Aug 22, 2018
Hours after unveiling a major anti-corruption proposal, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pointed to the intensifying cases of President Donald Trump's close associates, former lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, as perfect examples of why such legislation must be passed.
\u201cSince introducing my bill to #EndCorruptionNow this AM: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign crimes. Paul Manafort convicted on tax fraud. Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted for misuse of campaign funds. And these are just the guys who've been caught.\n \nTime to clean up Washington.\u201d— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1534894292
Within minutes of one another, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of criminal activity--directly implicating Trump in his payment to an adult film actress--and Manafort was found guilty on eight counts including bank and tax fraud. Soon after, Hunter and his wife were indicted on corruption charges, accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds.
Warren singled out Manafort in two tweets, noting that among other charges, a jury found him guilty of failing to disclose a foreign bank account, from which he'd moved $30 million that he'd earned lobbying for Ukrainian politicians.
\u201cPaul Manafort lied about lobbying for a foreign government and got rich. And it's shocking that @realDonaldTrump's campaign mgr has been convicted of criminal tax fraud. But it's insane that ANYONE is allowed to take shady foreign cash to lobby our government. #EndCorruptionNow\u201d— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1534885203
\u201cToday I introduced a sweeping anti-corruption bill to clean up Washington. My reforms would make it flatly illegal for Americans to work as lobbyists for foreign governments. Congress should pass this law so we never see another snake like Paul Manafort again. #EndCorruptionNow\u201d— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1534885203
Warren's bill would ban foreign lobbying, require the release of tax returns for all candidate for federal office, and establish an independent anti-corruption agency to enforce federal ethics laws.
Cohen indicated in his plea deal that he had made a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" weeks before the 2016 election. In court documents regarding Cohen's case, Trump is listed as "individual one."
As Vox's Ezra Klein noted, corruption charges implicating the president combined with the indictment of a member of his party will likely erode his claim that he is a reformer intent on "draining the swamp"--even as supporters at his rally Tuesday night in West Virginia still appeared to accept that narrative.
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