New Michael Cohen Subpoena Could Mean New Legal Trouble For Trump Family | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC
And thanks to at home for joining us this hour you may have heard the news today about. A new subpoena, for the president's, personal lawyer Michael, Cohen the same Michael Cohen who, pled guilty yesterday. To eight. Felony, charges in federal court in New York Michael, Cohen did get a new subpoena, today it is a surprise. Michael. Cohen reportedly. Reacted to, that subpoena, in a surprising, way I'll, get to that in a second. But I want to talk about that subpoena here right, at the top of the show tonight because I think you should know that it might be, more. Than meets the eye it might be very important, in terms of what's about to happen next and. The. Pressure. And specifically. The legal pressure that, is being brought to bear on the, President of the United States, all. Right so here's. How it came to be, in, May, of this year May 22nd, the New York Times had a scoop that they probably only got because they are specifically, the New York Times, The. New York Times sent crack reporters, to an otherwise, sleepy. Courthouse, in Albany. New York not. A federal courthouse a state, court, because. That day in that, state court in New York a longtime. Business partner of, Michael Cohen's a taxi, cab mogul named Jean Freedman who everybody called the taxi King. He. Was in court he had been facing really serious charges in New York tax evasion on a grand scale more than five million dollars in tax evasion also. Four felony counts of criminal tax, fraud he was facing a charge of grand larceny it's a big stack of charges involving, a large amount of money and potentially, a ton of jail, time and. The big story that the New York Times uncovered. At the courthouse that day was that for some reason Jean. Freedman had managed to get this huge criminal liability he, was facing, went. Out down to. Almost nothing he. Was able to work out some sort of deal where all of that prison time and all of those felonies, just. Evaporated. Instead of being tried for evading, five million, dollars, in taxes, prosecutors. Let him plead guilty to. One count of evading. $50,000. Worth, of taxes not. Five million but 50,000, instead. Of decades, in, potential, prison time the, deal that he cut with prosecute, got him zero, prison, time, that's.
A Deal I mean people do plea deals all the time in which they offer their cooperation, to prosecutors, in exchange for prosecutors, letting. Them off the hook going a little easy on them but this is like the mother of all plea deals I mean. The amount he was able to offer them in terms of cooperation, must have been very very valuable, to the government given, how sweet, the deal was that he got from them in return. So. That happened in late May. Great. Catch by the New York Times super. Intriguing, story a really good reminder that it's always good journalistic, practice to just hang out at the courthouse and see what happens. Since, then we haven't exactly known what's been going on with with gene the taxi King Friedman, and his sweet plea deal and his potential. Cooperation. With, prosecutors, we did get one big hint a couple of weeks ago in The Wall Street Journal and they reported that gene, Friedman, the taxi King and Michael. Cohen hadn't. Just been business, partners, in the taxi business they, had shared an accountant, and the. Wall Street Journal, reported at that same time that that accountant, had been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors. Well. Now we see where that was heading in. In the list of felony charges to which Michael Cohen pled guilty yesterday in federal court you can see where all of, that stuff over the past few months may have been leading the financial, charges and tax charges that Cohen pled guilty to yesterday, are in, large part about his work in the taxi business the personal, loans the, cash transfers. The illegal, banking, tricks that can be, boring. To describe, if you're looking for a kind of cops and robbers story but they can be very easy for prosecutors, to prove. Once. They've got the paperwork to prove it and. And if and if they're really lucky if they've got the testimony, of an accountant, and a business partner to explain whatever documentation, they can get from, the banks. So. For. Obvious reasons right there has been intense, national. And political focus, on the, final two charges that Michael Cohen pled guilty to yesterday those are the campaign finance charges in which, he, remarkably. Directly. Implicated. The President of the United States as his criminal, co-conspirator. As the person who in fact directed. Him to commit those crimes. But. All of the other charges, that got Michael Cullen into that courtroom in the first place yesterday appear, to have derived from, the financial, case. Involving. Him in his taxi business in that. Case appears. To, have derived in significant, part from. That. Little courthouse, story out of Albany the New York State, Attorney General, and the New York state tax department. Bringing. A big criminal case against Cohen's partner in the taxi business and then flipping, him like a flapjack and sleepy. Little state court in Albany New York three months ago today. The. Law enforcement, official who who. Made that happen, is somebody who you might not might, not know her name is barbara Underwood. You probably remember the previous Attorney General in the state of New York he was very high-profile he ended up getting turfed out of office in a very ugly scandal, involving serious allegations, of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct his. Name was Eric Schneiderman, and he aggressively. Pursued a national, profile, but.
