Don Lemon cannot stand President Donald Trump’s claims about the 2008 Obama campaign, and last night, the Daily Beast reported he decided to address it.
The CNN host started the beginning of his prime-time show CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Monday, December 10 by bringing up something that had been “bugging [him] for the last few days” and makes him “want to scream” at the television whenever he sees it on the air.
Lemon went on to fact check President Trump’s claims from a series of tweets yesterday morning, where he indicated that the campaign finance felonies committed by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who allegedly paid women to be quiet about affairs they claimed to have had with the president, were similar to what former President Barack Obama’s campaign had done during his first election run.
The act in question referred to by both Trump in his social media rant yesterday and Lemon during last night’s segment were civil reporting violations made by the Obama campaign in 2008, which, after being uncovered by a 2012 audit by the Federal Elections Commission, resulted in the campaign being slapped with a $375,000 fine.
President Trump referred to this mishap in an attempt to downplay Cohen’s crime, which he said was a “simple private transaction” that should result in a civil case similar to Obama’s.
“Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun...No Collusion.” @FoxNews That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2018
....which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s - but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me). Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2018
During his show, Lemon acknowledged that the Obama campaign did, in fact, commit the violations, and noted that it admitted to them as well as paid the fines, but did not see any similarities whatsoever to Cohen’s felonies, and called the president out on what he dubbed a “flat-out lie.”
“That is not the same, at all, as creating a shell company or using a media company to pay hush money for affairs with a porn star and Playboy model during an election so that the voting public would not find out,” Lemon explained.
Other experts seem to agree with the news show host, including Paul Ryan, the top lawyer at the watchdog group Common Cause whose complaint to the Federal Election Committee prompted Cohen to admit to making a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
“It’s really an apples and oranges comparison,” Ryan told CNN, who also noted that the Obama campaign’s penalty was common for big campaigns that make reporting errors.
Richard Hansen, an election-law expert at the University of California at Irvine, said the violations are “not even in the same league.”
Michael Cohen is scheduled to receive his sentencing before a federal judge in New York on Wednesday, December 12.