Springsteen Interview,” appeared in the Summer/Fall 1998 issue of the publication of WHYHunger, in a special edition devoted to Artists Against Hungerand Poverty.   In it, Springsteen didn’t just talk about his burgeoning humanitarian work, which he came to later in his career, but about the artist’s obligation to reach the public’s conscience.

 

“What’s interested me since I was young, “ Bruce told Will Percy, “ was how we live in the world and how we ought tolive in the world. I think politics is implicit. I’m not interested in writing rhetoric or ideology.  I think it was Walt Whitman who said ‘the poets job is to know the soul.’ You strive for that, assist your audience in finding and knowing theirs.  That’s always at the core of your writing, of what drives your music.”

 

“What a writer or artist does, “Springsteen continued,  “is to raise fundamental questions about the way we behave toward one another, and then move these questionsfrom the aesthetic into the practical, into some sort of action; whether it be action in the community or action in the way you treat your wife or your kid…”

 

“The way all those things intersect,” he said, “ is what interests me.  The way the social issues and the personal issues cross over one another; to me, that’s how people live. In some fashion that’s my intent to establish a commonality by revealing our inner common humanity, by telling good stories about a lot of different kinds of people.”

 

This past week, as his incredibly successful show Springsteen on Broadway , is winding down its’ year-long run before being aired on Netflix, December 15,  Esquire Magazine published another remarkable interview with Springsteen (“Beneath the Surface with Bruce Springsteen”, by Michael Hainey, November 27, 2018) in which he underscored that he was still striving to create a place where “the political and personal came together, to spill clear water into the muddy river of history.”

 

In his beautifully written autobiography Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, NY, 2016),  Springsteen is both more introspective then he’s ever been, and more outspoken about the political and social life of the USA of today,  a country different from the one in which he was born, worried that “the moral high ground has been swept away from underneath us.”

 

Yet somehow, despite the “crimes against humanity” which Bruce believes Trump commits each day by intentionally dividing and hurting people, the honesty of Springsteen’s life and his writing uplift me, and his voice is more clear and true to me than it has ever been.

 

 

RFK’s Death & A “Dangerously Unselfish” Life

On the 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, my mind has been replaying the first moment I met him.  It was 1964, the year after his brother was murdered, and he was campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat from New York State. I was 15 years old, and RFK was visiting Sunset City Shopping Center in North Babylon, L.I., just a few miles from where I grew up.

Since my mother and father were among the few registered Democrats in a working-class enclave of Republicans, the local Democratic Committeeman, Chester Clarke, asked me if I’d like to “meet Bobby” when he came to town. I jumped at the chance, and spent days painting the words “HELLO, BOBBY!” on an old bed sheet my mother gave me.

On the day of RFK’s visit, Chet Clarke drove me to the rally and placed me directly behind the rope, where I’d be able to shake Bobby’s hand, and my huge “Hello, Bobby!” banner would be front and center.  After the RFK cheerleaders sang “Robert Kennedy, Vote on November 3, There’s Gonna Be a Great Day,” (to the tune of “When You’re Down & Out, Lift Up Your Head and Shout,”) and Bobby gave a short, stirring speech, the candidate began to make his way around the rope, shaking hands.

He started across from me and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the bird-thin legs of Dorothy Kilgallen, the Talk Show host and journalist, walking right next to him. Her legs were so thin that her stockings flapped in the wind, as did Bobby’s wild, wispy hair.

When he worked his way around the rope to me, he put his hand on my shoulder, and said: “That’s quite a sign you’ve got there! Thank you!”, and he continued around the rope to shake every hand.

As he was leaving, there was a scuffle a few feet behind me. An obnoxious kid from my high school–the only person I’ve ever punched in the face–was pulled down from a light pole by Suffolk County police for pointing a plastic water pistol at RFK.

