The Truth About Michael Cohen’s Payments

President Trump is fighting back against claims that hush money payments to his alleged mistresses before the 2016 election amounted to campaign contributions, arguing they’re a “simple private transaction.”

In October 2016, porn star Stormy Daniels received $130,000 to deny she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Trump’s legal team paid Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal $150,000 for signing a non-disclosure agreement around the same time. (Fox News)

“So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,” Trump tweeted.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, recently admitted in a plea deal to violating federal campaign finance laws by arranging payments to Daniels and McDougal on Trump’s behalf, according to the plea. Prosecutors on Friday released a sentencing memo calling for Cohen to a “substantial term of imprisonment” for the president’s former fixer.

Trump further attacked his besieged former lawyer, saying that Cohen, and only Cohen, were liable if he made a mistake.

High-profile legal experts remain unimpressed with prosecutors’ charges of campaign finance violations as outlined in Cohen’s sentencing memo.

Dan Backer, a lawyer from Alexandria, Virginia, told Forbes there’s no evidence linking Trump to any impropriety.

Backer, a veteran campaign counsel, said it is common practice for high-profile individuals and companies to take part in these kinds of payment arrangements. He said Trump is a brand, he has carried out similar payments for years and these so-called “hush-buys” will likely continue.

“Brand protection is not a campaign contribution,” he told the magazine.

The Justice Department memo does not explicitly name Trump but refers to an “Individual-1,” who became president in 2017.