Did Trump Commit Any Crimes When Paying Out Hush Money?
We have all heard from the left by now, the hush money paid out to Stormy Daniels and others by Trump’s attorney is the final nail in his coffin, but is it, is there a specific law that prohibits this, and if the left is claiming campaign law was broken, what law accurately deals with paying your personal money to hush someone up?
While there may be a case if a crime is committed, and the hush money is to protect the person from having the opposing party speak with prosecutors, but this was never that type of agreement, what you have here is this:
Here’s what we know based on what’s in the news, though I acknowledge these leaks may not be reliable. Part of Cohen’s job was to make sure Trump’s past affairs didn’t come to light, and he paid Cohen a monthly retainer. Daniels approached Cohen with an offer to “sell” exclusive rights to her “story” about the affair with Trump.
In other words, she would agree to keep it quiet until Trump chooses to exercise his right to exploit the story commercially with a film or a book (meaning never). Cohen used a personal home equity line of credit to raise the money to pay Daniels and then transferred it to a corporation which passed it on to her and her attorney.
This is not breaking the law; companies do this all the time, allows them to control the flow of information is going out, also to see if any marketing of the events can be used by them, other times it is just done to hush up something that is not convenient to them.
The other question is if this violates the $5,700 limit to donating money to a campaign fund, but the candidate is exempt from this, there is no limit to what they can contribute, so if Cohen paid the money, then billed Trump for this, there is no crime. Nor is there a crime on Trump’s part even if he paid out the money, did not report it, that would be on Cohen, the only way this could come back on Trump, and it is a minor violation, is if the court could prove that Trump directed Cohen to pay out the money, and there is a record of him telling him not to report it and claim it is a campaign donation.
One of the best authorities on this is the Harvard Law professor; he states there are no impeachable offenses against Trump:
Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz weighs in on the potential legal fallout over the president’s former attorney striking a plea deal on campaign finance violations, in an appearance on Wednesday morning’s ‘FOX & Friends.’
“The death knell that they sound on cable television sounds a little bit exaggerated. There are many, many steps that have to be taken before the president is in legal jeopardy,” Dershowitz said. “First of all, you have to show that it is a crime.”
“If Mr. Trump the candidate contributed several hundred thousand dollars to his campaign to pay hush money to women who were either truthfully or falsely alleging against him, that is not a crime. The candidate can contribute as much as he wants. If he directed somebody to do it, intending to pay it back, that is probably not a crime.”
“The election laws are a morass of misdemeanors, felonies, crimes, non-crimes, with exceptions, so you have to get over the legal barrier first” also said. “Then you have to get over the credibility barrier. The only evidence that the president did anything that might be unlawful even arguably comes from a man who has admitted to being a liar had a lawyer-client privilege with the president, there are a lot of barriers to what Cohen said yesterday in court. Remember, there has been no indictment, grand jury, only a statement, an elocution, by a man who has admitted to criminal conduct. So we are far away fro impeachable offense or a criminal offense against the president.”
“I think if you read my book, The Case Against Impeaching Trump, I think it makes a very persuasive case that you can’t impeach on the basis of minor derelictions or even crimes. You need a high crime and misdemeanor. Every campaign has violated some technical election law.”
“The Democrats are going to run on ‘Give us the House, and we’ll impeach the president.’ That’s what happened when President Clinton was impeached, and it ended up being a disaster for the Republicans because the Senate refused to remove him,” he added. “I think impeachment will be an issue, but… at least according to my research… the president has not up to now committed any impeachable offenses.”
About Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels who is leading the charge to prosecute Michael Cohen and depose President Trump (who host Brian Kilmeade intelligently refers to as the “antithesis” of Dershowitz), he said: “It will never happen.”
“Almost all of Avenatti’s predictions have not come true,” Dershowitz said. “He has also said the president would resign.”
“The case of Stormy Daniels is a nothing case, I don’t even know why it is still in court… It seems to be in court because Avenatti wants it to be in court, I don’t see how it benefits Stormy Daniels. It is not a case that is going anywhere. Neither Avenatti or Stormy Daniels will have any real impact on this matter, it is a sideshow that is only there because the media is putting oil on the flames.”
As Dershowitz states, “This is just a big nothing burger!”
I leave this with an explanation from another attorney that knows this subject well, Mark Levin.