11391154_10154213026132316_5041038157268326664_n In the early morning hours of June 6, 1968, when Bobby was shot and killed in Los Angeles by a real pistol, I was driving past Sunset City Shopping Center in North Babylon, taking my father to the Babylon Train Station to catch a 5:30 am train into NYC to his job as a building maintenance man. We turned on the all-news radio station  to hear the late night baseball scores from the West Coast, but the only  news we heard on the radio was that RFK was shot and killed.  I dropped my father off at the LIRR Station, drove back to the spot where RFK touched my shoulder four-years earlier, shut off the car, and cried uncontrollably.

The following day, Robert F. Kennedy’s dead body would be flown back to New York to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a public funeral which tens of thousands of people would attend. Intuitively, I knew I had to be there, to feel this loss as deeply as I could and never permit anything to turn me back toward a life of quiet desperation, nor to be numbed into inaction by my own deep sorrow.

I got up early with my father on the first day Kennedy’s body was laid-in-state at St. Patrick’s.  We stopped at the newspaper kiosk at the Babylon train station’s lower level, picked up a copy of the New York Daily News for him, and the New York Times for me. We boarded his regular early morning train that was already waiting at the station. Both newspapers predicted huge crowds of mourners would jam Manhattan that day. .

When we got into the City, I started walking uptown to the Cathedral, and, blocks before I reached the church, I noticed the lines, stretching in all directions. It was still early, 6:45 in the morning, and the closest point I could join the line was at 45th Street and 5th Avenue, some five blocks from the main entrance to St. Patrick’s.

People were dressed in all kinds of clothing, but I focused on a small group of older Black women dressed up like it was Easter Sunday, wearing pastel-colored suits and pillbox hats with fine lacey black veils pinned over the front part of their hats, ready to be draped over their eyes when they entered the sanctuary.

I studied these elderly and elegant Black women carefully, picturing them praying together two months earlier when they learned Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed. I saw them standing in their church somewhere Uptown or in Brooklyn or out on Long  Island in Roosevelt, in the same bright pastel-colored suits and pillbox hats, with their fine lacey black veils pulled down over their eyes, unable to hold back their tears. We moved agonizingly slowly, and as the heat of the day caused me to perspire under my sport jacket,  I marveled at how the older Black ladies looked as cool and calm as the moment they joined the line hours ago. They had been through this before.

When we finally reached the cool vestibule of the Cathedral, and moved slowly up the center aisle, I stood on my toes, craning my neck to get a glimpse of RFK’s coffin, at the foot of the grey stone altar rail.  On the pillars in front of the main altar, I noticed a large statue of St. Patrick, carved carefully in stone, with a long flowing beard  and a glowering look aimed at any communicant who would dare to sin before the eyes of an angry God.

The line shifted a bit and I could clearly see Robert Kennedy’s coffin, . Directly behind the casket, standing erect, hands falling stiffly by his side, eyes staring straight ahead, was Jack Paar, the television talk show host, a close friend of the Kennedy family.   Flash bulbs went off, and I shot an angry look at a few idiots with instamatic cameras who saw this as simply the latest tourist attraction in New York. I wanted the statue of St. Patrick to strike them down or at least, turn them to stone. I took a few steps forward and stopped. In front of the coffin, less than 10 feet away from me, stood a young boy not more than 14 years old, just 5 years younger than I.   His facial muscles quivered and his hands were clasped tightly in front of him as he fought back tears.  It was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and the sight of RFK’s son, so fragile and alone, overwhelmed me with grief. I wanted to jump out of line and hug this frail child and apologize for what hate, fear and gun violence had done to his father.

I genuflected on one knee , under the stony glare of St. Patrick, in the bright morning light filtering through the Cathedral’s stained glass, and there, before the tomb of the man who inspired me to do good and the young son robbed of his father’s warm smile and comforting embrace, I vowed to become, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., suggested, “dangerously unselfish” and dedicate myself to life, and love, and public service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What “Paternity Information” Could Stormy Have That’s So Powerful It Forced Trump Into Kim Jung Un’s Arms?

