UPDATED 3/29/2019: The BBC has retracted their story upon which this report was based, accordingly we have struck portions of this report.
President Trump’s personal lawyer just got caught collecting a $400,000 payoff to broker an Oval Office meeting for current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last year.
Officials in Ukraine told award-winning journalist Paul Wood of the BBC that Michael Cohen charged a princely sum to set up a meeting with Donald Trump, but they left Poroshenko hanging on details all the way up until the encounter took place.
Ukraine’s President got his meeting with Trump on June 20th, 2017 and agreed to buy American coal and trains, even though his country needs none of those things, in “deals can only be understood as Poroshenko buying American support, the reports say.”
After the meeting, Ukraine’s investigation into now-indicted Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort was sent into a deep freeze just one week after the White House visit, and cooperative meetings with Mueller’s investigators were canceled. The BBC reports:
Poroshenko decided to establish a back channel to Trump. The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help. He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in New York state, Chabad of Port Washington. This eventually led to Michael Cohen, the president’s lawyer and trusted fixer. Cohen was paid $400,000. The meeting at the White House was last June.
The federal law FARA requires people who lobby for foreign governments to register or face criminal charges, and Cohen’s actions for Ukraine seem to squarely fall under the act, as does his million dollar deal with Swiss pharma company Novartis.
Notorious Russian mafia associate Felix Sater was named “Man of the Year” by Port Washington Chabad in 2014 (video below) and the BBC says that a senior Ukrainian intelligence official pointed the finger at him as the middleman to get to Cohen.
Sater is cooperating with the Mueller probe.
This isn’t Sater’s or Cohen’s first time acting as a secret back channel to Ukraine. The first time was exposed last year when they moved a “peace plan” from one of that country’s legislators into convicted Gen. Michael Flynn’s hands in the White House.
Ukraine’s meeting last year wasn’t just a pleasantry, but a matter of life and death for a country fighting a military invasion from President Trump’s best friend Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.
Unfortunately, while a $400,000 bribe to Michael Cohen and a billion-dollar purchase order might buy access to Trump, the BBC reported that it did not pay for extras, like customer service:
The Ukrainian side were angry, the official went on, because Mr Cohen had taken “hundreds of thousands” of dollars from them for something it seemed he could not deliver. Right up until the last moment, the Ukrainian leader was uncertain if he would avoid humiliation.
“Poroshenko’s inner circle were shocked by how dirty this whole arrangement [with Cohen] was.” So Mr Poroshenko appeared relieved as he beamed and paid tribute to Mr Trump in the Oval Office.
The investigation into Michael Cohen’s hush money shell company, Essential Consultants, LLC, has erupted into America’s largest bribery scandal in history, all on its own, with the emergence of undisclosed deals from AT&T, Novartis, Korean Aerospace Industries, and now, the government of Ukraine.
Just last week, Cohen was caught soliciting a $1 million kickback from the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. A source close to attorney Michael Avenatti tells the Press that Qatar Investments director Ahmed Al-Rumaihi agreed to pay Cohen’s bribe, or their Trump Tower meeting during the transition would not have happened just a few days after the two men first met.
On top of that, Cohen also took a large cash payment from the US investment arm of Russian oligarch Victor Vekselberg’s Renova Group. He got slapped with major sanctions by the Treasury Department just last month.
The President’s personal lawyer is in effect an agent of the man himself. Donald Trump and Michael Cohen’s legal troubles were bad before, but this news makes things a whole lot worse.
Watch Felix Sater get named “Man of the Year” at Port Washington, NY’s Chabad which is where the Ukrainian government enlisted his help to contact Michael Cohen: