Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time

Grind for December 11th, 2018
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
– Maya Angelou

A Punishment To Fit The Crime

The Headline

US considers pulling support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen

The Grind

Lawmakers this week will vote on a proposal to limit US support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-allied Houthi militants in Yemen.

The proposal, sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), is intended to punish Riyadh for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Senate is also considering a second proposal introduced by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to suspend weapons sales to the kingdom and to sanction those who block humanitarian access in Yemen.

A third proposal with broad bipartisan support would condemn the killing of Khashoggi and pin the crime on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Background

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd. In mid-November, the CIA determined that he was killed on orders from Prince Mohammed.

President Trump has pushed back against these findings over concerns the incident could harm relations between the US and Saudi Arabia.

Other than sanctioning a handful of Saudi officials, Trump has refused to punish Riyadh for Khashoggi’s death. He has also refused to cancel lucrative military contracts with the kingdom.

Now, Administration officials are trying to convince lawmakers that pulling out of Yemen would only prolong the war and interrupt efforts to contain Iran.

“Empowering Iran is not the right way to punish the crown prince,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Trump has also suggested that punishing Saudi Arabia would lead to higher oil prices in the US.


The Headline

Despite his assistance in the Russia investigation, prosecutors recommend prison time for Michael Cohen

The Grind

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday said that President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has been a big help in his Russia investigation.

Cohen has provided ample information about his contacts with White House officials and Russian interests – including a juicy conversation with a Russian official who proposed a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Such a meeting could help “not only in political but in a business dimension,” said the Russian official (according to Cohen), adding that there is no bigger warranty in the world than Putin’s consent.

The Details

Cohen is cooperating with Mueller as part of a deal following his guilty pleas to crimes including campaign-finance violations and tax fraud. Last month, he admitted to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during Trump’s presidential campaign.

Last week, Cohen’s lawyers said there was no need to impose prison time on their client – citing his age (52) and his cooperation with authorities.

This week, the Manhattan prosecutors who brought the majority of the charges against Cohen recommended he receive a sentence of four years despite his help in the Russia investigation. The recommendation is based on the severity of his crimes and his shortcomings in discussions with law enforcement.

Cohen is set to receive his final sentence on December 12th.

Did you know… When pirate Jean Lafitte saw the governor advertising a $500 reward for his capture, Lafitte offered $5,000 for the capture of the governor.