“Trump’s ‘Obama Did It Too’ Legal Defense Does Not Hold an Ounce of Water”

I have written this piece for Slate. It begins:

President Donald Trump may never face a criminal penalty or impeachment proceedings for violating campaign finance laws in alleged conspiracy with his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. But on Monday, he tweeted an apparent legal defense for the apparent criminal violations that is beyond unconvincing. He argued that hidden hush-money payments to his mistresses in the weeks before the 2016 election were merely “simple private transaction[s]” rather than illegal campaign contributions, or that his problems amount to no more than his lawyer making a paperwork mistake. The president went on to compare Cohen’s actions to the reporting errors to which the Obama campaign admitted and ultimately dealt with through the payment of civil fines, the apparent point being that even if Trump did anything wrong, he should only be on the hook for civil penalties. In reality, Trump’s conduct and applicable campaign finance rules suggest that he would already be in serious legal jeopardy if he were not the sitting president.


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