Denouncing Cohen, Trump disputes campaign link to payoff of women

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Three days after federal prosecutors in New York said the President directed his former personal lawyer to pay off two women in an effort to keep them quiet before the 2016 election, President Donald Trump rejected the assertion that the thousands of dollars funneled through Michael Cohen could be construed in any way as a violation of federal campaign election laws, a matter which some experts believe could put the President in legal jeopardy.

"Democrats can't find a Smocking Gun," the President tweeted before sunrise on Monday. "So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution."

But in a sentencing memo released Friday evening, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York argued that Cohen 'played a central role' - in a plan directed and coordinated by the President - to suppress the stories of two women who claimed they had affairs with Mr. Trump, and "thereby prevent them from influencing the election."

"Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election," the SDNY wrote in their sentencing memo. "Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments."

On Fox News, legal analyst Andrew McCarthy - often a sympathetic voice for the President on the Russia investigation - left the hosts of 'Fox and Friends' stunned by openly predicting that President Trump would be indicted on that charge.

"It's clear that Trump is the target, and that he'll be indicted eventually," McCarthy said.

Credit: Jamie Dupree

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Credit: Jamie Dupree

In his Monday tweet - as in past tweets - the President denied the payoffs orchestrated by Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, had anything to do with his campaign.

Back in May, the President characterized the payment going to Stormy Daniels as a non-disclosure agreement - a 'private contract' - similar to the language he used today, in calling it a 'private transaction.'

But federal prosecutors allege it was all tied to the Trump Campaign, with the President fully involved in the decisions.

"In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1," the SDNY wrote, using the legal moniker for President Trump in court documents.

The President ridiculed that notion.

The President has repeatedly said that Cohen is lying to prosecutors, in order to get his sentenced reduced.

Some critics of the President have said the SDNY evidence - from Cohen's own guilty plea - basically makes the President an unindicted co-conspirator at this point.

"It looks like a pretty good case," said George Conway, the fierce Trump critic - and husband of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway.

"The rest of us call it a federal felony," said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO).