DOJ: Trump directed illegal payments during campaign

Donald Trump made illegal payments to two women before 2016 US elections say prosecutors

Donald Trump made illegal payments to two women before 2016 US elections say prosecutors

But when Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations connected to the payments as well as other charges, he stated in court that he had been directed by Trump.

Although Trump hasn't been charged with any crimes, the question of whether a president can even be prosecuted while in office is a matter of legal dispute.

Did the president commit a crime?

That isn't completely clear.

"You may want to read the court filings today".

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY wrote on Friday that Mr Cohen said he was directed to make the payments by Trump. They said those payments made to a porn star and a Playboy model were an illegal campaign finance violation.

Federal law requires that any payments that are made "for the objective of influencing" an election must be reported in campaign finance disclosures.

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and frequent defender of Trump, said Mueller appears poised to issue a report that will be highly critical of the president, though Dershowitz believes it will deal "more with political sin than a federal crime".

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Whilst his name is never used, "Individual 1" is clearly identified as Trump elsewhere in the document.

Edwards argued the payments were meant to keep his wife from learning about the affair - not to protect his campaign - and were therefore not political donations.

Lieu, a Trump critic, told MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball that "we have a sitting president of the United States who committed two felonies while running for president".

After going publicly silent in the run-up to the midterm elections, Mueller has roared back with a series of legal moves that suggest he is actively pursuing the central question of whether Trump's campaign illegally coordinated with Russian Federation during the election. The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether the president can be indicted or whether the president can be subpoenaed for testimony.

John Dean, former White House counsel to President Nixon, in the Hart Senate Office Building on September 7, 2018 in Washington, DC.

On Friday, Mueller said Cohen's false statements to Congress had "obscured the fact" that the skyscraper project held the potential to reap "hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources" for the Trump Organization.

Trump denied in April that he knew anything about Cohen's payments to Daniels, though the explanations from the president and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have shifted multiple times since then.

There would presumably be no bar against charging a president after he leaves the White House. It's unclear whether Trump faces legal jeopardy over his role. He's pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt for disobeying a judge's order, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a Bush administration official convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in a leak case.

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