Is the “Paternity Information” that Stormy Daniels may have on Donald Trump driving him into Kim Jung Un’s arms? Did Trump get Stormy pregnant? Pay for her to have an abortion?

 

On the eve of the Special Election in Pennsylvania’s 18th CD, where virulent anti-abortion GOP Rep. Tim Murphy resigned in 2017 over reports that he asked his mistress to get an abortion, is Trump facing the same “choice?” If not, just what “Paternity Information” is he afraid of in the non-disclosure agreement that his attorney Michael Cohen paid Stormy $130,000 to keep quite about?

 

Is Trump’s “audacious diplomatic overture” to North Korea as the New York Times described it, just another huge, Reality TV driven distraction from the tightening noose of bad news swirling around him? Is he running to Kim because the North Korean dictator is less scary than Stormy’s “paternity information?”

 

In typical Trump fashion — while he is cornered on every legal and political front; when the criminal investigations against him and his associates are getting closer and closer to Trump and his family; when his own lawyer has admitted Trump had an affair with Stormy Daniels which they tried to coverup with $130,000 of hush money; when his terrible Tariff decision is already backfiring even causing Grover Norquist to label it “tax,”; and when his “best people” are jumping ship faster than rats, Trump pulls down his pants to get people’s attention. It’s a tried and true Reality TV trick: when all else fails, do something ridiculously outrageous. Eat bugs, or stuff worms down your throat. Anything for attention.

 

So what is he trying to distract us from? Is the “Paternity Information” in the StormyDaniels’ illegitimate non-disclosure agreement disguising information of an illegitimate child? Does the phrase mean that he fathered a child by her? That he, perhaps, made her pregnant, and then paid for her to have an abortion, while he was married to Melania?

 

Up until the “PATERNITY INFORMATION” phrase emerged in Stormy’s Non-Disclosure Agreement, and the Pennsylvania Special election in the 18thCD drew closer — an election made possible by an abortion demand made upon his mistress by an anti-abortion GOP Congressman — I hadn’t given much thought to information about rumors of a surreptitious sexual encounter Trump had that I came across in writing my book.

 

In the course of researching Chapter 8 on Trump and the Mafia, in my book Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother, several sources told me that Trump made a Queens, N.Y. woman pregnant and, for years, paid hush money — cash in suitcases — to keep her quiet.

 

I pressed those sources to go on the record with the information, but they would not, so I turned away from what they said was an “open secret” throughout Queens, NY. If I couldn’t get the information confirmed on the record by at least two sources I wouldn’t use it. So, I didn’t. But then, the perfect Stormy hit.

 

I hadn’t thought about the rampant rumors of Trump fathering an illegitimate child in Queens — and paying hush money to his mistress — until this week’s revelation that “PATERNITY INFORMATION” was part of what was covered in the NDA with Stormy, and what Trump and/or his personal attorney Michael Cohen were among the things they were paying her to keep quiet about.

 

So, what better way to distract the world from the growing storm over Stormy and what he doesn’t want her to reveal, than to rush into a rash, dangerous meeting with Kim Jung Un? For at least 24 hours, Trump’s latest trick has taken the mainstream media’s attention off of the “Paternity Information” which Stormy has on Trump, and overshadowed the 18 criminal counts lodged against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in a Federal District Court in Virginia by the Special Prosecutor.

 

Could Stormy have ever imagined that her fling with Donald, might result in Trump fathering a child (or at least a fetus) with her, AND a possible peace agreement (or photo op) with Kim Jung Un? Was THAT the “Paterntity Information” the Non-Disclosure Agreement referenced?

 

I’m reminded of the secret code words whispered to Harry Truman when his staff learned that the tests were successful for the atomic bombs which would be dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki to end World War II. “Babies Satisfactorily Born,” his aides told him. Is Trump afraid that Stormy might spill that same secret code in public, or worse, tell Christian fundamentalists that in fact, the baby wasn’t born, but aborted? And that their beloved leader, Donald Trump, paid for the abortion?

