Michael Cohen confirms yet another unbelievably sleazy deal in the service of Donald Trump

Michael Cohen confirms yet another unbelievably sleazy deal in the service of Donald Trump
Michael Cohen/Shutterstock
Michael Cohen/Shutterstock

When stories emerged that Michael Cohen had requested funding to keep Stormy Daniels from going public with the story of Trump conducting an adulterous affair with her during Shark Week, there was one little item down in the footnotes that left many puzzled. In addition to the money he collected to pay off Daniels, Cohen also sought $50,000 in reimbursement for “tech services.” Since Cohen didn’t seem to be connected to Trump’s digital manipulation team, that request was a bit of a puzzle. But now we know: “Technical services” means “skewing online polls.”

No matter how bad things are for Donald Trump, there is always a poll—some poll, anypoll—that he can hold up in his Twitter rants to prove that he’s more popular than Lincoln. More popular than God. More popular even than that dog who steals a french fry in that video. How does Trump always find some number that provides a pleasing view of his actions? He does it the old-fashioned way: by cheating.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, one of the tasks assigned to former attorney Cohen was creating bright and shiny poll numbers for Trump. Cohen outsourced this job to a company called RedFinch Solutions, owned by John Gauger, who was the tech guy for Church of Trump fanatic Jerry Falwell Jr. What did these godly people do for Cohen? They put their holy fingers on on-line polls. But that’s not all. They also did … this.

During the presidential race, Mr. Cohen also asked Mr. Gauger to create a Twitter account called @WomenForCohen. The account, created in May 2016 and run by a female friend of Mr. Gauger, described Mr. Cohen as a “sex symbol,” praised his looks and character, and promoted his appearances and statements boosting Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

And for his efforts in trying to get Trump elected and doing some side action for Cohen, Gauger was paid in a very appropriate manner. As in, Cohen secretly handed him an off-the-books bundle of cash concealed in a Walmart bag, along with a boxing glove that apparently neither Cohen nor Gauger really wanted.

And eventually, as every story involving Trump, Cohen, and payment must end … Cohen tried to cheat Gauger.

Even though Cohen got his $50,000 reimbursement for tech services that apparently included the Women For Cohen work, the Walmart bag he handed Gauger was stuffed with only somewhere between $12,000 and $13,000. While that would buy a lot of sweatshop clothing and Sam’s Choice grape soda, it wasn’t what Gauger agreed to, and eventually he complained, which unspooled yet another brilliant moment in Cohen’s career.

On Thursday morning, Cohen—who is having a major own-it moment as he prepares for his upcoming testimony before Congress—admitted that this Where-is-Jerry-Springer-today? story was accurate.

The poll-rigging was certainly for Trump’s benefit, and almost certainly with his knowledge. So Cohen can probably get away with the “blind loyalty” defense on that part. But the other thing?

Mr. Cohen asked Mr. Gauger to create the @WomenForCohen account, still active in 2019, to elevate his profile. The account’s profile says it is run by “Women who love and support Michael Cohen. Strong, pit bull, sex symbol, no nonsense, business oriented and ready to make a difference!”

Well. We can all hope that Cohen will still “make a difference” when he spills what he knows. Because this whole story, from the bags stuffed with cash to the phony polls, seems all too typical of what was happening inside the gold-painted walls of Trump Tower.


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