Fox News personality Mark Levin says special counsel Robert Mueller has “nothing” on President Donald Trump as a result of his former personal attorney Michael’s Cohen’s criminal plea agreement announced Tuesday.
Cohen, 51, told a judge in United States District Court in New York City that he made payments to two women (adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal) during the 2016 presidential race “at the direction of the candidate” referring to Trump. Cohen said the payments were “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
“I want to help the law professors, the constitutional experts, the criminal defense lawyers, the former prosecutors and of course the professors and I want to help them understand what the law is,” Levin told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night in response to the plea agreement. “The general counsel for the Clinton mob family, Lanny Davis, he had his client plead to two counts of criminality that don’t exist.”
Levin — who served as chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese during the Reagan administration — explained, “It is a plea bargain between a prosecutor and criminal. A criminal who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in prison. That is not precedent. That applies only to that specific case.”
“Nobody cites plea bargains for precedent,” he continued. “That is number one. Number two, just because a prosecutor says that somebody violated a campaign law doesn’t make it so. He is not the judge. He is not the jury. We didn’t adjudicate anything. It never went to court.”
Levin also stated the payments Cohen claims to have made on behalf of Trump to adult film star Daniels and indirectly to McDougal do not constitute campaign expenditures.
“A campaign expenditure under our campaign laws is an expenditure solely for campaign activity,” he said. “A candidate who spends his own money or even corporate money for an event that occurred not as a result of the campaign is not a campaign expenditure.”
The constitutional law expert offered some examples to prove his point.
“Say a candidate had said we owe vendors a whole lot of money. We’ve had disputes with them. But I want you to go ahead and pay them. I’m a candidate, I don’t want the negative publicity. So he says to the private lawyer, ‘You pay them, I’ll reimburse you, get it done.’ Is that illegal? It’s perfectly legal,” Levin argued.
“Yet according to the prosecution of the Southern District of New York, it’s paid at the direction of the candidate to influence the election. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, how stupid is your point?”
He went on to offer the example of Trump using his own or corporate money to pay off a disgruntled employee or enter into a non-disclosure agreement with someone who wants to speak negatively about him, as was the case with Daniels. All of that is legal, Levin claimed. These sorts of agreements happen all the time in the corporate and entertainment worlds.
“Nothing here was spent out of the campaign,” he said. “Nothing was done with the campaign or to the campaign.”
“Mr. Lanny Davis had his client plead guilty to two offenses that aren’t offenses,” Levin said. “That the prosecutor insisted were offenses. That’s why he’s no good. Donald Trump is in the clear. It’s legal it’s done all the time.”
Levin also said Mueller knows full well he cannot indict Trump as a sitting president, and his real purpose is to lay the groundwork to try to impeach the chief executive.
“I’ll tell you what they have. Mr. Mueller is a federal prosecutor and is preparing his impeachment report, which is an unconstitutional activity,” he stated. “Mr. Mueller is supposed to be non-political. He is not supposed to be preparing impeachment reports.”
The conservative firebrand also argued that Mueller is looking for a way to force Trump to sit down for an interview with his prosecutors in order to create a perjury trap.
“They don’t have a crime. He needs this interview to create a crime against the president of the United States,” Levin said. “That’s pretty damn outrageous!”
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett concurred with Levin earlier on “Hannity” Tuesday night.
Jarret contended that prosecutors “pressured (Cohen) for that one line,” referring to “at the direction of the candidate,” but that it makes no difference legally.
“The law says if there is a dual or secondary purpose (to the payments), it’s not illegal,” said Jarrett. “Here, President Trump had personal and commercial reasons” beyond the election.
Renowned legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, appearing Tuesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” said when federal prosecutors tried to convict former presidential candidate John Edwards for payments made on his behalf during the 2008 race to support his mistress and their child, the result was a hung jury. The DOJ then dropped the case.
Dershowitz also proffered that even if prosecutors could prove the payments made to Daniels and McDougal were campaign expenses, “Violation of election laws are regarded as kind of like jaywalking in the realm of things. There are so many of them.”
“Every administration violates the election laws,” Dershowitz said. “Every candidate violates the election laws when they run for president. Usually they pay a fine. Something like that happens. Here they’re trying to elevate this into an impeachable offense.”
Trump chimed in on that point on Twitter on Wednesday, writing, “Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”
Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Politico reported that Obama’s 2008 campaign was fined $375,000 for failing to properly file contributions totaling in excess of $1.8 million.
Based on multiple legal expert opinions, it would appear those hoping for the impeachment of Trump based on Cohen’s admissions may be sorely disappointed.
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