Storied Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein doesn’t have much in the way of sympathy or respect for Michael Cohen.
After a Friday Wall Street Journal report revealed Cohen had gained access to some three-quarters of a million dollars during the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, Bernstein appeared on CNN to discuss Cohen’s legal and legal-ish machinations with host Anderson Cooper.
Cooper began the segment by discussing the timing of Cohen’s cash access with analyst Gloria Borger.
Carl, if the money was for–we know $130,000 of that home equity line was for the Stormy Daniels payment ultimately–but if the money was for other things related to candidate Trump, it does raise the question of, ‘Why was this attorney doing this with his own money instead of just having Mr. Trump set aside a certain amount of money for him to operate with?’ And I assume the answer to that would be to have some deniability between the two.” To which Bernstein replied:
This has, from the Wall Street Journal’s account, all the appearances of a campaign slush fund. To pay for nefarious acts that the candidate did not know, did not want known, and the payments were made through his fixer. That is what the Wall Street Journal story points toward. And it’s very interesting because in Watergate, the key to Watergate that really broke everything open was the discovery of a slush fund that was used for nefarious purposes that was meant to be hidden. And it carried out the wishes of the candidate.
Bernstein continued, “I don’t wanna speculate on where this is gonna go or what it means, but it is all part of a pattern that we are seeing in this investigation and why from the beginning Michael Cohen has been key to everything having to do with nefarious activities in the Trump campaign and also figures in the Russia investigation. And so these matters are coming together now as more and more reporting is being done.”
Cooper pushed back a bit. He noted that the Stormy Daniels non-disclosure agreement (NDA) wouldn’t necessarily qualify as nefarious. Bernstein admitted as much but said he was inclined to believe the purpose of that NDA was indeed nefarious–until Trump and/or Cohen could prove otherwise.
[image via screengrab]
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