Zero. That’s how many indictments have affected President Trump amid more than a year-long investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller and his investigative team have indicted more than a dozen individuals, many of them being Russian entities or individuals for knowingly trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s team also indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Manafort was charged earlier this week with 8 felonies for tax fraud, failure to report foreign accounts and earnings, and bank fraud.
Some liberals were hoping the Manafort trial would have led to something damaging on Trump. But, though Manafort was found guilty, no charges have affected Trump.
Then, some liberals were hoping Cohen’s trial would lead to something on Trump. Early indication is that it won’t.
The former campaign chairman is being charged with violating campaign finance law, which does not necessarily condemn Trump, Politico reports.
Cohen’s admission that he violated campaign finance law while acting at Trump’s direction is far from rock-solid proof that the president is also guilty, even if Cohen is being entirely truthful, these lawyers said.
“The fact Cohen did something illegal doesn’t mean Trump did anything illegal,” said Jan Baran, a longtime Republican campaign finance lawyer.
Cohen said in court on Tuesday that he acted at Trump’s “direction” and violated federal election laws by arranging the payout to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress, in the days before the 2016 election to keep her silent about what she said was an affair with Trump a decade earlier.
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But a very high legal standard that is applied in criminal cases involving alleged campaign finance violations means Trump might not be guilty even if his lawyer is.
Andy Grewal, a University of Iowa law professor similarly said, “Under the law, it’s quite easy for two people involved in the same act to have different criminal consequences.”
As Politico reports, Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, told NBC News that Cohen believes Trump “committed a crime and covered it up.” Later, on CNN, Davis said Cohen believes the president “directed and coordinated” a crime which makes him “complicit and equally culpable.”
The crime in question is whether Trump “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign finance laws by paying money to Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
Politico reports proving Trump was aware the actions were illegal – whether he was explicitly told or whether he admitted to their illegality – will be much more difficult to prove since Cohen did not admit to knowing either of those two things.
Here’s even more:
But as a lawyer, Cohen could be assumed to have some familiarity with federal election law. Prosecutors may well have proof in emails or other documents that he regularly discussed compliance with such statutes.
Proving that Trump knew at the time that the payouts were intended to influence the presidential race, and that he knew they were illegal, could be much harder. Perhaps such records exist, or maybe Cohen is prepared to say that he told Trump the way they were handling it was illegal, but the lawyer never said that in court on Tuesday.
“In order to prove criminal intent, you have to point to evidence that the actors knew or had reason to know what they were doing was illegal,” said Baran, the GOP campaign finance lawyer.
President Trump continues to maintain his innocence and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders similarly echoed Trump’s innocence during a briefing on Wednesday.
“As the president said, we’ve stated many times, he did nothing wrong, there are no charges against him and we’ve commented on this extensively,” Sanders said at the daily briefing, as Fox News reports.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 23, 2018
As it stands now, Trump has not faced a single indictment since the Mueller investigation began more than a year ago. It should also be noted the special counsel was originally birthed to explore potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia.
Despite this, Democrats and mainstream media are still peddling impeachment.
Liberal cable news outlets evidently had their own fairy tale ending in mind when former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations: impeachment. On Wednesday, CNN and MSNBC reporters, anchors, and paid contributors used the word an absurd 222 times in 18 hours.
MRC analysts examined all CNN and MSNBC coverage between 6:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on August 22, counting every use of the word “impeach,” “impeachment,” or some permutation thereof. Analysts found 114 instances of the term on MSNBC and 108 on CNN, for a total of 222 total uses of the word.
There were no shows on either network in which the term was not uttered at least once. CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow exercised the most restraint, with each host using the term only once in their allotted hour.
Watch for yourself: