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Trump Plausibly Pleads Ignorance in His Latest Defense Against Criminal Charges for Campaign Finance Violations

Even if hush payments to his alleged mistresses amounted to illegal campaign contributions, the president says, he did not know that at the time.

Bryan Smith / Zuma Press / NewscomBryan Smith / Zuma Press / NewscomToday Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, got the "substantial prison term" that federal prosecutors sought as punishment for various crimes to which he admitted, including violations of federal campaign finance law in the form of hush payments to women who claimed to have had sexual relationships with his client. "As a lawyer," U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III observed while sentencing Cohen to three years in federal prison, "Mr. Cohen should have known better."

Donald Trump is no lawyer, of course, and ignorance seems like his best defense against the charge that he "knowingly and willfully" violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (as required for a criminal conviction under that law) by directing Cohen to make those payments. The president tried out that defense on Twitter this week, saying that even if the payments amounted to illegal campaign contributions, "it is only a CIVIL CASE." He added that if "it was done correctly by a lawyer" (i.e., Cohen), "there would not even be a fine."

That may seem like the usual Trumpian blame shifting, but it is plausible that Trump, to the extent that he considered the matter at all, trusted his lawyer to handle the hush payments in a nonfelonious manner. It would not be surprising if it never occurred to Trump that paying off Stormy Daniels and arranging to have The National Enquirer pay off Karen McDougal could be construed as, respectively, an excessive campaign contribution by Cohen and an illegal corporate contribution by AMI, the tabloid's publisher. Trump surely wanted to keep the payoffs quiet, but that does not mean he knew they were illegal.

In another tweet on Monday, Trump described the $130,000 payment to Daniels (and maybe also the $125,000 payment to McDougal) as "a private transaction," implying that his motive was personal (avoiding embarrassment to himself and his wife) rather than political (winning the presidential election). Cohen, by contrast, said he arranged the payments at Trump's direction "for the principal purpose of influencing the election." And in its press release announcing Cohen's sentence, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York also confirmed that it had reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI in which the company admitted that it paid McDougal "in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign" to "ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election." AMI said "its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election."

It is possible that 1) Cohen and AMI both simply said what they thought prosecutors wanted to hear, 2) their understanding of the payments' purpose was different from Trump's, or 3) Trump's motives were both personal and political. Even assuming that the payoffs helped Trump win the election, they would still count as personal rather than campaign expenditures if they would have happened regardless of whether he was running for president. "At a minimum," former Federal Election Commission Chairman Brad Smith observed in a Reason essay after Cohen's guilty plea last August, "it is unclear whether paying blackmail to a mistress is 'for the purpose of influencing an election,' and so must be paid with campaign funds, or a 'personal use,' and so prohibited from being paid with campaign funds."

Trump's second defense is less plausible than the first, since it seems that silencing Daniels and McDougal took on a new urgency in light of the election. Still, proving that the payments would not have been made in the alternate universe where Donald Trump did not run for president, like proving that he understood the intricacies of campaign finance law, would be a tall order.

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  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    We're getting into dangerously expansive interpretation of campaign finance laws here. Anything to take down Orange Hitler, amirite?

  • John||

    Very dangerous. But Reason thinks extremism in the pursuit of Trump is no vice.

    There is a famous 1941 Harper's article called "Who Goes Nazi" that is still relevent to this day. In it, the author describes variou partygoers and who would and would not go Nazi. The reason staff is similar to both Mr. B and Mr. C in many ways.

    Mr. B has risen beyond his real abilities by virtue of health, good looks, and being a good mixer. He married for money and he has done lots of other things for money. His code is not his own; it is that of his class—no worse, no better, He fits easily into whatever pattern is successful. That is his sole measure of value—success. Nazism as a minority movement would not attract him. As a movement likely to attain power, it would.

  • Quixote||

    Ignorance is certainly a defense in the case of such a respectable man as our national leader. But let no one be misled by this recognition: such ignorance is by no means any sort of defense for any of you Internet scoundrels, particularly in the matter of so-called "free speech" rights. Higher courts will modify the existing rules and create new limitations on these "rights" whenever they need to protect certain interests, as illustrated by our nation's leading criminal "satire" case, where a new limitation was laid down to support the reputation of some of our most distinguished university officials here at New York University. See the documentation at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • buybuydandavis||

    Mr. B loves him some cocktail parties.