Stay tuned.

The World’s White Supremacists Are Emboldened Out of Their Shitholes

 

On the eight Anniversary of the catastrophic Earthquake in Haiti which killed more than 230,000 Haitians and prompted many Americans–and our houses of worship–toward humanitarian responses to those who survived, Donald Trump decided to breathe new life into White Supremacy and the hatred of Haitians and people from impoverished lands, seeking a better life, and the “American Dream.”

 

Trump’s ignorant, hateful, racist comments were consistent with his own family’s history of White Supremacy, and the United States history of racial discrimination dating back to the founding of a nation half free and half enslaved, and an immigration system designed to keep out “undesirable” non-whites dating back to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Italian immigrants–considered to be a subhuman race from the “shithole” nation of that time, and numbering nearly four million by the early 1920’s–became the explicit target of America’s White Supremacist’s Anti-Immigration Law of 1924.

 

And, as Princeton Law Professor James Q. Whitman documents in his recent book Hitler’s American Model: The United States & the Making of Nazi Race Law, Adolf Hitler and Nazi jurists expressed admiration for that specific Anti-Immigration law, and used it–along with the Jim Crow laws of 30 American States–as the basis for the Nuremberg Laws, which discriminated against Jews, and were used as legal justification for mass murder.

 

Haiti, as a French colony, supported the American Revolutionary War effort against England, sending supplies to the colonists and troops to fight alongside Americans. In 1804, while slavery was still thriving in the United States, and propping up the economy of the South, Haiti became the first Republic in the Western Hemisphere to overthrow slavery, and become a nation free of it. That would not happen for another 60 years in the United States, after 750,000 people died fighting a war over the White Supremacists inhumane practice of Black enslavement.

 

As the New York Times pointed out in its editorial of January 13, 2018, entitled “So Much for the Beacon of Hope:”

“No one is denying that Haiti and some of these countries have profound problems today. Of course, these problems are often a direct result of policies and actions of the United States and European nations: to name a few, kidnapping & enslaving their citizens; plundering their natural resources; propping up their dictators and corrupt regimes; and holding them financially hostage for generation.”

Dr. Paul Farmer, in his brilliant book AIDS & Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame clearly demonstrates that Haiti was victimized by Westerners (Americans and Europeans) spreading HIV and other diseases in its major urban areas and not the other way around, as Trump falsely claimed when he said several months ago that “Haitians all have AIDS.” It was the same pernicious lie spread by White Supremacists about Haiti for decades. Dr. Farmer’s study points out:

 

“As a US-trained physician, it is clear to me that, even today, many health professionals have distorted views about AIDS & Haiti. These distortions are even more grotesque among the lay public, as many North Americans still believe that AIDS came to the U.S from Haiti, and not vice versa.”

Having worked at the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center in the heart of Brooklyn the the late 1990’s, one of the epicenters of the Haitian population in the United States, I witnessed–and worked with– a large number of highly-trained medical professionals from Haiti and other Caribbean nations who devoted their lives to serving the healthcare needs of 2.6 million Brooklynites. They were colorblind in their care for patients, and extraordinary in their degree of professionalism. The house in which I was born on Hawthorne Street in Brooklyn, just a few blocks from the Medical Center, was now meticulously cared for and lived in by a Haitian family.

 

But the Trump family, whose real estate empire began in Brooklyn, wanted the color of its’ tenants skin to be anything but Black. The Trump Organization, which built working class housing in Brooklyn with federal tax dollars, actively sought to keep African & Caribbean Americans out. Fred & Donald Trump’s company was found guilty by the Federal Government in 1973 for discriminating against Black’s, and the Trump’s–despite being represented by mobbed-up lawyer Roy Cohn– were forced to integrate their housing.

