Warning ignored. So here it goes.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018
December 12, 2016 - Trump Tower. Details to follow... pic.twitter.com/aEuuhRHB4a
President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, who allegedly paid off his mistress and received hefty sums from big corporations in exchange of selling access to the commander-in-chief, seems to be sinking even deeper in the mess of lies and the accusations of illegal conduct.
Interestingly, this time around, the Trump lawyer has Michael Avenatti – the attorney representing adult movie actress Stormy Daniels whom Cohen reportedly paid $130,000 to keep silent about her alleged affair with the president back in 2006 – to thank for the controversy.
Avenatti created a social media storm after he posted photos showing a man, identified as Qatari investor Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, entering an elevator at Trump Tower alongside Cohen in December 2016, shortly before the presidential inauguration.
The photos are from a Dec. 12, 2016 CSPAN video.
Avenatti, in his tweet, claimed the foreign investor also met with Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose previously undisclosed conversations with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak essentially jumpstarted the ongoing investigation into Trump campaign alleged ties to the Kremlin.
Why was Ahmed Al-Rumaihi meeting with Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn in December 2016 and why did Mr. Al-Rumaihi later brag about bribing administration officials according to a sworn declaration filed in court?— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018
The thing is, as the Mother Jones pointed out, Al-Rumaihi has been accused of bribing the U.S. politicians – including Flynn.
Al-Rumaihi, who is reportedly the head of a $100 billion Qatari national wealth fund, is currently facing a $1.2 billion lawsuit from rapper Ice Cube and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz, who allege Qatari investors targeted their BIG3 basketball league to gain access to the members of Trump’s close circle – including former White House chief strategist and the man behind the president’s white supremacist ideology, Stephen Bannon.
“Mr. Al-Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Stephen Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support,” Kwatinetz said, according to the court filing.
The suit also claimed Al-Rumaihi and other investors failed to pay the promised funds.
Moreover, according to the Think Progress, Kwatinetz suggested Al-Rumaihi was acting as an agent of the Qatari intelligence.
“I immediately let Mr. Al-Rumaihi know I was offended by this request, that I was trying to run a basketball league and need our money paid, and I stated that neither I nor Steve Bannon would ever take, or even entertain the concept, of a bribe of any kind,” he said in a sworn declaration filed this month. “Mr. Al-Rumaihi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated ‘do you think Flynn turned down our money?’”
Apparently, this discussion took place after Al-Rumaihi invited Kwatinetz on a hike in January 2018.
Meanwhile, Sports Trinity, the medium Al-Rumaihi reportedly used to invest in BIG3, released a statement denying the accusations.
“Simply put, the statements in Mr. Kwatinetz’s declaration are pure Hollywood fiction,” it read. “Mr. Kwatinetz is engaging in a xenophobic PR smear campaign against Sport Trinity, the largest investor in BIG3 basketball, to cover up his own mismanagement and erratic behavior with respect to the league. Mr. Kwatinetz’s commercial dispute with Sport Trinity is meritless.”
And to be clear - by “warning ignored” I am referring to the refusal of various parties to come clean and the failure of various parties and news outlets to stop with the personal attacks on our side. Keep pushing us. #consequences #basta— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018
To recap, Flynn became the first casualty of the Trump administration after he reportedly lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conservation with the Russian envoy. He then pleaded guilty to the federal investigators and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
On the other hand, Cohen, who is under fire for selling access to the president, reportedly received a huge amount of money from a firm linked to a Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.
It is also important to note the government of Qatar reportedly bought a $6.5 million apartment in Trump World Tower. The Politico also reported Qatari government was looking to make an investment in conservative website Newsmax. It’s CEO, Chris Ruddy, has close ties to the commander-in-chief.
Now, the question is if Cohen is also involved in the whole Russia-Trump collusion – as Avenatti suggested in his Mother’s Day tweetstorm, how deep does this thing go and how many other governments may or not have an influence in the White House?
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Brendan McDermid