    Moldbug was right. The Left is simply the cabal of power.

  • John||

    The saturnine man over there talking with a lovely French emigree is already a Nazi. Mr. C is a brilliant and embittered intellectual. He was a poor white-trash Southern boy, a scholarship student at two universities where he took all the scholastic honors but was never invited to join a fraternity. His brilliant gifts won for him successively government positions, partnership in a prominent law firm, and eventually a highly paid job as a Wall Street adviser. He has always moved among important people and always been socially on the periphery. His colleagues have admired his brains and exploited them, but they have seldom invited him—or his wife—to dinner.

    He is a snob, loathing his own snobbery. He despises the men about him—he despises, for instance, Mr. B—because he knows that what he has had to achieve by relentless work men like B have won by knowing the right people. But his contempt is inextricably mingled with envy. Even more than he hates the class into which he has insecurely risen, does he hate the people from whom he came. He hates his mother and his father for being his parents. He loathes everything that reminds him of his origins and his humiliations. He is bitterly anti-Semitic because the social insecurity of the Jews reminds him of his own psychological insecurity.

    Substitute "working class American" for Jews and you describe nearly all of the elite media.

  • perlchpr||

    Holy shit, it's the Hicklib.

  • John||

    If Hicklib were not dumb as a post, it absolutely is.

  • Tony||

    Eat shit John. Do you have any hair left after setting it on fire so many times over Hillary's emails?

  • John||

    Good to know this struck a never. And yes tony, you would totally go Nazi and anyone who reads your derranged comments for more than ten seconds can see that.

  • Tony||

    Reads like a bunch of psychobabble to me.

  • John||

    It is universally considered one of the best magazine pieces of the 20th Century. It just hits too close to home for you to appreciate it.

  • Tony||

    The second guy actually does remind me vaguely of myself until it gets to the "...and then he started hating all the Jews, obviously." Just don't get the leap there.

  • John||

    The Jews are just a stand in for whatever the designated other is. Your vicious hatred for Republicans and anyone outside of the Prog hive is no different than that guy's hatred for Jews. You literally would cheer people being shoved in ovens if you ever get the chance.

  • Tony||

    I'm as surprised by how uniformly contemptible Republicans have become as anyone. I consider it a strange historical anomaly.

    But not that strange--cults happen all the time and are easy to recognize by their uniformity of thought and inevitable corruption. It's just rare that a major political party of the world's only superpower becomes a cult.

    Now name a good Democrat, you fucking hypocrite.

  • John||

    No Democrat deserves to be put in an oven. It is amazing that you are so stupid that you think screaming about how evil Republicans are is an appropriate response to the charge that you want to murder them. Thanks for once again proving my point.

    You are a sick and sad person Tony.

  • Palatki||

    John F. Kennedy, Bruce Babbitt, Mo and Stu Udall, Al Dershowitz, Adlai Stevenson, Martin Luther King (oops, i forgot, he was a Republican). You're such a fucking asshole, Tony. You are truly Reason's very own retarded pet monkey, and we keep you around because you are always good for a laugh.

  • Tony||

    Whoever the fuck you are, I was talking to John, who, as you can see, could not name a good Democrat, thus demonstrating what a fucking hypocrite he is, as everyone who has spent any time here knows. He's so hypocritical and ridiculous it's pretty much free entertainment.

  • John||

    There is nothing wrong with any of the Democrats he named. And Tony you are a derranged asshole. All you have is your politics. It is your entire life and identity. If it wasn't so depraved, it would be sad.

  • Tony||

    For the record, MLK was not a Republican (or a Democrat). Jesus Christ, you people and your bullshit. It's an endless sea. We could fuel the planet on it if only you'd stop swimming in it. MLK on the 1964 Republican national convention:

    The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right.

    ...

    I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.

    He then went on to campaign for Johnson while being only ostensibly nonpartisan.

  • Presskh||

    I seem to remember a later famous Democrat, George Wallace.

  • DesigNate||

    I love that you keep repeating the lie of "OMG Emails", as if the problem was just her shooting off yoga class schedules from her gmail account.

  • Tony||

    Well, whatever you think the huge scandal was, she lost the presidency over it. And thank goodness. We wouldn't want a corrupt president.

  • JesseAz||

    Considering that Congress was using public funds to pay off women under NDAs as recently as last year... yes.

