Did Trump Violate Campaign Finance Laws? - Volokh Conspiracy

Michael Cohen apologized for covering up the “dirty deeds” of US President Donald Trump
Michael Cohen apologized for covering up the “dirty deeds” of US President Donald Trump
Author

15 December, 2018

"Very simply, Michael Cohen is lying, and he is trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me", the president said.

Earlier this year, Cohen said he arranged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, left, and Karen McDougal, former Playboy playmate of the year, who have both claimed they had sexual encounters with Trump.

Cohen, who also pleaded to tax evasion and lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Organization building in Moscow, in court on Wednesday said his "blind loyalty" led him to cover up for Trump.

Addressing a judge, a sobbing Cohen said: 'Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying. Only if Trump is truly taken down by the law - as of yet an unlikely eventuality - could Cohen hope to become the unifying hero he aspires to be.

Michael Cohen, the man who said he would take a bullet for President Donald Trump, has flipped in a big way in order to make America great again.

Trump has insisted he only found out about the payments after they were made, despite the release of a September 2016 recorded conversation in which Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing a deal to pay McDougal for her story of a 2006 affair.

Cohen pleaded guilty in NY in August, saying that "Individual-1" (widely identified as Trump) schemed to silence two women about affairs with the Republican candidate before the 2016 election.

The reason for the exemption is that Cohen has assisted federal prosecutors as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump had originally denied any knowledge of the payments, but later changed his tune, arguing that the payments weren't campaign contributions and therefore weren't illegal.

Hours later, Trump has finally chimed in about the sentencing on Twitter, and is making even less sense than usual.

"I don't think there's anybody that believes that", Cohen told ABC News of Trump's denials.

U.S. Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley dismissed Cohen's interview, when asked by reporters Friday at the White House.

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"I followed a bad path and hence how we started this conversation", he said.

"I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen I deeply admired", Cohen said.

During the interview Cohen was reluctant to speak of the Mueller investigation, saying that he doesn't want to jeopardize the probe, but he did give quite an interesting, yet brief answer when asked about Trump's comments regarding his entanglements with Russian Federation. The president added, "He made a deal in order to embarrass me".

"Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election", prosecutors said.

Trump acknowledges the Daniels payment for the first time, tweeting: "Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA".

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress this week have repeatedly sought to dismiss as trivial allegations that Trump directed hush money payments to women in potential violation of the nation's campaign-finance laws.

"I knew what I was doing was wrong", Cohen told ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

It's multiple witnesses-and the opinion of the court-against Trump on this one.

Mr Trump had called for a tough sentence for Cohen, whom he labelled a liar.

DOJ's guidance states: 'The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions'. But if he had a dual goal to influence the campaign, that could be a real issue.

It's unclear what federal prosecutors in NY will decide to do if they conclude that there is evidence that Trump himself committed a crime.


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