 

It wasn’t the first time the Trumps were caught practicing their own brand of White Supremacy. In May, 1927, as reported in the New York Times, Fred Trump was arrested at a KKK Rally in Queens. The Klan was at the peak of its power in the North at that time, was virulently anti-immigrant, as well as anti-Black, anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic. White Supremacists were instrumental in denying New York State’s Catholic Governor Al Smith the nomination for President at the 1924 Democratic National Convention, and in beating back an anti-Klan resolution.

 

The Klan amassed 50,000 protestors to march through Washington, DC that same year–1924–the year when Congress passed the sweeping anti-Immigration Act, which took special aim at Italian immigrants, and immigrants from non-“Nordic” nations, and became a model for the Nazis Nuremberg Laws. Fred Trump knew exactly what the White Supremacist organization was advocating when he attended their rally in 1927. Three months later, the Italian political activists Sacco & Vanzetti were executed in Massachusetts in a climate of virulent anti-Italian immigrant hatred, and a national hysteria over “radical” elements.

 

The Times points out (January 13, 2018) that throughout his lifetime, we have seen Donald Trump’s White Supremacist prejudices rear their ugliness again and again:

“We knew it in 1989, when he took out a full-page newspaper ad calling for the execution of five black & Latino teenagers…(later exonerated by DNA and other evidence)…We knew it again when he built a presidential campaign by demonizing Mexicans and Muslims, while promoting the lie that America’s first Black President wasn’t born here…And, again, last summer when he defended marchers in a neo-Nazi parade as ‘very fine people.’”

Now, on the Anniversary of the National Holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King–a holiday which many of the very same White Nationalists supporting Donald Trump fiercely campaigned against creating–it’s instructive to recall a powerful sermon given by Dr. King, two months before his assassination, 50 years ago this April. The sermon, which he entitled, “The Drum Major Instinct,” was delivered from the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on February 4, 1968:

 

“Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first. And they have said it over and over again in ways that we see with our own eyes…And think of what has happened in history as a result of this perverted use of the drum major instinct. It has led to the most tragic prejudice, the most tragic expressions of man’s inhumanity to man.”

That Screeching You Hear from Trump & Friends About Mueller & the FBI: Just Another Tactic He Learned from his Mobbed-Up Pals.

Donald Trump & the Mob: A Patsy Among Punks:
By Steve Villano

(Mobsters in the Gambino & Genovese Crime Families Screeched at the FBI & Robert Mueller (Just like Trump & Friends are Doing Now) Right Before Being Indicted & Convicted of Running a Criminal Enterprise. The FBI & Mueller ALWAYS Get Their Man…)

(reprinted from The National Memo, December 17, 2017)

Author Steve Villano’s remarkable new book is Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo And My Brother (Heliotrope Books 2017), the true story of his life as an aide to the late New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo and the sibling of a longtime Gambino crime family associate sent to prison for tax evasion.

The following is drawn from the pages of “Tightrope.”

Before all the signs and rumors that special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments are about to start tumbling down upon Donald Trump and his associates like a ton of bricks, many of us were baffled as to how long the huge target of the criminal investigation involving the Russians could get away with his lunatic, erratic, fanatical behavior, false claims about “fake” news, and histrionic attacks on the FBI and every federal law enforcement and intelligence agency.

 

That masquerade worked until members of Robert Mueller’s FBI investigative team induced Sammy “The Bull” Gravano—a man who murdered 19 people—to “flip” and provide evidence to convict John Gotti. After the Boss of the Gambino crime family was put away for life, Mueller’s men enticed the same Gravano to come out of the safety of witness protection and testify again; this time, he said that “The Chin” was totally lucid, and his insane behavior had all been an act.

 

Gigante, like Gotti, was convicted on Gravano’s testimony, and sentenced to life in prison, where he died. Mueller and his crack law enforcement professionals — expert in busting up criminal enterprises— were thus responsible for ending the reign of two of the most feared mobsters in the United States. Neither the Gambino nor the Genovese crime organizations (members from both of which married into my family) were ever the same again.

