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Did Attorney Michael Cohen Commit Campaign Finance Violations? Legal Experts Weigh in.

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Long time Trump attorney Michael Cohen wasted no time pointing the finger at his former boss, stating that he committed not one, but two campaign finance crimes at the behest of the president when he paid two women “hush money” payouts in the six-figure range to silence them about alleged affairs they had with then candidate Donald Trump.

But many legal experts say Cohen didn’t actually commit a campaign finance crime, leading to speculation about why he pleaded guilty, and what his confession may mean for Trump.

The criminal case against Cohen dealt largely with unrelated tax and bank fraud charges. The campaign finance charges were the only ones directly related to Trump, and in pleading guilty he accepted a contentious legal theory that payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal were campaign contributions.

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Among election law experts, however, there’s doubt that Cohen committed a crime. Skeptics say silencing the women may have helped Trump during the 2016 campaign, but also protected Trump’s family and company from embarrassment, meaning it wasn’t an election contribution.

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Experts point to the failed prosecution against former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., whose wealthy supporters gave money to his mistress Rielle Hunter to silence her.

“The big fish here is Trump, and this is a long way toward trying to ‘get Trump,’ so to speak,” said Bradley Smith, a former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

But Smith, a professor at Capital University Law School who is “not a big fan of Trump,” said Cohen’s plea doesn’t necessarily torpedo the president, given the legal question is unsettled.

“I think it is not a crime to pay a mistress in this way, because it’s not a campaign expense, even though it is something that potentially benefits the campaign,” he said.

Not matter how you slice the cheese, paying off these women was unethical, and it also makes it look like Trump really did have the affairs. Whether he did or not is not for us to say without 100 percent proof, but it doesn’t look good with this particular situation.

Is it illegal? No. Should the president have allowed himself to be put into a situation where this would be a problem? No.

Just because we support the president doesn’t mean we agree with every single thing he’s done in his private life. Nor should we.

Let’s hope this situation gets wrapped up soon.

Source: Washington Examiner

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Amazon Rolls Out Creepy ‘Pay By Palm’ Hardware at Whole Foods

Is this one of the harbingers of a cashless society?

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Throughout much of modern history, Americans and their cash were two separate things.  One was a human being, breathing and walking about, earning money.  The money was an inanimate commodity of varying value that we used to keep the organism alive, fat, and happy. But in the future, it seems as though we may find ourselves intrinsically, and anatomically indistinguishable from our bank account.  In fact, it appears as though Amazon is banking on it. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said it is rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle starting on Wednesday, letting shoppers pay for items with a scan of their palm. The move shows how Amazon is bringing some of the technology already in use at its namesake brick-and-mortar Go and Books stores to the grocery chain it acquired in 2017. The system, called Amazon One, lets customers associate a credit card with their palm print. It offers a contact-less alternative to cash and card payments, Amazon said. Of course, the move is being regarded as a terrifying leap into Orwellian territory by privacy experts, as it appears to push us ever closer to a cashless society where hackers and power failures could doom us all to poverty in the blink of an eye.

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Fraternal Order of Police Responds to LeBron James’ Tweet Fiasco

And they were NOT happy.

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The politicization of American sports has been ongoing for some time, perhaps decades, but the most recent acceleration of this melding has come thanks to the power of social media and the blurring of the line between celebrity and athlete. At the forefront of this movement has been the NBA, and, more specifically, superstar LeBron James. This week, James came under fire for a tweet in which he referenced the Derek Chauvin trial’s guilty verdicts, with a photo of another officer who was involved in the shooting of a young black girl and text stating “you’re next”. The tweet was seen as a threat by many, including the Fraternal Order of Police who responded harshly. On Wednesday, James tweeted a photo of the officer involved in the shooting with a caption reading “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” The tweet has since been deleted. James was reacting to the deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Hours later, the National Fraternal Order of Police tweeted a photo of James’ original tweet, saying: “[email protected], with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in. This is disgraceful & extremely reckless. The officer saved a young girl’s life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact.” James attempted to walk back the tweet after deleting it, by issuing an explanation that garnered only a lukewarm response online.

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