Truth Check out: Trump’s Misguided Protection Of Cohen Payments


Enlarge this imagePresident Trump speaks to the media on Tuesday in Charleston, W.Va., shortly just after the responsible plea of his previous law firm Michael Cohen on campaign finance violations, amongst other costs, along with the guilty verdict in opposition to previous marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort.Alex Brandon/APhide captiontoggle captionAlex Brandon/APPresident Trump speaks to your media on Tuesday in Charleston, W.Va., soon just after the responsible plea of his previous lawyer Michael Cohen on marketing campaign finance violations, among other expenses, along with the guilty verdict in opposition to former marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort.Alex Brandon/APUpdated at 12:24 p.m. ET Fox & Friends was the natural venue for President Trump to strike back from Michael Cohen. The former self-described "fixer" for Trump had said under oath, before a federal judge, that he and Trump had violated the marketing campaign finance law together. The problem was the hush payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn actre s Stormy Daniels. During the marketing campaign, each had taken a six-figure payment that kept their claimed affairs with Trump out of the public eye. Where did those payments come from? "They didn't come out of the marketing campaign," Trump told Fox anchor Ainsley Earhardt. "In reality, my first question when I heard about it was 'Did they come out of the campaign,' because that could be a little dicey. And they didn't come out of the campaign." Later on I knew. Later on."On @foxandfriends, @POTUS said that "later on" he knew that previous attorney Michael https://www.chiefsside.com/Kansas-City-Chiefs/Demarcus-Robinson-Jersey Cohen made hush-money payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, and insisted the money did not come from marketing campaign funds. pic.twitter.com/nChRG2VhVl Fox News (@FoxNews) August 23, 2018 Trump was making the wrong argument. Like many of us, he seemed to misunderstand the relevant provision of campaign finance law. In fact, the president might be better off if his marketing campaign had supplied the hush money.Here are five questions (and answers) about President Trump as well as legal problems with those hush payments.Politics A Day Soon after Cohen Responsible Plea, Trump Contradicts His Former Personal Attorney 1. What exactly did Cohen plead to? He violated a law that basically says marketing campaign expenses must be paid with regulated, disclosed contributions. First, Cohen arranged for a friendly tabloid publisher to give McDougal a $150,000 contract for her story (not that it would publish it). Then, he set up a shell company to pay Daniels $130,000. The pre sure was on. Daniels got her money le s than two weeks before Election Day. In court, Cohen said he did all of this at Trump's direction. He was later reimbursed and generously compensated by the Trump Organization. 2. What makes these payments illegal? It's not complicated. The publisher's contract amounted to a corporate marketing campaign contribution, but corporations cannot contribute to campaigns. Cohen's payment to Daniels amounts to a personal contribution from him on the campaign. But it was for $130,000; the legal limit is $2,700.Politics Responsible: 6 Takeaways From Manafort's And Cohen's Big Day 3. Does this argument hold up? Prosecutors seem to have checked all the boxes. It's a reversal from 2012, when the Department of Justice deployed the statute in the high-profile trial of previous Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. Two of his campaign's wealthiest backers supplied money to support his https://www.chiefsside.com/Kansas-City-Chiefs/Cairo-Santos-Jersey mistre s and their child. The DOJ alleged that the money helped support his presidential bid by keeping them out of the spotlight. Edwards argued he was trying to hide them from his wife, not the voters. But in the Cohen case, the intent is clear. "These payments were being made to stop Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal from going public and hurting the campaign right before the election," said Larry Noble, a previous general counsel into the Federal Election Commi sion. "That was the purpose. That's what makes the money spent a campaign contribution." 4. Is Trump really culpable? This is the clincher. Cohen said Trump told him to do it. There could have been an Edwards-style defense, that Trump needed to shield his wife, Melania Trump, and his children from embarra sment. But Cohen told the judge he arranged both contributions, at Trump's direction, "for the principal purpose of influencing the election." Trump said on Wednesday that he found out about the payments "later on," but Cohen earlier produced a recording where he's apparently discu sing the payment to McDougal ahead of time. Law profe sor Rick Hasen, who specializes in campaign finance law, said the Justice Department may have wanted to make the case public now "so people could evaluate it, for whatever it's worth, in deciding Steven Nelson Jersey how to vote in the next election."Law Donald Trump's Attorney And Fixer Michael Cohen Pleads Responsible To 8 Federal Counts 5. Could Team Trump have handled this legally? Campaign finance reports are rife with vague disclosures of expenditures. The marketing campaign probably could have tucked the hush money into a disbursement marked "legal fees," and no one would have noticed. Or Trump could have just paid those bills himself. A candidate can spend without limit on their own marketing campaign, although it still must be disclosed. One other thing: ObamaAs Trump often does, he defended himself by attacking following Cohen's appearance. Trump tweeted: "Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big marketing campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!" Here's the story behind the tweet. In 2012, the Federal Election Commi sion audited President Barack Obama's 2008 marketing campaign committee and i sued fines totaling $375,000. That's a substantial fine for the FEC, but not record-setting. The violations included delays in refunding contributions that exceeded the legal limit, and incorrect date stamps on contributions transferred between committees.

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