  • Incredulous||

    Yeah, it's seriously f'd up. Campaign finance laws are a gross violation of the First Amendment and a great tool for government to abuse power and destroy political opponents. It's insane.

    And I couldn't give a rat's ass about Trump.

  • Nardz||

    Orange Hitler won our final game to finish the season 8-6, tied for the division lead, but were taken down by the division record tiebreaker and will not be in the playoffs.
    Sad.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So is this the case for always electing a lawyer (Democrat) or never electing a lawyer (Republican)? Is it better to have a president who is adept at navigating and circumventing the law or a president who is clueless about the vagaries and nuances and shifting interpretations of the law?

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    Is this petty and vindictive clownshow better or worse than the eight years of Obama-fellating we were subjected to previously?

  • John||

    Worse. This is destroying the rule of law.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    So did the previous administrating, though. The list of abuses of power by Barry and Co that went unchallenged is extensive, as those of us here have discussed at length in the past.

  • John||

    Yes. I guess the difference is that they were destroying it by acting lawlessly. This is destroying it by arbitarily applying it to people in a ruthless and political manner. No rule of law is better than an arbitary rule of law.

  • BYODB||

    There is either rule of law, or there is no rule of law. I'm probably being pedantic though.

  • Teddy Pump||

    In 2008 & to a lesser extent 2012, Obummy's campaign website turned off the CVV credit card requirement & millions of dollars poured in from foreign donors, mostly from China....The FEC did ZIPPO!!!

  • Tony||

    The law seems to be working just fine. Criminals are being sent to prison. Republicans and their toadies can be criminals, John. They often are. Cohen admitted to it nine times over.

  • John||

    Yes Tony, you would think sending your political enemies to jail is a good thing. We already knew that.

  • Tony||

    You think I enjoy living under the most corrupt executive branch in US history?

    You are seriously sitting there arguing that all of these prosecutions and investigations are a hoax or a conspiracy. You are, objectively, a raving lunatic, and the only reason you don't know that is because you never crane your neck to look beyond the rightwing media shit swamp you get all of your thoughts from.

  • John||

    You think I enjoy living under the most corrupt executive branch in US history?

    You seemed pretty happy under Obama Tony. So yes I think you were.

  • Tony||

    Quite possibly the least corrupt administration since W.H. Harrison. Objectively. How many people from the Obama campaign, administration, or circle of influence went to prison?

    I know, it's a deep state libtard conspiracy! See how you can't possibly be wrong about anything? How nice and comforting that must be.

  • John||

    Not a simgeon of corruption, unless you count multiple cabinet members being found to have lied to Congress including the AG being held in contempt, the IRS and FBI having been used to attack political enemies, the Secretary of State puting US foreign policy up for sale, and the BATF sending guns to Mexican drug gangs.

    You are the dumbest person in the universe Tony.

  • Tony||

    Is there anything you believe that isn't a lie? Do you think your bed is on the ceiling?

  • John||

    All of that is true and known publicly. Go gaslight someone dumb enough to believe you.

  • Tony||

    Such an acute memory of the minor real and fabricated scandals of the Obama era, yet people all around Trump are going to prison and you don't seem to notice any of it.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    I have trouble believing this is not a parody account, at this point.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    So Tony, you're cool with Donald Trump having the authority too unilaterally order the assassination of American citizens worldwide, as established under the precedent set by the totally scandal-free and not remotely corrupt Obama?

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    What, specifically, did John say in this post that was a lie? Was Holder not held in contempt? Did Fast and Furious not happen? Uranium One? IRS employees not fired for proactively, with no direction from above, hobbling conservative political entities?

  • Tony||

    Republican nutfucks held Holder in contempt, yes. FF was a made-up scandal (just fucking look it up, please). Same goes for Uranium One (please, look it up, and avoid right-wing bullshit factories). IRS was a sop, also a made-up scandal. The biggest thing wrong here is Obama not telling idiot hack Republicans to fuck off enough.

    Now start paying attention to what's going on now and see how little those things look by comparison.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    John, that article you cited was terrific. But none of the personality types noted there really fit the modern, conspiracy-minded, persecution-complex-afflicted, right wingers who flock to this blog, and others like it. The article didn't help me place you.

    I have been following your commentary with interest, wondering how someone who occasionally shows nuanced insight (for instance, by citing that article) can also fall for the kind of paranoid, right-wing propaganda that would-be oligarchs churn out to mobilize mob support. I confess, you baffle me.

    Speculating, I would guess that you number yourself among the large cohort of grievance-ridden, low-status white males who have been getting the short end of the stick in the economy, and who have also suffered as unacknowledged (and too often reviled) victims of diversity policies. Have I got it right?

    If so, I suggest the nation is long overdue to correct those slights, and turn away from repeating them. But also, the nation is not yet done fixing the problems which called forth those horribly managed policies and practices in the first place. Which leaves the nation in a pickle.

    If you can't acknowledge that complexity—and maybe ease up on the paranoia—then perhaps I have it wrong about the nuanced insight.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Good God, John. Don't you understand that having nobody at all in your administration indicted isn't a sign that your administration is pristine, but instead that it has corrupted the DOJ?

  • Myshkin78||

    Wrong. Obama's nonsense was better than this undermining of America's position in the world.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Donald Trump is no lawyer, of course, and ignorance seems like his best defense

    But how would he ever prove that he is ignorant?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Ignorance was a good defense for Hillary, a lawyer.

    He wouldn't have to prove he was ignorant. It the prosecutions job to prove it was done knowingly. That's why perjury is hard to prove and people who know that will answer "I don't recall". You can't prove that they could recall.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    You might have missed the joke.

    Let me rephrase... Given the availability of all his tweets, how would the prosecution ever prove that he's not ignorant?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Ok, joke flew over my head.

    Good one.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    "When you google idiot you get a picture of my client, case closed!"

    - Trump's defense attorneys' opening statement.

    And seeing that average American will trust whatever Google tells them is true, who could convict?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Trump trying to keep an affair private is illicitly influencing an election.

    Making the Democrats campaign machinations public is illicitly trying to influence an election.

    Prosecutors have suggested both of notions can be true at the same time

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It goes along with getting information about your political opponent from Russia is unlawful. But if you're a dem and get information from the Russians via a Ex British spy it is ok.

  • Tony||

    If you don't know why these are different by now, you have deliberately not done very basic googling.

  • BYODB||

    Hillary Clinton, if held to the same standard as Trump, should have been impeached if she had won according to Tony. I wonder why he doesn't just come out and say that?

  • DesigNate||

    Because Tony is a fucking hack?

  • Tony||

    You people are insane. But good news! All you have to do is stop reading bullshit on the internet or watching FOX News, and you'll be cured. I have seen it happen.

  • BYODB||

    Shorter version is everyone just needs to stick to your narrow source list and then everyone can be on the same page!

    Sheesh, you are your own parody.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    "All you have to do is stop reading bullshit on the internet" - look, everybody, Tony wants us to stop reading his posts!

  • newshutz||

    The kind that uses all caps and bold throughout their posts.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""If you don't know why these are different by now, "'

    Information gather from russia to use as opposition research is either fair game, or it is not.

  • Tony||

    You don't even know what you're talking about beyond the surface talking points, do you? This bullshit got four Pinocchios!

    The Clinton campaign hired a research firm that hired a researcher who spoke to Russian sources. I'm sure we all agree this is perfectly fine. I'm sure.

    The Trump campaign was offered a "campaign contribution" in the form of (nonexistent) dirt on Hillary Clinton directly from Russian agents. The law against this is broad enough to make the Trump Tower meeting illegal.

    Now, maybe the latter shouldn't be illegal, but if you think that was OK, then you must think the Clinton thing was too. Here in the real world, Trump is a criminal and Clinton isn't.

  • Headache||

    I believe the law requires some kind of consideration (something of value) to have been exchanged.
    There was no consideration. Neither the Trump campaign or the Russian agent(so called) got anything of value.

  • Tony||

    We'll see, won't we? Or will a bad outcome for Trump automatically be an injustice, because of that magic (R) after his name?

  • WoodChipperBob||

    From your perspective, Tony, would a good outcome for Trump automatically be an injustice, because of that magic (R) after his name?

  • Tony||

    I have never called for the prosecution of Republicans without a solid case, in contrast with the Republican hillbilly voter base.

  • newshutz||

    Where have you called for prosecution of the Republican hillbilly voter base without a solid case?

    Isn't that RAK's routine? Are you really Carlos Mencia?

  • IceTrey||

    So what about all the Congressmen who used a secret slush fund of taxpayer money to pay off their hookers? A lot of people are going to jail it seems.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    When a lot of important people are going to jail, nobody is going to jail. That's the general rule. Trump is safe enough, because so few members of Congress could survive similar attention, and Trump is obnoxious enough to pull the temple down on top of himself if they take him down.

  • Ron||

    We should be grateful if Trump pulled the temple of politics down the country will survive and maybe get some honest people in there, he said while laughing

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Oh, I agree: I'd prefer Trump doing Samson in the Temple to his saving himself with the threat: I'd like to see all out, mutually assured destruction, a cascade of revenge that leaves the whole corrupt edifice in ruins.

    But, not gonna happen, because they can see that far ahead. The threat will suffice.

  • Ryan (formally HFTO)||

    NBC News - Incoming New York attorney general plans wide-ranging investigations of Trump and family

    I suggest Reason get off of this "both sides do bad things" cycle and get on the right side of history. It's pretty clear by now there's an unaccountable bureaucracy running the show, and the more you downplay and ignore it, the worse we'll all be.

    Enjoy the cocktails and hope they jail you last, or grow a pair and stand up for individual freedom.

  • DesigNate||

    That's dangerously close to saying there's a Deep State. Which I've been assured, by people who ostensibly don't trust the government as far as they can throw it, isn't really a thing and makes you a retarded hick for thinking it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Don't worry. Now that they banned Alex Jones from the universe, we're safe from such sedition.

  • cja||

    Good comment.
    Wish we had the like button back

  • Tony||

    Thought you were going in a different direction, but no.

    Sure, Trump and family are totally not corrupt at all. It's the mean prosecutors who are.

    Trump, model of virtue.

  • John||

    WAAAAAA

    Sometimes your misery and histronics really made my day Tony. Anyone that can't laugh at you has no heart.

  • Tony||

    It's not my favored politicians who are all in a legal shitstorm right now. Not my loins that need girding for what's to come.

  • John||

    Cohen isn't a politician dude.

  • Tony||

    He's not "what's to come" either. He's today's news.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.12.18 @ 5:16PM|#
    "He's not "what's to come" either. He's today's news."

    Poor Tony! Living in the same fantasy world for two years.

  • Sevo||

    I repeat:
    If this is a violation of campaign finance law, Pelosi's payments to her plastic surgeon put her in the same position.

  • Ron||

    heck even paying for a hair cut is a violation

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Just ask John Edwards.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Her plastic surgeon is covering up something much more sinister and ugly.

  • John||

    No one wants to look under that rock.

  • Tony||

    Classy, judging a woman pushing 80 on her looks.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I'm not sure how it's less classy than judging a 70 year old on his penis size.

  • Tony||

    What about if he brags about it on national TV first?

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Huh, I thought that was paid through a NIH grant studying the reanimation of dead tissue?

  • Palatki||

    it obviously didn't work.

  • markm23||

    Wait, are you saying Pelosi's face is _after_ plastic surgery?

  • Jerryskids||

    Trump Plausibly Pleads Ignorance in His Latest Defense Against Criminal Charges for Campaign Finance Violations

    I read skimmed the article twice, I still don't see where Trump pled ignorance. All I see is where you're suggesting that if he were smart he'd plead ignorance. But Trump seems to relish shooting himself in the foot every time he opens his mouth - get a prosecutor to ask him if he knew what he was doing and Trump would positively bristle at the idea that there's nothing he isn't the world's foremost expert on and the suggestion that he didn't know. Trump literally would not plead ignorance to save his life.

    I mean, half this shit would never have taken place if Trump had allowed Rosenstein to take the credit for firing Comey over the Hillary email shitshow but the fat-headed pig-ignorant self-centered little Mama's boy couldn't stand the press reporting that Trump was relying on Rosenstein's memo for guidance on the matter and had to jump right out there and start squawking "Me! Me! Me! It was all me! I done the thing all by myself and nobody had to help me! I'm a big boy, I can do all the things all by myself because I'm a very smart boy! I can even potty by myself! Most of the time!" All Trump had to do was say how much he admired and respected Comey and really wanted him to stay but his advisors told him otherwise and what could he do? But his ego would never allow him to do such a thing.

  • Tony||

    But you have to admit, taking on all the responsibility for a government shutdown was a genius move. Sorry, genius isn't the right word. Fucking retarded, yeah that's it.

  • John||

    Jerry I take back what I said this morning. You really are as dumb as Jeff.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Now if Trump were smart, he would keep his mouth shut. That was the advice handed to Bill Clinton in the 90s. He didn't heed it either and got impeached.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "I read skimmed the article twice, I still don't see where Trump pled ignorance"

    Reason writers lie. Who knew?