When He imploded. New. York state lawmakers, decided they would have the Solicitor. General from the state of New York slide over into Schneiderman's, office and become the temporary, acting AG. I think, they were thinking we. Need a legal legal legal we need a legal official Solicitor, General she argues cases can she take over for a second I don't even know if New York state lawmakers, and their famous fecklessness, even, had any idea exactly, what they had just done when they picked on barbara Underwood I don't even know if they, quite understood exactly, who, this was they were putting into the attorney general's office in their, state, but. Honestly barbara Underwood is a bigger deal than any, of them barbara, Underwood is freaking impressive, she, has argued 20 cases before the Supreme Court, she was Magnum, laude at Harvard she was first in her class at Georgetown Law School she was a clerk for Thurgood, Marshall yes that Thurgood Marshall she taught for years at Yale Law School she, became acting, Solicitor General's acting. Solicitor General of the United States in 2001, that made her the first woman to ever hold the Solicitor General title in this country she's been a lead prosecutor in, multiple, jurisdictions including. Serving. As the the chief assistant US attorney in the Eastern District. Of New York through a lot of their most blockbuster. And cases, she. Has an absolutely. Impeccable. Reputation. And, lifelong. Record and she. Is nothing to be messed with and she's. Totally unassuming. She is 74, years old when. She suddenly became, New York State Attorney General, all the papers were like we don't have any pictures of this person. But. She stepped into that role in the midst of crisis, and, she. Did not miss a step and, I know what you're thinking oh this is fascinating Matt, oh great now I have an interesting biographical. Sketch of the appointed, Attorney General of New York if it ever comes up at Pub Quiz I'll win cash and prizes why do I care all. Right how. Does this fit into this. Crisis, that the whole country appears to be in right now particularly, around the president, possibly. Being a crook and or a foreign, agent and what we're gonna do about it. This. Is where that goes I mean. Right biggest. Of big picture here is the, scandal, surrounding the president right which is which is different, than any other scandal, any president, has ever faced the. Scandal, the absolutely. Unprecedented scandal. Surrounding this, particular, president boils down to two main things right number. One Russia when. Russia interfere dinh our election to sway it in Donald Trump's direction, did Donald Trump and or his campaign conspire. With Russia to help them do that that's one part of it absolutely, unprecedented, the. Other part, of it separate. And, potentially. Unrelated, is, whether. Scrutiny. Of this president, brought. On by the Russia investigation. Or just by the normal scrutiny that comes with being president is gonna, end up turning up business.
And Financial dealings. Including. During the campaign that could, represent serious. Criminal liability for this president for his campaign even potentially, for his family, right. That's that's, the two sides of the unprecedented, nature, of the scandal that surrounds this president the Russia scandal, and the, worries about his business and financial, scandal and, that. Brings us back to Barbara Underwood. So. A month. After, she flipped Jean the taxi King Friedman. Securing. His cooperation with prosecutors, in exchange for leniency in the charges against him which ultimately looks, like it led to the conviction of michael cohen yesterday, or, the guilty police from michael cohen yesterday just, one month after she flipped gene friedman. Barbara. Underwood filed. A civil, lawsuit this. Civil lawsuit on behalf of the people of New York against president Trump's Charitable, Foundation you, can see there at the top two people of the state of New York. By. Barbara D Underwood Attorney General of the state of New York, against. Donald. J Trump Donald. Trump jr. Ivanka. Trump Eric, F Trump and the, Donald J Trump Foundation quote, for. More than a decade the Donald J Trump Foundation has operated in persistent. Violation, of state and federal law this, pattern of illegal. Conduct by the foundation, and its current members includes improper, and extensive, political, activity, repeated, and willful self dealing transactions. And failure, to follow basic, fiduciary. Obligations, or to, implement, even, elementary, corporate. Formalities as, required by law. Lawsuit. Filed by barbara underwood against. The Trump foundation. Alleging. That before. Trump ran for president he used his foundation, as a fake, charitable, enterprise that, really only benefited, himself once. He started running for president according, to this lawsuit from Barbara Underwood he basically converted. His foundation, into, a fake charitable foundation that didn't just benefit himself anymore now it was a vehicle for making illegal campaign expenditures on, behalf of his campaign for president. And. When she filed that lawsuit in, June a lot of the allegations, that she made against Trump's foundation were familiar people particularly. To anybody who followed David, Ferran holds Pulitzer, prize-winning, reporting, in the Washington Post in which