March 23, 2023

Michael Cohen just admitted that Trump forced him to rig various influential election polls in his favor

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President Trump’s convicted longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen just revealed another crime perpetrated by the two men upon the unsuspecting public after a major news outlet revealed the deed and its slapstick details.

It started when The Wall Street Journal broke the story that Cohen had spent $50,000 to hire the Chief Information Officer of the evangelical school Liberty University to rig public opinion polls conducted on CNBC and the influential right-wing Drudge Report news aggregator website.

Trump’s secret poll rigging operation should’ve been reported to the FEC as a campaign expense. Instead, the Trump Organization quietly reimbursed the attorney, even though intentionally failing to report the activity is a felony. Cohen threw Trump under the bus in a tweet this morning saying that he directed the fraud:

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer gave $13,000 to John Gauger, who is employed as the CIO for religious hypocrite Jerry Fallwell Jr. whom Cohen may have been blackmailing according to a Buzzfeed report.

The poll rigging operations took place before Donald Trump officially declared his presidential campaign, with the intent of raising his acceptance amongst Republicans. according to WSJ:

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“In January 2014, Mr. Cohen asked Mr. Gauger to help Mr. Trump score well in a CNBC online poll to identify the country’s top business leaders by writing a computer script to repeatedly vote for him. Mr. Gauger was unable to get Mr. Trump into the top 100 candidates.”

“In February 2015, as Mr. Trump prepared to enter the presidential race, Mr. Cohen asked him to do the same for a Drudge Report poll of potential Republican candidates, Mr. Gauger said. Mr. Trump ranked fifth, with about 24,000 votes, or 5% of the total.”

It’s not the first time that Michael Cohen conducted secret pre-campaign propaganda for Trump, leading to a potentially criminal FEC violation. In 2010, the attorney set up which led to a complaint and investigation, but former FEC Vice Chairman Don McGahn – who went on to be Trump’s White House Counsel – ruled that there was no violation because Trump never declared himself a presidential nominee in 2012.

That’s not the case now.

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Gauger and Cohen dispute exactly how the payment was made, with Cohen claiming it was made by check, and Gauger saying it was random, strange, and in cash according to the Journal:

“In his Trump Organization office, Mr. Cohen surprised the man, John Gauger, by giving him a blue Walmart bag containing between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and, randomly, a boxing glove that Mr. Cohen said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter, Mr. Gauger said.?

Mr. Cohen disputed that he handed over a bag of cash. “All monies paid to Mr. Gauger were by check,” he said, offering no further comment on his ties to the consultant.

That was the only payment for Gauger’s services in poll rigging, and for creating a @WomenForCohen fan club account on Twitter that is so hilarious, it’s hard to believe it’s real, except that it’s still up.

In the end, Cohen apparently pocketed the difference between the $13,000 paid and the $50,000 he invoiced to Donald Trump through his business.

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It’s yet another criminal act by the man occupying the White House who behaves like his current residence in government housing is a get out of jail free card.

Today’s revelation of the con that Trump and Cohen perpetrated on the public is part and parcel of the deception perpetrated on media outlets, which they perpetrated on the general public during the very early days of his chaotic campaign.

During the infamously racist campaign announcement, Trump hired a team of paid audience members to cheer him on, whom he refused to pay for the duration of the campaign. By refusing to pay Extra Mile for their actors to simulate a loving audience, Trump avoided confirming reports about the ruse.

One must wonder how many poll rigging operations Donald Trump engaged in, or if he paid for other digital services with the goal of politically deceiving the public, such as buying fake Twitter followers.

But there’s no question that Donald Trump committed crimes with his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who seems hell-bent on sending his former client to federal prison, where he will be for the next three years, starting in March.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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