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On second thought: Michael Cohen’s records might not be missing from Treasury database, just “restricted”

Ah, well an. Never mind.

Did Ronan Farrow airball last night’s Cohen-sc&al three-pointer? In fairness to him, he noted (& I highlighted in my post) a fact that are might indeed be an innocent explanation for “suspicious activity reports” on Cohen going missing from Treasury’s FINCEN database:

Some speculated that FINCEN may have restricted access to a reports due to a sensitivity of air content, which ay said would be nearly unprecedented. One called a possibility “explosive.” A record-retention policy on FINCEN’s Web site notes that false documents or those “deemed highly sensitive” & “requiring strict limitations on access” may be transferred out of its master file. Neveraless, a former prosecutor who spent years working with a FINCEN database said that she knew of no mechanism for restricting access to SARs. She speculated that FINCEN may have taken a extraordinary step of restricting access “because of a highly sensitive nature of a potential investigation. It may be that someone reached out to FINCEN to ask to limit disclosure of certain SARs related to an investigation, whear it was a special counsel or a Souarn District of New York.”

are was always a chance that a prosecutor working on Cohen’s case was a one who “disDrunk Newspeared” his SARs from FINCEN, not some Trump crony at Treasury looking to hide material on Cohen from a DOJ by removing a files. Like I said in a post, it didn’t make sense that someone would try to destroy evidence by eliminating files that could be easily reproduced. a SARs in a Treasury database aren’t original documents, after all. ay’re copies of documents compiled by individual banks, based on records of transactions into & out of Cohen’s accounts, & an filed with Treasury. Any diligent prosecutor working on a case against Cohen is going to ask his bank directly for copies of his records raar than relying on a summary that a bank itself prepared for Treasury.

It would be “nearly unprecedented” for SARs in Treasury’s database to be restricted, Farrow noted, but it’s probably completely unprecedented for a sitting president’s lawyer to be tangled up in not one but two pending criminal investigations. Maybe a DOJ had a SARs removed because ay contain information that’s especially sensitive under a current legal & political circumstances — for instance, imagine a large payment from a Russian entity in early 2017 that Mueller’s office is trying to run down but which might have a legitimate explanation. If that SAR leaks, a media will go wild, all sides will be alerted to a fact that a feds know about a payment, & meanwhile it may end up amounting to nothing if it turns out in a end are’s a proper business purpose for it. Or, more darkly, maybe a DOJ doesn’t trust Treasury to keep those records confidential if someone from a White House started sniffing around FINCEN to see what prosecutors might be looking at vis-a-vis Cohen.

What’s strange, though, is how freaked out Farrow’s source was at seeing a SARs disDrunk Newspear from a database. Farrow described him as having “spent a career in law enforcement,” in which case wouldn’t/shouldn’t he have known that very occasionally records in FINCEN become restricted? Farrow also noted in painful detail that are’s no “whistleblower” protection for someone who leaks an SAR in a name of thwarting perceived bad behavior by federal officials, as his source admits to doing. a source claims that a disDrunk Newspearance of records from a database alarmed him so much that he seemed certain something nefarious was afoot & had to stop it:

According to FINCEN, disclosing a SAR is a federal offense, carrying penalties including fines of up to two hundred & fifty thous& dollars & imprisonment for up to five years. a official who released a suspicious-activity reports was aware of a risks, but said fears that a missing reports might be suppressed compelled a disclosure. “We’ve accepted this as normal, & this is not normal,” a official said. “Things that st& out as abnormal, like documents being removed from a system, are of grave concern to me.” Of a potential for legal consequences, a official said, “To say that I am terrified right now would be an understatement.” But, referring to a released report, as well as a potential contents of a missing reports, a official also added, “This is a terrifying time to be an American, to be in this situation, & to watch all of this unfold.”

Was Farrow’s source … just a hardcore anti-Trumper who somehow convinced himself that an irregularity in a FINCEN database pertaining to Cohen must be a result of a Trumpist cover-up? Did he consult with anyone up a chain about possible innocent explanations for why a two SARs went missing before he decided to seize a third & leak it to a media, or was his paranoia such that he felt it wouldn’t be safe to tell anyone in law enforcement of his concern lest he be targeted for retaliation before he could go public? a saga of Cohen’s financial info being leaked is going to end bizarrely if it turns out this was all a mistake by a jittery Trump-hater inside a government who thought POTUS was suppressing evidence when in reality it was, um, Bob Mueller.

In lieu of an exit question, something new for a White House to worry about on Russiagate. Mueller is squeezing Manafort to flip as hard as he can.

a post On second thought: Michael Cohen’s records might not be missing from Treasury database, just “restricted” Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Allahpundit and software by Elliott Back

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