If you think that 2019 is already too weird to be real, strap in. It’s getting weirder by the day.
According to a strange new report in the Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, hired a small tech company called RedFinch Solutions to rig online polls in favor of Trump. And in the most bizarre twist, Cohen even paid to have a vanity Twitter account made called WomenForCohen which described the attorney as “strong” a “pit bull,” and, perhaps least convincing, a “sex symbol.”
Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in November, which may effectively make President Trump an unindicted co-conspirator. Cohen has also reportedly talked with special counsel Robert Mueller about the plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow, a business deal that still hasn’t been sufficiently explored to discover if Trump is beholden to Russian interests.
The fake pro-Cohen Twitter account is still active and has often retweeted accounts from Trump’s short-lived national security advisor Michael Flynn and Fox News personalities Diamond and Silk. The account would also frequently retweet Michael Cohen himself, like in this one from less than two months before the 2016 election, claiming that online polls are more accurate than polls conducted by CNN:
But the story gets even weirder. According to the WSJ, the guy who operates the tiny tech company hired by Cohen, John Gauger, got stiffed on payment. Gauger also claims that the fraction of the money he was finally paid was only paid in cash that was stuffed inside of a Walmart shopping bag. Seriously.
From the Wall Street 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.
Gauger is also reportedly the CIO at Liberty University in Virginia, operated by Trump ally and morally confused sack of shit Jerry Falwell Jr. Falwell has been a champion of President Trump, despite Trump’s war on everything good.
“Why have Americans been able to do more to help people in need around the world than any other country in history? It’s because of free enterprise, freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurism and wealth,” Falwell told the Washington Post in an interview published earlier this month.
“A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me,” Falwell continued, contradicting both the biblical stories of Jesus and mainstream Christianity.
The Wall Street Journal points to two polls that were rigged by Gauger, including one on CNBC.com that predates Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2014 and claimed to rank America’s “top business leaders.” Another poll from February 2015 was featured on the Drudge Report. Gauger reportedly wrote computer scripts that would repeatedly vote for Trump, but may not have been great at his job. The Drudge Report poll only got Trump about 5 percent of the vote.
Gauger was reportedly supposed to receive $50,000 for his online poll rigging efforts—polls similar to the ones that both Trump and Fox News would often tout as proof that he was incredibly popular with Americans. Despite winning the election, Trump was actually less popular with Americans than candidate Hillary Clinton, judging by the 3 million more votes that she received.
Ultimately, Cohen billed the Trump Organization for the full $50,000 despite only paying out the roughly $13,000 in cash to Gauger. And Trump’s current lawyer insists that this is evidence Cohen is a liar.
“If one thing has been established, it’s that Michael Cohen is completely untrustworthy,” Rudy Giuliani told the WSJ.
To make things even more bizarre, Giuliani also claimed last night during an interview with CNN that he “never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign.” Yes, Giuliani’s new tactic is to say that there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia but not between President Trump himself and Russia.
Like I said, it’s only going to get weirder from here on out.
Update, 10:25am: Michael Cohen just tweeted this from his personal account:
President Trump has yet to address the issue.