  • Generalissimo||

    If paying off hookers and strippers is wrong, I don't want to be right.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Shouldn't ENB be rushing to Trump's defense?

  • Egypt Steve||

    When Individual 1 pleads ignorance, it's pretty hard to argue against it.

  • Rockabilly||

    Ben & Jerry's #Resist

  • Ordinary Person||

    Pecker says he participated in a conspiracy with Trump. When Pecker, Cohen, and others testify that Trump knew exactly what they were doing then it's over. Trump would have to testify in his defense to give the jury a basis to believe this latest bullshit ignorance defense. If you gullible fucks remember before it was "I have no knowledge what so ever defense" from Trump. Now, it's ignorance. For fucks sake. These lies and prior inconsistent statements can and should all be used to discredit anything that liar says. MAYBE an insanity for Trump and the rest of you.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    You don't seem to understand what's going on here: If a prosecutor manages to coerce a guilty plea out of somebody, say by offering to not prosecute them for something unrelated, it spares them the need to prove anything. The guy pleading guilty just says he's guilty of X, and that's the end of it.

    But if he then uses the guilty plea to go after somebody he doesn't have leverage over, that somebody is perfectly entitled to raise all the defenses that the guy pleading guilty had been frightened out of using. Including challenging whether the conduct in question is even illegal.

    And that's even before getting into the dubious evidentiary value of a guilty plea by somebody charged with perjury.

  • Headache||

    Trump doesn't have to do anything. A candidate is allowed to use as much of his/her personal money as the candidate wants. A candidate is allowed to own and operate a business up to the point of being elected.

    It is all bullshit to keep the publics' eyes off of the Uranium One debacle. Rosenstein, Mueller, Holder, H. Clinton and possibly Obama all have dirty hands of payoffs and corruption in that deal.

    I guess under all the speculation of breaking campaign finance laws being applied toward Trump, puts Clinton in a real bind with all the millions given to one of her enterprises during the campaign.

  • Tony||

    Uranium One controversy

    Big enough to have a Wikipedia page, not scandalous enough to be real.

    No evidence of wrongdoing has been found after three years of allegations.

    Wikipedia, part of the deep state libtard conspiracy--I know.

  • Bubba Jones||

    So ... all Trump has to do is show he paid off a bimbo in a year he wasn't running for president?

    I would think hiring a lawyer would imply that you were seeking a legal solution.

    I recall Al Gore and a Buddhist monk. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02.....-cash.html

  • buybuydandavis||

    "including violations of federal campaign finance law in the form of hush payments to women who claimed to have had sexual relationships with his client. "

    I look forward to Congress being prosecuted for their sexual crimes hush money slush fund.

  • Kazinski||

    Over at the National Review Bradley Smith quotes the relevant election law more fully and the definition of "Personal Expense" it fully exonerates Trump.

    Trump doesn't have to plead ignorance, his understanding of the law is more true than the US Attorney's:

    "The law defines "personal use" as spending "used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate's election campaign."

    I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that Trump would want Stormy to keep her mouth shut irrespective of the campaign. Trump would have been in far more jeopardy if he had used campaign funds to pay off Stormy.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "1) Cohen, an attorney, will spend three years in prison, for what he KNOWS is a ... non-crime."

    No, he's going to spend three years in prison for the real crimes Mueller agreed to NOT charge him with in return for pleading that Trump is guilty of some BS offense.

    "4) A judge presided over a trial and sentencing for a .... non-crime"

    What trial, you moron? He pled guilty. You don't GET a trial if you plead guilty. Basically the judge just rubber stamps the plea agreement, and it would be unheard of for a judge to refrain from that rubber stamping on his own spontaneous judgement that the conduct pled guilty to isn't criminal.

  • TxJack 112||

    First, speaking to Russians after the campaign is not a crime. Transition teams speak to foreign leaders after ever election. Second, speaking to Russians before the election is not a crime since we are not at war with Russia. The 1st amendment guarantees each of us, freedom of association. Unless those conversations were about acts against the United States, they are not illegal. Third, impeachment is hard which it is supposed to be. The only two Presidents ever impeached were acquitted by the Senate. Clinton was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice AS President, and was still not convicted. It requires 66 (2/3) of the Senate for conviction. There is no way, there are 66 Senators who will vote for conviction since a majority of Republicans think the entire investigation is a witch hunt. 99% of your post is nothing but speculation and innuendo about what you think has happened, what you think will happen and a gross misunderstanding of the law. As for your inner team convictions, please.