he had dogged Lee catalogued, the, not at all, charity. Like finances. Of Donald Trump's supposed, foundation. But. In this lawsuit Underwood, added, some very specific. Evidence. Including. Dropping, pictures, of some of it right into the text of the lawsuit for, example she put in stuff like this handwritten. Note, see. That on the right side of your screen there it's handwritten on Donald. J Trump's stationery written in Donald J Trump's very recognizable. Handwriting, his signature all caps style written with a Sharpie to Alan. W Allen, Wisel Berg the money guy at the Trump Organization. He apparently was listed as the treasurer, of the Trump Foundation, for a decade without, even, knowing he was listed as such until, he got deposed, by Barbara Underwood's investigators, and they told him and he was like I'm what now I'm the treasurer I've been the treasurer for how long nobody told me. But. There's this note in the middle of the lawsuit Alan W Donald. J Trump foundation $100,000. Payment to Fisher House and then in parentheses, it says what for settlement. Of flag issue in Palm Beach, okay. Signed D. Donald. Trump's private club mar-a-lago and, Palm Beach had, been sued for violating. Local zoning restrictions having. To do with its flagpole. When. That lawsuit got settled and Trump. Had to pay money to settle that lawsuit Trump said pay that out of the charity funds that's not coming out of my pocket you. Cannot use your charity for that. But. Barbara Underwood caught him doing it Barbara. Underwood files this blistering, lawsuit, with lots of evidence including, the stuff just absolutely, it, like literally embedded, in the text of velocity, it's a civil, lawsuit that she brings in New York State but. She forwards. All this evidence that she gathered, to. The, IRS, for. Them to investigate it's a potential criminal tax matter she fors it to the Federal Election Commission for, them to investigate it as a potential set, of criminal campaign, finance violations she, C sees it too the Public Integrity Division, at the US Justice Department and, within.
New York State, the, state tax department, starts, investigating, that evidence as well as laid, out by Barbara Underwood to see if in, addition to her civil lawsuit there should also be a state, criminal referral. Against, the Trump foundation and president. Trump personally, and each, of his three eldest, children personally. And that. Is where the subpoena came from today for Michael Cohen. The. Tax department in New York State has subpoenaed him to. Testify as they, investigate, whether that is going to become a criminal case I said. Right off the top Michael Cohen had an unexpected, response to that subpoena this. Is from the Daily News this is fascinating here's, how the Daily News explains how that went down quote, the. State tax department which has been investigating, president Trump's Charitable Foundation, today issued a subpoena to. Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and it, received, an immediate, response a source, with direct knowledge of the situation tells, the Daily News that shortly, after the subpoena went out Michael. Cohen, personally. Contacted, the tax department to, talk, the. Source would not say what the response was from, the tax department but. Typically. In such cases where someone has a lawyer. Investigators. Deal with their counsel and not, directly with the person. So. In. New York State the Attorney General Barbara Underwood and the tax division in the state, they're. The ones who brought these devastating charges, against, Jean. Freedman the taxi King right threatening him with decades, in prison five, million dollars in tax evasion and all these multiple felonies, they put that pressure on him SQUOZE. Dim flipped. Him it appears, that cooperation, deal probably. Led to a number of the felony charges that Michael Cohen just pled to boom, now, the same dynamic, duo New, York's Attorney General, Barbara Underwood and the, tax division in New York State they, are now investigating, the, Trump foundation Trump's supposed charity, for a potential, criminal referral and we know they've got a ton of evidence because. Barbara Underwood laid it out in her civil case that. Is the origin of the subpoena, from Michael Cohen today and according, to The Daily News he responded, to that subpoena immediately. By personally, calling back the tax department does. The for the text Department didn't, even really know how to deal with it we're assuming you have a lawyer sir no. You want to just come right in okay do you want us to fix you a sandwich or anything you're right outside all right. Michael. Cohen pled guilty to eight felonies, yesterday, he's out on bail today and that. Thing that started yesterday. Right. At. Almost exactly the same moment that Trump's campaign chairman was being convicted, of eight felonies. Right. Trump's, personal, lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to eight felonies and he personally, implicates the president, in the criminal behavior, to, which he himself is pleading guilty that. All started, yesterday but Michael Cohen still out on bail and so apparently it's still unfolding, today, again. In this lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General that case is brought against, Trump's foundation, Trump himself and Ivanka.
