“President” Donald Trump knows he is in trouble. As many legal folks have made clear, the judge and everyone involved in the legal proceeding agreed that Trump directed Michael Cohen to commit a crime or crimes. However, in another last-ditch effort to try to save himself, Trump went to Twitter, tweeting:
I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance. Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil basis. Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!
Trump is wrong. First, at the time of the conduct, it does not appear that Trump was seeking advice from Cohen. Second, as we all recall, during the hearings and findings of the Southern District of New York earlier in the year, Cohen was found to have attorney-client privilege on a very miniscule number of documents, not including the payoffs. Trump directed the payments. Ignorance of the specific law is no excuse. Finally, advice of counsel only works if you are specifically asking for advice of counsel on a specific matter.
Donald Trump is up against Cohen’s testimony, which is problematic for him, and AMI’s cooperation, which is troubling for him. More to come, but the “many campaign finance lawyers” are wrong. And Cohen has no liability to Trump. Sad, bigly sad, predicament you are now in, Trump.