  • Dooley Stetson||

    I want to make sure I understand the argument. We know that Trump committed a felony because the prosecutors said so?

  • Dooley Stetson||

    Repeating your argument doesn't make it more true. Putting it in boldface doesn't make it more true. Let me explain to you what your argument is, because you obviously don't understand it.

    What you're arguing is that because the prosecutors are under an obligation not to proffer something they do not believe to be true, and they did proffer it, it must be true. In other words, we know Trump committed a felony because the prosecutors said so.

    It's been some time since I practiced criminal defense law (earlier this week, to be precise), but I seem to recall that our legal system is a little more robust than accepting as true what a prosecutor asserts to be true.

  • Dooley Stetson||

    Judge Napolitano's argument, which you bought hook, line, and sinker. Sorry, but that's not the way the real world works. Only in the Michael Hihn Theater of Sock Puppetry.

  • Dooley Stetson||

    Called out as a liar by you. Considering the source, that's a badge of honor. You assert I'm a liar, you have the burden of proof.

    It is illuminating, though, that when I pointed out the flaw in your logic, you immediately dropped the argument, saying it was Judge Napalitano's (although you had been citing it as authority for your argument), then shifted to an ad hominem attack.

    Given the above, plus the fact that you are no longer trying to defend your indefensible position, I'm pleased you no longer believe that a prosecutor's assertion is conclusive proof of the matter asserted.

    You're welcome.

  • TxJack 112||

    Personal insults are the last defense of a weak and disorganized mind.

  • TxJack 112||

    The stupidity of this statement is amazing. So in your mind, every person ever charged with a crime actually committed a felony just because the prosecutors says they did? There is no possiblity the prosecutor is wrong or misrepresenting the facts for a conviction? No one who is charged could be innocent? Are you so blinded by hate that simple common sense is tossed away? Every one is innocent until PROVEN guilty. This is the US, not France. We are not required to prove we are innocent, the government is required to prove we are guilty

  • TxJack 112||

    Sorry but the crap Napolitano has been spewing lately makes me wonder if he has lost his mind or if he has always been a Never-Trumper. If you notice, he has been seen on Fox News, less and less the past few weeks.

  • TxJack 112||

    The payments were no illegal contributions because if they were then Bill Clinton would have been just as guilty. Cohen is a lowlife who was trying to save his skin and thought appeasing Mueller would get him 2 weeks in prison like Papadopoulos or no time like Flynn. The fact he got 3 years is hilarious because he got what he deserves. Of course the media is going nuts thinking this is the beginning of the end which it is not since what happened is not illegal. Just as Flynn talking to the Russians as part of the transition team was not illegal. If Mueller had anything on the President or his campaign in regard to Russian collusion, he would not be prosecuting people for process crimes or acts committed years before the campaign even began.

  • TxJack 112||

    Dude take a chill pill. Unless, Trump used campaign funds to make the payments it is not illegal. Cohen was also charged with a host of crimes totally unrelated to Trump so his guilty plea was an attempt to get a lighter sentence. It is not a felony to pay someone not to speak unless what you ask them to not disclose is an actual crime. As for the personal insults, GTFU

  • jerryg1018||

    The McCain-Feingold Bi-Partisan Campaign Finance law wasn't about keeping campaign finances clean, it was about incumbent politicians wanting to know who was financing their opponents campaigns. The law was also widely refereed to as the "Incumbent Protection Act." It had draconian reporting and penalties that took an army of lawyers schooled in campaign finance law to avoid.
    Former FEC Commissioner Hans Von Spakovsky debunked the argument that President Donald Trump broke campaign finance laws by paying women he allegedly had affairs with prior to becoming president.

  • dsquaredoutlet||

    the only way these criminals should be able to use these sentencing shortenings is that the bill MUST include a requirement that the criminal serve 5 times the remaining period of his earlier conviction if ARRESTED for another offense. these guidelines have only one purpose and that is to save the various government agencies money. if they want to save money take away TVs, gyms, health care and "nutritious" meals. Aspirins and bologna sandwiches and hard labor is all that is needed. That WILL stop recidivism quickly.
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