Russia

Companies Poured Millions Into Michael Cohen’s Shell Company

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Two previously separate stories -- Trump's affairs with former porn stars and PlayBoy models and the possibility that Trump or someone close to him colluded with the Russians -- may have merged into one single story last night.

Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti first announced last night that he had uncovered evidence that companies poured millions into Michael Cohen's shell company known as Essential Consultants L.L.C.

Cohen used that company to cover up Trump's affairs with Daniels and other women and a significant amount of the money came from a Russian oligarch who is very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

From the New York Times:

Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the records show.

Among the previously unreported transactions were payments last year of about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement on Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg.

Other companies such as AT&T and the Swiss drugmaker Novartis also contributed to Michael Cohen's slush fund and at the moment it's not clear if those companies understand they may have indirectly funded Trump's cover-ups. Or maybe that was the whole point.

Buzzfeed News and CNN both reported this morning that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been investigating the payments made to Cohen's shell company since at least November 2017 so, again, it's safe to say Mueller's team is months ahead of the headlines.

Trump's affair with Stormy Daniels and Cohen's attempt to cover it up was not reported until January, but it looks like Mueller's team was following the money long before that.

You may recall that federal prosecutors in Manhattan launched their investigation and raided Michael Cohen's office after receiving a tip from Mueller.

If this emerging story was the information Mueller passed along, we're way beyond dubious taxi medallions.

No one seems to know how Michael Avenatti got his hands on this information, but the most plausible speculation I've seen is that someone may have leaked a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to him. An SAR is filed by banks when they observe unusual activity.

  • Badgerite

    Government as a ‘shakedown’ racket. No one should be surprised since trump was talking this way about NATO and our European allies at the start of the 2016 campaign.
    It isn’t America First. It is trump first. Always has been. Still is. They, him and his family, are a pack of treasonous weasels. I’m so shocked.

  • Aynwrong

    I’ve expressed this sentiment here before, and here I go again. To anyone in the media or people on what I’ll call the “Greenwald left” who prattled on for even a millisecond about Hillary Clinton using the Clinton Foundation for some kind of payola…
    https://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/fuck_off_jack_nicholson.gif

  • mnpollio

    I swear if Stormy Daniels/Stephanie Clifford and Michael Avenetti are the catalysts which bring down the Trump Presidency and his disgusting cronies, every US citizen should line up to kiss their feet.

  • Username1016

    The level of corruption from top to bottom is simply breathtaking. I SO look forward to all of this unspooling on national TV during the impeachment hearings. Pro-Trumpers are gonna have a real hard time defending their boy.

    • mnpollio

      When has that ever stopped them from rehabilitating his behavior in some nonsensical way?

      • Username1016

        I know, but SURELY there’s a limit, SOMEWHERE???

  • muselet

    Remember when Michael Cohen’s story was that he took out a home equity loan to pay off Stephanie Clifford? That explanation didn’t pass the giggle test and now looks, if anything, less likely than ever. Essential Consultants LLC now looks like it wasn’t merely a laundromat for Donald Trump’s hush money but was part of Cohen’s cunning scheme to cash in on his connection to Trump.

    Trump World was starting to cool on Cohen last week, and this will speed his inevitable rendezvous with the underside of the bus. Cohen has little if any leverage with Robert Mueller’s people, soon will have no friends (influential or otherwise), and his shell corporation has piles of cash that are at best difficult to find an innocent explanation for.

    Michael Cohen is toast.

    –alopecia

    • Aynwrong

      “inevitable rendezvous with the underside of the bus.”

      You my friend, are a poet.

      Also, I can’t help but think you’re using the word “cunning” ironically.

      • muselet

        Some commenters at TPM use “underbus” as a transitive verb (as in, “Donald Trump is likely to underbus Michael Cohen”). I’m not quite there yet, but by the end of the Trump presidency I’ll probably be using it.

        Also, I’m fairly certain you’re right about “cunning.” :^)

        –alopecia

        • Aynwrong

          Hey, did the Jack Nicolson GIF come out real tiny on your screen? It did on mine.

          • muselet

            It’s not just you.

            When I clicked on the New Comment banner a few minutes ago, the gif was displayed at the full width of the column. Going back to the page now, it’s shrunken.

            Weird.

            –alopecia

          • Aynwrong

            Hmmmmm…

  • ninjaf

    I am giddy to know this but I also kinda wish he had kept it under wraps so Mueller could continue to make full use of their ignorance.

    And, gee golly! Wonder what had Trump so scared when the documents were seized?

  • simpfan

    If it looks like a bribe, swims like a bribe, and quacks like a bribe, then it probably is a bribe.