FACT CHECK: Trump's Misguided Defense Of Cohen Payments

by Dwayne Torres August 25, 2018, 2:29
FACT CHECK: Trump's Misguided Defense Of Cohen Payments

Despite Trump's defiant tone on his own legal woes, Washington-based campaign finance expert Kate Belinski, of the Nossaman law firm, said to expect legal consequences for both Trump and his campaign - most likely in the form of a civil complaint before the Federal Election Commission.

"I don't think exercise of an explicit constitutional power can be part of any obstruction case - even if the reason for it is illicit or in other people's judgment wrong", said one Washington defense lawyer with experience with White House ethics cases.

"Campaign violations are considered not a big deal, frankly", he said.

"Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place", Wright said.

Asked if he knew about the payments, Mr Trump responded that "later on I knew. later on".

Cohen, who once said that he would take a bullet for Trump, has now flipped and claims that Trump directed him to "commit a crime" by ordering the payment.

But there is nearly no chance at present that lawmakers will pursue impeachment because both houses of Congress are in the hands of Trump's Republican party, which with few exceptions remains loyal to the president.

He violated a law that basically says campaign expenses must be paid with regulated, disclosed contributions.

Sol Wisenberg, who conducted grand jury questioning of former President Bill Clinton during Whitewater, told the Associated Press that Cohen's deal was "obviously" bad for Trump, but he assumed Trump won't "be indicted because he's a sitting president".

Cohen's extraordinary account marks the first time that any Trump associate has gone into open court and implicated Trump himself in a crime, though whether - or when - a president can be prosecuted remains a matter of legal dispute.

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Weisselberg, an intensely private, loyal numbers-man for Trump, was mentioned on an audiotape that Cohen's lawyer released in July of Cohen talking with Trump about paying for Playboy model Karen McDougal's silence in the months leading up to the election. Mueller "has investigated and charged four figures from the Trump campaign - Manafort, Gates, Flynn, and Papadopoulos - and not charged any with crimes involving collusion appears to be significant", argues Byron York, "If there were in fact a Trump-Russia collusion scheme, they would likely have been involved".

"I don't know how you can impeach somebody who's done a great job", he added.

"Where there's smoke, and there's a lot of smoke, there may well be fire", Cole told The New York Times.

Fox & Friends was the natural venue for President Trump to strike back against Michael Cohen.

Mr Trump has rarely spoken about the prospect of being impeached.

When then-FBI Director James Comey met with Trump early in the administration, he said the president asked him if he wanted to stay in his role and declared: "I need loyalty".

Mr Trump and the White House have previously denied knowing about any of the payments organised by Mr Cohen.

If U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen ends up speaking with special counsel Robert Mueller, he may have some information that would be pertinent to his investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It's not about credibility.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight criminal charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. But in various interviews, Trump and his aides have suggested that the US President is effectively above the law and any integrity issues will be decided in the electoral court of the people.

Manafort faces separate charges in September in the District of Columbia that include acting as a foreign agent.

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