But the president said his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, should have known how to effect the payments legally.
Regardless, the president told Reuters’ Jeff Mason, there was no crime. But if there were, he said, it was only civil. But even then, the president backtracked, there was no legal violation.
“Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution,” Trump told Mason. “If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?”
Trump is wrong.
The hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, just before the November 2016 election, and to at least one but possibly several other women, are considered illegal campaign contributions.
If a court were to find Trump made the payments knowingly to improve his chances of winning the election, that’s a felony. So said federal prosecutors in a court related filing in the Michael Cohen case just last week.
In that same Tuesday evening interview Mason says Trump told him, “he is not concerned about getting impeached. ‘It’s hard to impeach somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country,’ he said.”
The Constitution provides for impeaching presidents who have committed high crimes and misdemeanors. A felony would be covered under “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
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WATCH: Trump Admits He Talked to Ukraine President About Joe Biden and His Son
President Donald Trump Sunday morning admitted he brought up Joe Biden and the former Vice President’s son Hunter Biden while speaking with the President of Ukraine.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption,” Trump said, speaking to reporters from the White House lawn.
BREAKING: President Trump admits that he talked to the Ukrainian president about former Vice President Biden. #MTP #IfItsSunday@kristenwelker: "From the president's perspective, the only way to put this story to bed is to release the transcript." pic.twitter.com/aaJ6DjMN0E
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 22, 2019
Based on multiple news reports, legal experts say, Trump’s actions could easily be criminal and impeachable.
Trump Urged Ukraine President ‘About Eight Times’ to Work With Giuliani to Get Dirt on Biden’s Son: WSJ
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Donald Trump “repeatedly pressured” the president of Ukraine to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to get dirt on the son of his top political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
In a July phone call Trump urged President Volodymyr Zelensky “about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani,” the Wall Street Journal says.
But the Journal’s reporting in the second paragraph offers details that appear to minimize what experts have been suggesting actually happened. The Journal’s report also does not name sources or even suggest if they are White House or intelligence community officials.
“Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of foreign aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on an investigation,” the Journal says.
That would lessen the magnitude of the allegations against President Trump, although they would still be impeachable offenses.
The Trump team has become expert at controlling the national conversation and forging a narrative that bends most elements of truth, then getting the conservative base to believe them.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Nadler: Impeachment ‘a Long Ways off,’ Promises New Document Requests
In the wake of Michael Cohen’s bombshell public testimony, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says he thinks President Trump obstructed justice, and is putting the wheels into motion, issuing document requests from over 60 different people and organizations tomorrow.
Nadler was appearing on ABC’s This Week when he discussed his plans.
“Do you think the president obstructed justice?” asked show host George Stephanopoulos.
“Yes, I do,” said Nadler.
Nadler is going to begin a series of document requests on Monday, seeking further information into actions by President Trump to halt investigations into his wrongdoing both during his campaign and during his presidency.
“Tomorrow, we will be issuing document requests to over 60 different people and individuals from the White House to the Department of Justice, Donald Trump, Jr., Allen Weisselberg, to begin the investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power,” said Nadler.
Nadler, however, is not yet talking impeachment, telling Stephanopoulos that that is, “a long way down the road” yet.
“We don’t have the facts yet. But we’re going to initiate proper investigations,” said Nadler
“The Republicans spent two years shielding the president from any proper accountability,” said Nadler. “They threatened to impeach people in Justice Department, they threatened the Mueller investigation. It’s our job to protect the rule of law. That’s our core function. And to do that we are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption and into obstruction of justice.”
Nevertheless, Nadler was clear on the impact of the Cohen hearings.
“What we learned from the Cohen testimony is that he directly implicated the president in — in various crimes, both while seeking the office of president and while in the White House,” said Nadler.
Michael Cohen, the President’s former lawyer and self-proclaimed “fixer” spoke to Congress last week, but in private and public, calling President Trump a racist, a con man, and a cheat.
BREAKING: @GStephanopoulos: "Do you think the president obstructed justice?"
— ABC News (@ABC) March 3, 2019
Image via screen capture from video source.
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