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As a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.
What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.
Less than a year later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pecker to quash the story of a former Playboy model who said they’d had an affair. Mr. Pecker’s company soon paid $150,000 to the model, Karen McDougal, to keep her from speaking publicly about it. Mr. Trump later thanked Mr. Pecker for the assistance.
originally posted by: JBurns
The real question is, who cares?
I'd argue if the real question is.... is this just a cover for the Broward county election fraud happening right this second?
Because your question of "who cares?" has been answered... nobody... nobody cares!
We all make mistakes especially as younger man and the people of our time realized that was all just part of growing up
I know for a fact there is nothing that could possibly come out of this that would make me support him any less. Team Trump all the way
SIMON: In the under a minute we have left, ethics and morality aside, if I might make that a parenthetical, how big a legal problem would this be for President Trump?
SANDERSON: Well, it is a - fundamentally, a reporting problem. And the whole reason we have these reporting obligations for candidates is that voters are supposed to be able to look at the finance reports and base their votes on information.
That's a potential problem for him, that the report - this payment was never reported. If it was related to the election, it should've been disclosed to the American people in advance of their vote.
SIMON: Matthew Sanderson, who advised the McCain-Palin campaign on campaign finances, thanks so much for being with us. SANDERSON: Thank you for having me.
"I think the differences here from the typical technical violations of campaign finance law are the size of the payments, which are far larger than the usual routine campaign finance violations, and the level of intentionality that we’re discovering," Kang said.
Intentionality is key.
Cohen described a careful process to pay McDougal and Daniels in ways that would fly beneath the radar. He created two shell companies to hide the source of the funds. He fronted the money, then submitted invoices for legal work he never did to get repaid by Trump.
And this is where the real legal hazard comes in. That effort could run afoul of federal election law’s "knowing and willful" standard. While most reporting violations involve systemic accounting lapses that draw fines, a conscious scheme to keep activities hidden can trigger criminal penalties with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
If Trump were in the dark about the payments, Frampton wrote, he would be on safe ground. But "if he was involved in orchestrating the pay-off," he could face charges. Cohen says Trump was fully aware. The case for Trump may turn on whether he actually was.