Trump claims undercut his own alibi on Cohen by claiming he was 'mostly PR'
Donald Trump went on Fox News to explain how he isn’t guilty of felony violations of campaign finance law for the actions he directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to take, or the scheme he cooked up with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker. And in 10 minutes, Trump managed to shred every one of his arguments with zero need for cross examination.
Appearing with Harris Faulkner—whose previous television role was, appropriately enough, serving as a host for tabloid journalism staple A Current Affair—Trump explained that the AMI deal couldn’t be campaign related because …
Trump: I don’t think that even paid any money to that tabloid.
How Trump even thought insisting that Pecker did the whole thing as a favor to Trump, without making money from the deal was somehow exonerating … might take diagrams. But then Trump went on to talk about his former attorney Michael Cohen. Trump insisted that he “made a mistake” in hiring Cohen. And as in tweets earlier in the day, Trump continued to insist that the felony violations of campaign law weren’t crimes, and that there was no reason for Cohen to have pleaded guilty.
Trump: They put that on to embarrass me. They put those two charges on to embarrass me.
Trump didn’t just rant on this point: he came to the interview with printouts of a story claiming that the campaign violations were no big deal. He then forced these printouts on Faulkner during the interview. But Trump was at his best when he elaborated on Cohen. Trump retreated again behind the idea that “He is a lawyer” and “I never directed him to do anything wrong” and “Whatever he did, he did on his own.” That, despite the fact that Trump was directly involved in plotting a scheme to bury the stories of women who came forward, and to hide the payments.
And then, after repeated insistence that Cohen was a lawyer and Trump was just a clueless client … Trump executed a judo flip on his own story.