Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s (since-disavowed) former personal attorney, recently reached a plea deal on eight federal felony counts. Some related to illegal payoffs intended to silence two women alleging affairs with the then-candidate in 2016, while others entailed crimes like bank fraud and tax evasion. But Cohen seems to have been a very busy boy, with legal documents released Tuesday showing that he made a $50,000 payment to an unidentified “technology company during and in connection with the campaign,” per CNBC.
As CNBC noted, the payoff hints that Cohen’s role in the campaign went beyond being a mere fixer resolving sordid claims about Trump’s personal life—and court documents say the $50,000 transaction was recorded using “no paperwork, just a handwritten sum at the top of one of the other bank documents”:
The documents do not identify which tech company Cohen paid the money to, or what, exactly, the company did for him. But the mere existence of the previously unknown payment suggests that Cohen may have been doing more for Trump, and for the Trump campaign, than simply paying off women.
Furthermore, the way that Cohen reported the $50,000 expense to the Trump Organization in January 2017 suggests the money may not have been paid out through traditional financial channels.
CNBC wrote that numerous sources from the Trump campaign to Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis refused to comment on the payment.
Cohen had no known official role involved in the campaign’s legitimate digital wing, so this at least has every appearance of being as shady as it seems at face value. According to court documents, Cohen lumped in the five-figure payment to the unknown tech company with payments to “Woman-2,” who has been widely reported to be adult star Stephanie Cliffords (Stormy Daniels):
The payoff to “Woman-2” violated campaign finance laws. While it’s possible that Cohen was merely so sloppy he filed a request to be reimbursed for something innocuous alongside an illegal bribe, it also seems possible he was bundling together a lot of stuff Trump and crew wanted to keep quiet in the same transactions.
So who got that Cohen cash? Some irresponsible speculation as to what Cohen’s “payment for tech service” was for:
- Barron Trump (for the cyber)
- A 400-pound guy on their bed somewhere
- The Twitter moderation team
- Raw water
- The manufacturers of the Resolute Desk’s Diet Coke button
- Life Alert
- Totally legitimate election data firm Cambridge Analytica
- Exposing Hillary Clinton’s “coughing prevention machine”
- Internet porn
- Cash 4 Gold, baby
- Fyre Festival tickets
- Uber, but for money laundering
- Hired goons... on the blockchain
- Advance contributions to the “Michael Cohen Truth Fund”
- Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)
- Specifically, GRU subsidiary Gizmodo Media Group
Only time, or possibly federal investigators, will tell!