Not to be too technical here, but Donald Trump is deep doo-doo after what turned out to be the most significant day yet since the special counsel’s investigation began.
On Friday, three new critical court filings emerged but the most damning information for Trump didn’t come from Robert Mueller’s office this time, it came from the Southern District of New York’s sentencing recommendation regarding Michael Cohen. As former Obama Department of Justice official Neal Katyal explained Friday on MSNBC, “For the first time, you have federal prosecutors essentially saying that Donald Trump committed a felony.”
Katyal cited several specific pages in the SDNY filing, beginning with page 11, section 4, “Cohen’s Illegal Campaign Contributions.” The section recounts the hush-money payments Cohen made to two women (presumably Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal) who claimed to have had affairs with Trump in order to “suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election.” Crucially, SDNY writes:
“…with respect to both payments, [Cohen] acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”
At an August court appearance, Cohen had already said Trump told him to make the payments, but now prosecutors are saying it and that means they have the evidence to prove it. In addition, Katyal notes that because prosecutors argue the express intent behind the payments was to influence the outcome of the election, Trump cannot claim (as John Edwards did) that he made the payments for purely personal reasons regarding his marriage, etc. In other words, the payments were made in direct violation of campaign finance laws.