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No, Trump wasn’t trying to protect Melania

No, Trump wasn't trying to protect Melania

by digby

I keep hearing people say that even if he weren't president Trump might not be able to be indicted because he's too stupid to understand that he was breaking campaign finance rules. He's very stupid so perhaps he didn't realize that the money would be considered an illegal campaign donation.

However, he cannot claim, as John Edwards did in a similar case, that he was just doing it to keep it a secret from his wife because he didn't want to hurt her. First of all, he undoubtedly doesn't care about hurting his wife. She knows what she signed on for. And in any case, there's this tape recording we've all heard, which shows that it was all about the campaign:

TRUMP: [In background] Good. Let me know what’s happening, okay? Oh, oh. Maybe because of this it would be better if you didn’t go, you know? Maybe because of this. For that one, you know -- I think what you should do is get rid of this. Because it’s so false what they’re saying, it’s such bulls---. Um. [PAUSE] I think, I think this goes away quickly. I think what — I think it’s probably better to do the Charleston thing, just this time. Uh, yeah. In two weeks, it’s fine. I think right now it’s, it’s better. You know? Okay, hun. You take care of yourself. Thanks, [Unintelligible]. Yup, I’m proud of you. So long. Bye.

[Into phone] What’s happening?

COHEN: Great poll, by the way.

TRUMP: Yeah?

COHEN: Seen it. Great poll.

TRUMP: Making progress.

COHEN: Big time.

TRUMP: And, your guy is a good guy. He’s a good —

COHEN: Who, Pastor Scott?

TRUMP: Can’t believe this. No, Pastor Scott. What’s, what’s happening —

COHEN: No —

TRUMP: Can we use him anymore?

COHEN: Oh, yeah, a hundred — no, you’re talking about Mark Burns. He’s, we’ve told him to [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

TRUMP: I don’t need that — Mark Burns, are we using him?

COHEN: No, no.

FEMALE: Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. I’m sorry, Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE] just called. He — just when you have a chance, he had an idea for you.

TRUMP: Okay, great.

COHEN: Um, so, we got served from the New York Times. I told you this — we were …

TRUMP: To what?

COHEN: … To unseal the divorce papers with Ivana. Um, we’re fighting it. Um, [Trump attorney Marc] Kasowitz is going to —

TRUMP: They should never be able to get that done.

COHEN: Never. Never. Kasowitz doesn’t think they’ll ever be able to. They don’t have a —

TRUMP: Get me a Coke, please!

COHEN: They don’t have a legitimate purpose, so —

TRUMP: And you have a woman that doesn’t want 'em unsealed.

COHEN: Correct.

TRUMP: Who you’ve been handling.

COHEN: Yes. And —

TRUMP: And it’s been going on for a while.

COHEN: About two, three weeks now.

TRUMP: All you’ve got to do is delay for —

COHEN: Even after that, it’s not going to ever be opened. There’s no, there’s no purpose for it. Um, told you about Charleston. Um, I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that — I’m going to do that right away. I’ve actually come up and I’ve spoken —

TRUMP: Give it to me and [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

COHEN: And, I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with ...

TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?

COHEN: … funding. Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff.

TRUMP: Yeah, I was thinking about that.

COHEN: All the stuff. Because — here, you never know where that company — you never know what he’s —

TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.

COHEN: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be —

TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?

COHEN: Well, I’ll have to pay him something.

TRUMP: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash ...

COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.

TRUMP: ... check.

[Tape cuts off abruptly. Separate recording begins.]

MALE: Hey Don, how are you?


It was clearly related to the campaign. And the fact that he felt the need to use a shell corporation shows that they were trying to keep it a secret. There would be no reason to hide the money trail if it was all about Melania.

No, when the SDNY concluded that Trump directed Cohen to commit a felony they knew they could prove he knew what he was doing. They basically have him as an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime for which the man he told to carry it out is going to do time.

He is only safe from being charged because he is the president and the DOJ has determined that a sitting president can't be indicted for a crime. (Obviously, he can be impeached for this --- they impeached Clinton for far less.)

The statute of limitations on this expires in 2022, by the way.