Here’s how the WaPo fact check ends:
Trump says he never ordered Cohen to break the law and silence Daniels and McDougal. But when he says such payoffs are not criminal to begin with, his defense goes off the rails. Trump is presenting a legal theory as fact to minimize his fixer’s crimes. It’s a bizarre claim to make with Cohen heading to prison, and it merits Four Pinocchios.
As ELB readers know, I think that the payments could well be a crime, but there is a non-frivolous argument put forward by Brad Smith and others that it is not. After further reflection, I wrote a post called John Edwards, Donald Trump and the Criminalization of Politics which discusses how complex the issue is. While I still believe Trump could face criminal liability, the claim he does not does not merit any Pinocchios, much less four. It is a legal question that would have to be tested in court.