Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Prosecutors Expose Trump Hush Money Payments, Russian Contacts

Prosecutors Expose Trump Hush Money Payments, Russian Contacts

Here's a look at that long-running legal ambiguity and a few of the main issues at play. Court filings also said Cohen was reaching out to Russians who offered "political synergy" with the Trump campaign, including setting up a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Trump, challenging the President's repeated assertions that there was no collusion.

The more that special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors reveal, the darker grow the legal clouds over President Donald Trump.

"If Donald Trump lost the election and federal prosecutors were pursuing this same case, he would be pursuing exactly the same consequences as Michael Cohen", O' Donnell said. Mueller keeps finding new instances of Trump associates lying about their contacts with Russian Federation during an election the Kremlin worked to sway in the Republican's favor.

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

The November 2015 outreach - which Mueller says Cohen did not pursue - appears to be the earliest known effort by Russian Federation to build ties with the Trump campaign.

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein said the revelations "outline serious and criminal wrongdoing, including felony violations of campaign finance laws at the direction of President Trump".

Trump's only defense? Cohen, he says, is a liar.

Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, similarly said in order to bring charges, prosecutors would have to prove Mr Trump had criminal intent and "wilfully violated the law". Something that would be perfectly legal to do as a businessman could take on a different standard as a candidate and campaign finance laws are "very open-ended", he said. Some legal experts have also argued that hush- money payments to keep people silent about their affairs are inherently personal, though Hasen said he didn't agree with that argument.

Ecuador: U.K. guarantees for Assange to leave embassy
In a media interview, Moreno said he had received written assurances from Britain that Assange could leave the building safely. The investigation in Sweden was later dropped, and Ecuador said there were no pending extradition requests against Assange.

"The Last Word" host noted that "nothing in the Constitution" says a president can not be indicted, charged with a crime or put on trial.

Legal experts are divided on that question. Two Justice Department reports, one in 1973 and one in 2000, came to the same conclusion.

Mr Mueller said Cohen had gone to "significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation". Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has also said that a president can not be indicted.

On Friday night, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell laid out the case for the need to impeach President Donald Trump.

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller's office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate NY charges. In a November tweet, he compared Trump and Nixon, stating simply, "Trump=evil".

Mr Trump has already shown he's not afraid to use his pardon power, particularly for those he has viewed as unfair victims of partisanship.

Despite Trump's declarations, Mueller hasn't ruled out that the prospect of election season coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign, and only recently received written answers from the president about possible Russian interference.

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