President Donald Trump didn’t break any campaign finance laws if he directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to pay off two women alleging affairs with him — but 2016 Democratic president nominee Hillary Clinton did break campaign finance laws.
That’s according to former Clinton pollster Mark Penn.
“Contrast what is going on here with the treatment of the millions of dollars paid to a Democratic law firm which, in turn, paid out money to political research firm Fusion GPS and British ex-spy Christopher Steele without listing them on any campaign expenditure form — despite crystal-clear laws and regulations that the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds must be listed,” Penn, who worked for both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, wrote in an op-ed on Wednesday in The Hill.
“There is no question that hiring spies to do opposition research in Russia is a campaign expenditure, and yet, no prosecutorial raids have been sprung on the law firm, Fusion GPS or Steele. Reason: It does not ‘get’ Trump,” Penn argued in his piece.
The FBI used the anti-Trump dossier alleging Russian collusion, which Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) funded, to renew surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Although Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign, he has since turned on the president.
He entered into a plea deal with federal prosecutors, announced Tuesday, on eight felony counts — two of which concerned alleged campaign finance law violations.
Cohen pleaded guilty to facilitating hush money payments to two women alleging affairs with Trump — Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
Trump’s then-lawyer claimed that he did so with the “coordination and the direction of a candidate for federal office.”
The unnamed “candidate” presumably is Donald Trump.
But Penn argued that Trump did not violate any federal election laws for reportedly reimbursing Cohen.
“Donald Trump should do a better job of picking aides who pay their taxes — but he’s not responsible for their financial problems and crimes,” Penn wrote.
“Paying for nondisclosure agreements for perfectly legal activities is not a crime, not a campaign contribution as commonly understood or ruled upon by the FEC [Federal Election Commission] — and squeezing guilty pleas out of vulnerable witnesses does not change those facts,” Penn added.
Check out this video below on the issue: