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Burning hatred of Donald Trump motivates so many to crowdfund crooks & undesirables

Danielle Ryan
Danielle Ryan
is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ
Burning hatred of Donald Trump motivates so many to crowdfund crooks & undesirables
There may be little more grotesque than a man who has just pled guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud and breaking election laws asking the public to pay his legal fees – but former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is a man without shame.

Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis set up a GoFundMe page last week, so that the American public has an opportunity to help his disgraced client and his family “as he goes forward on his journey to tell the truth about Donald Trump.

Cohen really badly wants to tell the world everything he knows about Trump, you see, but he just can’t do it unless other people pay for his legal defense. In fact, so broke is he, that hours after pleading guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations, he dined at what the New York Post has dubbedthe snobbiest restaurant in the city.

Someone break out the violins. A true American tragedy unfolds before us.

So, cough up, folks. As of writing, Cohen’s “truth fund” has racked up more than $162,000 in donations. It turns out it pays well to be a high-profile, newly-flipped Trump critic.

Oddly enough, when Davis tries to sell Cohen’s sob story, he doesn’t mention the fact that his client bought a 2,697 sq ft Manhattan apartment for $6.7 million in April, according to the Wall Street Journal. The luxury home is located in a building that boasts a 75ft pool, Turkish baths and a concierge service that books private planes for residents.

But that part of Cohen’s lonely struggle for truth and justice has conveniently been left out. Maybe Cohen and Davis hatched the GoFundMe ploy sipping on champagne while enjoying the panoramic views of Manhattan and cackling at the thousands (3,074 so far) of gullible mugs who would part with their own money to help him pay his legal bills.

Initially it might seem shocking that any American could offer up even a dollar of their hard-earned cash to help a criminal like Cohen pay his legal fees –  but Russiagate has been remarkable in its ability to turn so many minds to mush already, it’s hardly that surprising at all when you think about it. In fact, it is typical of Russiagate devotees to decide that Cohen, having “flipped” on Trump, is now some kind of national hero deserving of their help; that somehow he has seen the light.

Back in reality, Cohen has spent a significant portion of his life working as an attack dog for Trump and threatening people who published unflattering information about him in public. In fact, he built up a reputation for himself as someone who was fiercely loyal to Trump. By many accounts, he is also a thuggish and vulgar brute who has no qualms about doing things like threatening reporters. Case in point: The time he told a journalist to “tread very f*cking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f*cking disgusting”. With audio recordings like that hanging around the internet, how could anyone doubt this man’s sincerity?

When the tape of that conversation leaked, Cohen apologized and said he was “simply trying to protect somebody” he cared about. That “somebody” was of course Trump – the man he would later set up a “truth fund” to dish the dirt on. Cohen is also on record in that conversation as saying that, by definition, “you can’t rape your spouse” – in response to old allegations that Trump had raped his first wife.

Clearly it’s mere coincidence that Cohen’s decision to commit wholeheartedly to the truth coincided with his urgent need to shave a few years off what could have been a heftier sentence without his ability to point Special Counsel Robert Mueller toward a few of the skeletons in Trump’s closet.

But Cohen is not the only one cashing in on the Russiagaters’ hatred of Trump. Opponents of the president have managed to rack up nearly $2 million for legal fees on GoFundMe already.

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was fired earlier this month for exchanging anti-Trump texts with his colleague and girlfriend Lisa Page while they were part of an ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign, has also been busy crowdfunding since his dismissal. An account called “Friends Of Special Agent Peter Strzok” set up a GoFundMe to “support a man who has dedicated his life to defending America.” Strzok has already received more than $460,000 in donations – of a goal of half a million.

Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, another Trump foe, fired for unauthorized leaks to the media, as well as lying under oath, has also been at it – though perhaps he has a slightly more legitimate or understandable reason. Trump has accused McCabe of conspiring with former FBI Director James Comey to begin an investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Seemingly out of spite, Trump fired him 48 hours before his retirement day when he would become eligible for his pension. McCabe set a goal of $150,000 on GoFundMe to cover his legal costs, but has received donations of more than half a million. He has promised to only use the money for legal costs, to donate the rest to charity and has since shut down the page.

Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claims she had a relationship with Trump and was threatened to keep silent about it, has also racked up more than half a million dollars in donations to help fund a lawsuit aiming to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she had previously signed with Cohen.

READ MORE: All the President’s vermin: With Michael Cohen as personal attorney, Donald Trump needs no enemies

So why are people so willing to donate to such an assortment of liars, criminals, grifters and undesirables? One lawyer, Dan Backer, told Circa, that many of the donors simply don’t care what crimes someone like Cohen has committed, because it’s not really about him. It’s about a burning hatred of Trump.

People aren't giving money because they think they're innocent,” Backer said. “They're giving money because they hate the president and they feel some connection between giving money and causing him pain.

It’s hard to tell which is more pathetic; giving Cohen money because you think he’s a reformed character who cares about exposing truth – or giving him your money, knowing full well he’s a white collar criminal and a con man, just because you think it might annoy Trump? If they waited a few weeks, Cohen will no doubt have signed a lucrative six-figure book deal in furtherance of his deep commitment to truth and justice. Perhaps when that happens, he’ll refund his generous donors?

Or, as one man asked by CNN what he thought of Trump foes’ fundraising initiatives said: “They’re all dirty. They’ve all been grabbing the money and now they just wanna grab mine.”

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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