If you glimpsed at the headlines across the mainstream media, you would think a “smoking gun” had been discovered in the newly released unredacted documents related to possible campaign finance violations and ‘hush-money’ payments.
As NBC News reports, the documents, released Thursday, describe a “series of calls, text messages, and emails” between Cohen, Trump, Trump campaign aide Hope Hicks, Keith Davidson – an attorney for the woman, porn star Stormy Daniels – and David Pecker, an executive of the company that published the National Enquirer.
The unsealed documents say that Hicks called Cohen on the night of Oct. 8, 2016 at 7:20 p.m – the first time she had called him in weeks – and that Trump joined the call seconds later. The conversation lasted four minutes. Hicks and Cohen spoke privately after Trump left the call and, after that, Cohen called Pecker.
Moments after that conversation ended, Cohen received a phone call from Dylan Howard, the chief content officer of American Media. After that call, Cohen rang Hicks back, ended that call, and then took a call from Pecker. At 8:03 p.m., according to the unsealed court documents, Cohen called Trump. They spoke for eight minutes.
Other unsealed documents include search warrants, affidavits and court papers related to the case. Most of those were previously released with heavier redactions.
The release of the previously redacted documents comes a day after the federal judge in the case disclosed that prosecutors had concluded their probe into Cohen’s campaign finance crimes and ordered the release of search warrants tied to the case.
Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, is serving a three-year prison sentence for a slew of crimes, including breaking campaign finance laws by hiding payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
However, buried deep in most of the stories is this simple fact – Prosecutors have not announced any further charges beyond Cohen, a clear indication the inquiry will be shut down with no additional action.
Don’t think that is true?
Ask Cohen’s attorney, ex-Clinton confidante Lanny Davis, who expressed displeasure with prosecutors decision to drop the proceedings in his own statement issued Wednesday evening.
“Case closed? Why is Michael Cohen – after all his voluntary cooperation and testimony that Mr. Mueller said was credible and went to “core issues” and all the information and documents he voluntarily provided to prosecutors and to congress – the only member of the Trump company to be prosecuted and imprisoned?” Davis said in the statement.
“Especially since prosecutors found that virtually all of Michael’s admitted crimes were done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald Trump? Why?”
As Bloomberg notes, prosecutors have said that at least two unidentified Trump company executives approved improper payments to Cohen. Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, testified before the grand jury under a grant of limited immunity.
So another ‘win’ for Trump?