 

In Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother, I write about the Trump family’s “ incestuous relationship with organized crime,” as the investigative reporter Wayne Barrett described it in his seminal work on the depth of Donald Trump’s lying and corruption, Trump: The Deals & the Downfall, (December, 1991, Harper Collins, NY, NY.)

 

Trump’s ties to the Genovese, Gambino, and Scarfo mob families were of great significance to me, since my brother Michael was convicted of being a bag man for John Gotti, while I worked for Governor Mario M. Cuomo of New York.

“My brother knew many of the mob guys Trump did business with, and how they joked that they could make the hair of the heir of Fred Trump’s construction business stand on end, getting whatever they wanted from him. It’s a lesson that was not lost on Russian mobsters, like Felix Sater, Trump’s partner in his SoHo hotel, and a number of his wealthy, well-connected oligarch friends. Nor was it a lesson ever ignored by Mueller and his top team of law enforcement officials. It’s also a lesson that came straight out of New York’s construction industry, where the Trumps made their money.’

 

“I’ve never dealt with an industry that has more pervasive corruption than the construction industry,” James F. McNamara, director of former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch’s Office of Construction Industry Relations told the New York Times in April 1982.

“When I say corruption I’m using a very broad term. Some of it is labor racketeering. Some of it is political influence. Some of it is bid-rigging; some, extortion,” said McNamara.

In an extensive story detailing the mob’s influence over New York’s construction industry, the Times reported:

“Organized crime figures have infiltrated many important construction unions, from truck drivers to carpenters to blasters. Sixteen of thirty-one union locals in the city that represent laborers, the backbone of any construction job, are described by law enforcement authorities as being under influence of organized crime.”

Many builders and developers throughout the New York metropolitan area, including the Trump Organization, considered it part of the cost of operating in the construction business, and paid whatever extra charges were exacted through organized crime’s control of the cement and drywall industries, or other aspects of the trades.

In Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, Barrett wrote that Donald Trump met with Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno in the apartment of attorney Roy Cohn in 1983. Cohn, hired by Trump ten years earlier, when the Trump Organization was sued by the federal government for racially discriminatory practices in housing, represented Trump as well as Salerno.

 

The meeting between Trump and the Genovese boss occurred only a year after the New York Times had detailed organized crime’s stranglehold on New York’s construction industry, denying Trump any alibi that he did not know with whom he was meeting. Salerno, along with then-Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano, tightly controlled the city’s concrete industry through their company, S & A Concrete. Cohn’s client list— built since he moved to New York from Washington, DC in the mid-1950s, following his work as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) —included celebrities, the Studio 54 club, Salerno, Donald Trump and, later, John Gotti.

 

Barrett, who died the day before Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, documented that Cohn also represented Trump in meetings with another key New York construction industry player during the 1980’s, convicted labor racketeer John Cody, who was another former associate of my brother Michael.

Cody, at the peak of his power in the mid-1970s through 1982, when he was dealing with Cohn on Trump’s behalf, was no small operator. As President of Teamster Local 282, Cody controlled 4,000 drivers of delivery trucks in New York City and Long Island. He had the power to bring to a grinding halt the $2.5 billion construction industry, which employed 70,000 people. He could shut down any construction project in New York, including Trump Tower, by pulling out his drivers. Cody told Barrett: “Donald liked to deal with me through Roy Cohn.”

 

Barrett reported that Trump did, however, have to deal directly with John Cody’s girlfriend, Vernia Hixon, to whom Trump gave a sweetheart deal for several apartments, one floor beneath his own penthouse in Trump Tower.

“Despite his posturing as a New York power player, Trump cowered in front of John Cody, behaving more like a bagman, than a big man. As recently as last October, Cody’s son Michael told Christopher Dickey and Michael Daly of The Daily Beast how Donald gave Cody whatever he wanted: “Trump was a guy who would talk tough, but as soon as you confronted him, he would cry like a little girl. He was all talk, no action.”

