What Trump was doing on the days he cut his 'hush-money' checks to Michael Cohen
No one ever said the job of president doesn’t involve a good deal of multi-tasking. But in the case of Donald J. Trump, the hardest part seems to be how to squeeze his responsibilities into a schedule dominated by writing checks in violation of campaign finance laws to cover up his sordid past behavior.
During last week’s public hearings, former Trump lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen produced two such checks, representing “hush money” payments by Trump to keep the public from knowing about his affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. The New York Times has since obtained six more checks signed by either Trump himself, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., or the Trump “Trust,” each representing further payments to Daniels as well as payments made directly to Cohen for (among other things) his role in falsifying poll results in order to help Trump get elected.
These checks were signed and mailed on more or less a monthly basis throughout 2017, Trump’s first year in office. Most of the checks were written for $35,000 but some were “doubled up” to move the process along. So it makes for interesting reading to see what else Trump was doing in office on those days he signed (or signed off on) these checks. As the Times’s Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman report:
The president hosted a foreign leader in the Oval Office, then wrote a check. He haggled over legislation, then wrote a check. He traveled abroad, then wrote a check. On the same day he reportedly pressured the F.B.I. director to drop an investigation into a former aide, the president’s trust issued a check to Mr. Cohen in furtherance of what federal prosecutors have called a criminal scheme directed by Mr. Trump to violate campaign finance laws.
Busy fellow! In a clear gesture of heartfelt sentimentality toward his wife, Melania, the first check was sent out on Feb. 14, 2017 (Valentine’s Day).
Kate Riga over at Talking Points Memo did a day-by day analysis of what was otherwise occupying Trump on the days he performed this solemn executive function.