Don, Jr and Eric Trump they are all named explicitly, in that case, in. The lawsuit Barbara Underwood accuses. Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric of quote abdicating. All responsibility. For ensuring. That the Foundation's, assets, were used in compliance, with the law I. Mean. If that case is gonna become a criminal matter and that's what's in process here if it's gonna be a criminal case and not just a civil lawsuit by the state of New York that. Could end up being a very serious, matter for not just Trump's. Charity, and the, president himself but, also for his three eldest, children. Should. Also note that because. It's a state case there won't be any way to parking, people out of jeopardy. In. That case you can only pardon, someone if you're president for federal crimes. But. There are also you should know serious, allegations, about the Trump campaign. In this. Same lawsuit. From. The lawsuit quote in 2016. The board knowingly permitted, the foundation, to be co-opted, by mr. Trump's presidential campaign, mr. Trump's political committee, extensively, directed, and coordinated, the Foundation's, activities quote. The foundation ceded, control over. The grants to the campaign making an improper, in-kind, contribution. Of no, less than two point eight to three million dollars, to the campaign, quote. The Foundation's grants made Trump in the campaign look, charitable, and increase, the candidates profile, to Republican, primary voters, quote. Mr. Trump's wrongful, use of the foundation, to benefit his campaign, was willful, and knowing. Right. Absolutely. Damning stuff about the Trump campaign, as well in this, lawsuit from. New York Attorney General Barbour Underwood so. To the extent that Michael Cohen might be helping with this might now be participating. And what, may, end up being a criminal inquiry into the Trump foundation that, has legal implications, for the Trump foundation for Donald Trump himself for, Don, Jr Eric, Ivanka. And for. The Trump campaign, and. Then. There's also the Trump Organization. The. Trump business. Which. Is also apparently. Quite, seriously, implicated, in Michael Cohen's guilty plea yesterday, in federal court. Michael cohen made what is described, as an illegal payoff, to stormy Daniels during, the campaign to keep her from telling her story about an alleged affair with Donald Trump Cohan explains in his plea and.
Prosecutors, Elaborate, in the criminal information they filed around, this plea, that. Donald Trump directed, him to do that but. Then also Michael, Cohen thereafter, got. Paid, back for. Having put out that money in that illegal payoff, and as, prosecutors. Tell the story it was the Trump Organization that, was used as the entity, to, pay Cohen. Back quote, on or about February 14th. 2017. The, day after Mike Flynn was fired just in case you're counting honor, about February 14 2017. Michael Cohen the defendants sent an executive, of the company the Trump Organization executive. Won the, first of his monthly invoices requesting. Pursuant, to a retainer, agreement, payment, for services rendered for the months of January, and February 2017. The. Invoice listed, $35,000. For each of those two months executive. One forwarded. The invoice to another, executive, of the company executive, to the same day by email and it was approved executive. One forwarded, that email to another employee at the company stating, quote please, pay, from. The trust. Post. To legal expenses, put retainer for the months of January and February 2017. In the description, now. The company in question is the Trump Organization Trump. Business who. Are executive, one an executive, two we, don't know but. That notation, that, the money to Cohen paying. Him back for the illegal, pay off during the campaign that should be paid from the trust. Well. The trust in this case is, that's. Supposedly, independent. Entity that president Donald Trump signed over all his business interest to after, he was sworn in as president right, that's the entity, a month after he was sworn in that started, systematically paying. Michael Cohen for. Having made that illegal pay off during the campaign. That's. Where the money came from and, who. Controls the trust that, was making these payments well. The president says the trust is now run by these guys his, eldest sons Donald. Jr and Eric Trump, president. Put his business interest in a Trump put his sons in charge of it it is the trust that paid Cohen, back for his felonious illegal. Payments during the campaign. Again. From the from the criminal information quote, executive, one forwarded, that email to another employee at the company stating, please, pay from the trust Eric, and Don Jr run the trust. So. The president's personal lawyer yesterday in federal court directly implicated, the President himself in at least two felonies. To which Michael Cohen himself has now pled guilty. Last. Night on CNN. Michael, Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis suggested. That Michael Cohen also has, information to share that, would be of interest to prosecutors, that relates to the. Trump foundation, the charity, today. That. Made something happen in the world the people who are investigating, the Trump foundation, as a potential, criminal matter subpoenaed. Michael Cohen to give them whatever, testimony, he's got about the Trump foundation he apparently sprinted, right over. In. Addition. Last night Cohen's, lawyer Lanny Davis told us here on this show that Michael Cohen also has information about the president potentially, having advance notice, of the, criminal, hacking, that happened during the campaign, in which, Russian, government hackers attacked Democratic Party computers, to wreak, havoc and steal information, that was used to help Trump win the election we, don't know exactly what Lanny Davis meant, by that very carefully worded, statement that he made on this show last night but, today there, has been a lot of focus on this.