 

That’s exactly the opposite of what Trump was telling Billy Bush about how he mistreated women on the now infamous Access Hollywood tape, released the week before Michael Cody’s interview in The Daily Beast and distracting most of the media from Trump’s crime family connections — which went all the way back to his father’s business partnership with Genovese crime family capo Willie Tomasello in the 1950’s. Both Fred Trump and Tomasello were hauled before a Senate committee and questioned about misuse of federal housing funds.

 

John Cody made sure Trump took good care of his special friend Verina Hixon, who now lived directly under Trump’s penthouse. The mobster funneled some $500,000 to Hixon for renovations of her apartments, while he was in jail for racketeering and income tax evasion. When Trump balked at fulfilling some of his promises to Cody’s girlfriend, Barrett reported that “Cody and Hixon cornered him in a nearby bar and got his agreement.”
“Anything for you, John,” was Hixon’s recollection of Trump’s comments to John Cody. “Anything for you.”

 

Trump was so terrified of crossing Cody that at one point, when Cody called Trump from prison to complain about construction problems on Hixon’s apartments, Barrett reported that “Trump greeted him nervously on the phone. “Where are you?” Trump asked. “Downstairs?”

 

“My father walked all over Trump.” Michael Cody told The Daily Beast. “Anytime Trump didn’t do what he was told, my father would shut down his job for the day. No deliveries. 400 guys sittin’ around.”  To John Cody and his colleagues, Donald Trump was just another puffed-up pasty patsy, who did whatever the mob guys asked.

 

Indicted by a Brooklyn grand jury on charges of racketeering, extortion, and tax evasion, John Cody was sentenced to five years in prison at the end of 1982. His sentencing judge, Jacob Mishler, was the same federal judge who would sentence my brother Michael to federal prison six years after Cody’s conviction.

 

With Cody’s ability to wield such vast economic power and choke off Trump’s flow of cash, there was little wonder that Donald Trump asked Roy Cohn to meet with Cody to keep him happy. They were in business with these guys. They had buildings to complete, and fortunes to make. Cooperating with the FBI or federal and state law enforcement officials to clean up the construction trades industry was not in Donald Trump’s self-interest. Making money was.

 

“There are no heroes in this industry in terms of helping law enforcement officers,” Jim McNamara told the Times. Many observers believe that Trump, although he holds the nation’s highest elected office, behaves the same way today toward the Russian mob and its international criminal empire. See no evil, speak no evil—especially if your business is dependent upon the mobsters under investigation.

“There is something eerily familiar about the attacks on the FBI by Trump and his lackeys at Fox News and in Congress. They sound exactly like my brother did, when he was sentenced to prison as a bagman for John Gotti who had never paid income taxes on the illicit money he collected for the crime boss. They sound like my brother’s former Gambino family associates with their bitter attacks on the “Feds” and the “fuckin’ gov’ment.” They all cursed the government and the FBI more intensely as the charges against them became more real, and their prison sentences became a certainty. My brother continued to curse the FBI and the “fuckin’ gov’ment” after he got out of prison–sent there because of solid FBI evidence against him.”

Trump was, and still is, a punk-wannabe among punks: an amoral actor doing business with amoral peers. As John Cody’s son observed, and my brother’s friends demonstrated, they had zero respect for Trump. They knew they could squeeze him for as much as they wanted, since all that mattered to Trump was money. That’s a language understood very well by organized crime—whatever dialect is spoken by the Gambino, Genovese, Scarfo or Russian criminal enterprises. It’s also a way of life that Robert Mueller has developed great expertise—and extraordinary results—in holding accountable to the law.

 

Steve Villano is a journalist, film producer, educator, and consultant who worked as a speechwriter for New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and headed his New York City press office. He now lives in northern California.
Copyright 2017 The National Memo

Donald Trump And The Mob: A Patsy Among Punks