Thoughts & Essays

5TtRT: Election hacking, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Robert Mueller & more

Whew. Busy news day yesterday, eh? Let’s get into it.

First thing’s first: the Paul Manafort verdicts. Paul Manafort was facing 18 charges, all financial stuff like tax fraud and such. The jury came back with a “guilty” verdict on 8 of the charges and hung up on 10 of them. The eight guilty charges carry a penalty of 80+ years in prison, plus a metric crap-ton worth of fines. The 10 hung charges get called a “mistrial,” and Mueller has until next week to decide if he wants to retry those charges or not.

Manafort’s already facing a second trial, starting in September, for a whole ‘nother pile of financial crimes. Also, the judge he’s facing there isn’t near so friendly to Manafort as the judge in this first case. So pretty much anyway you cut it, Manafort’s screwed.

Second, and possibly the bigger news: Cohen’s plea agreement and court statements directly implicating Trump in felony crimes. You guys. If we didn’t live in the Mirror Universe, Trump’s presidency would probably be over today.

Cohen arranged a plea deal and had to make a statement under oath in court, in which he said that he paid off the porn stars Trump had affairs with, on Trump’s orders, to influence the outcome of the 2016 elections. That’s a big deal, folks. In fact, it’s a federal-sized big deal, which means in theory we’re into an area where Trump could pardon Cohen. For what it’s worth, Cohen says he won’t take a pardon from Trump.

Meanwhile, Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, was all over the news last night and this morning, telling anyone who would listen that Cohen’s ready to talk. Cohen wants to talk to Mueller, Cohen wants to talk to Congress, Cohen wants to tell everything he knows to anyone who’ll listen, apparently.

And not to give anyone ideas, but what do you think the over-under is on Cohen staying alive long enough to tell anyone anything? I mean, I don’t know as anyone in the Trump gang would do something, but Putin loves killing dudes who run their mouths, and Trump used to be in with the mafia back in the day, too. All I’m saying is that if I were Michael Cohen, I’d be hiring a bunch of security.

Next up: Democrats are getting ready to break glass in case of emergency. IE, if Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller. Since the Trump administration is reeling from yesterday’s revelations and verdicts, and Trump is a volatile crank, the Democrats are brushing off their “Mueller just got fired” disaster plans. Which is reassuring. If you’d asked me yesterday, I’d have doubted the Dems had plans for that.

In other news: Someone’s trying to hack the DNC again, and Facebook just rounded up a bunch of “election influencer” accounts. The security company that the DNC uses warned them that they’d discovered a webpage that had been set up to use for phishing for passwords and usernames for the DNC’s voter database. That page has been shut down. Meanwhile, Facebook found and closed 652 Iranian and Russian accounts that had been set up to run election influencing ops.

Stay on your toes, people. The election is right around the corner, and things are getting wild out there.

And finally, just to wrap things up: Google, Apple and IBM are ditching their college degree hiring requirements. Which means you won’t necessarily need a degree to get hired by those companies anymore. I approve. When it comes to tech-related fields, I’m not sure how useful a college degree is, other to have it to list on your resume. Odds are pretty good that in a lot of those fields the information you’re learning in college is obsolete almost before you finish a class, so the college degree may not prove that you know anything useful.

All right, that’s what I’ve got for today. Buckle up, kids. You know Trump’s gotta be sweating bullets right now, so things might get fun as the day progresses.

Featured photo: Michael Cohen. (Source and licensing.)