Reference On page 16, of the criminal information against, Cohen and which, prosecutors say, that, when Michael Cohen got. His reimbursement. From the Trump Organization from, the Trump business for, these expenses, he had made during the campaign the. Expenses. Of these you, know the payoff which he now admits was an illegal felonious. Expenditure. When. He got reimbursement. For that for the illegal payoff he also asked, the Trump Organization to, pay him back fifty, thousand dollars for quote tech, services, and, prosecutors. Say in the criminal information that. $50,000. Claim quote in fact Cohen, had solicited from a technology, company during, an in connection with the campaign. Michael. Cohen supposedly, wasn't to campaign at all. So. Under what circumstances. Would he have been spending a nice round, fifty, thousand dollars on something tech related that in fact was for the campaign that. He would later seek reimbursement from. Reimbursement. For from, the Trump Organization he. Sought that reimbursement, for that $50,000. In Tekken spenders right, alongside the, reimbursement, he was always already getting from them for, his illegal cash payoff to, stormy Daniels the one that he's now going to do prison time for. We. Don't know that $50,000. Was was that Michael Cohen laid. Out to benefit the campaign and then he was paid back for by the Trump Organization we, don't know what that was but, I will note for, the record. Just, because you should know this is out there that. What Michael Cohen is accused of in the steel dossier is, meeting. With Kremlin, representatives, in August and September 2016. To discuss quote deniable. Cash payments, to operatives. Who were participating, in the anti Clinton hacking campaign organized by the Russian government, quote. According, to redacted, the agenda, comprised questions, on how deniable, cash payments, were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign and various. Contingencies for, covering, up those operations. So. He was there to discuss how to pay for the Russian hacking effort according, to the steel dossier if, that really happened is that something you might build to the Trump Organization as. Tech, services. Alongside. The porn star payoff that you billed to the Trump Organization as, legal, retainer. Last. Night we talked about the fact that the closest parallel in American presidential history to what happened to Donald Trump yesterday is probably, March. 1st 1974. That's that they Richard, Nixon saw the indictment, of his campaign chairman and his his chief of staff and other top, White House aides when. The grand jury indicted those seven top Nixon, staffers, in 1974. We would soon learn that that, grand jury also named the President himself as, an unindicted, co-conspirator. That, was March 1st 1974. By the end of that summer by August Nixon resigned. The presidency. Which. Then actually, led to a fascinating, few days of fierce national. Legal debate, to whether or not Nixon could actually get, indicted, then once. He was no longer president, once there was no longer any constitutional, issue as to whether he was protected from indictment because of the fact that he was a sitting president we'll, get to that in a in a few minutes with Michael Beschloss tonight but, but in this case now in 2018, with, this president there's no grand jury here, and there was no indictment because Michael Cohen pled guilty in open court rather than go through the process of being, indicted and going on trial he pled guilty and he apparently wants to talk about everything, he knows but. No less so than in 1974. Because of Michael Cohen this, president, has now been named as an unindicted, co-conspirator. And. There. Are constitutional. Questions as to whether or not any president, can be indicted while they are still serving, as president. But. There are no, sets constitutional, issues for, any potential indictments, coming down this same road that. Are. For people or entities not, specifically, named Donald J Trump. Indictments. For the Trump campaign people. Who served on the Trump campaign the Trump Organization people, who work at the Trump Organization the. Trump Foundation, and importantly, the people who are on the board of the Trump Foundation who are named Donald, J Trump Donald Trump jr. Eric, Trump and Ivanka Trump. Nothing. In the Constitution, protects anybody other than the president. From. Indictment, while. He's still serving as president nothing, protects his family or any of his business entities, from legal accountability and. As. Of today it looks like that's where this is going.
Hey. There I'm Chris Hayes from MSNBC thanks, for watching MSNBC, on YouTube if you want to keep up to date with the videos we're putting out you can click subscribe just below me or click over on this list to see lots of other great videos.