A new report claims Donald Trump may have a bit of extra motivation to win re-election in 2020 — staying out of prison.
After his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was indicted and ultimately sentenced to prison for a felony campaign finance violation that directly implicated Trump, the president is reportedly very worried that he could be next. Sources close to Trump told The New York Times that Trump is taking comfort in the Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, but is concerned that he could face an indictment and potential prison sentence as soon as he leaves office.
The new report comes amid growing evidence that Trump was directly involved in the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the campaign. The New York Times published copies of the checks that Trump allegedly wrote to Cohen to cover the payments, and Cohen already provided copies of those checks to Congress when he appeared last week.
During his appearance, Cohen also confirmed that the “Individual-1” mentioned in the indictment documents was indeed Trump. That would seem to put Trump on the hook for the same felony violations as Cohen, and former White House counsel Robert Bauer told The New York Times that the evidence “leaves little doubt that [Trump] faces criminal prosecution after he leaves office.”
There are others who share the sentiment. Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton that if he were in charge of the Russia investigation, he would have already lodged an indictment against Donald Trump, but the Justice Department’s policy against indicting a sitting president prevented it.
“If the president of the United States weren’t the president, and he was just a 34-year-old, 35-year-old candidate, and his buddy [Michael] Cohen had pleaded guilty with all of the corroboration,” Rossi said.
Rossi noted that longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg has also been granted immunity and is “probably singing like a bird” about potential crimes.
“I would have presented to the grand jury in August, an indictment against Donald Trump. The only reason he is not currently indicted is he’s the president,” he said.
#MichaelCohen testimony predictably results in #NY insurance probe. If there is evidence of a crime, no protection v indictment for a sitting #POTUS: "New York regulators subpoena Trump Organization's insurer as part of big probe of business" https://t.co/iM0FsYKRip
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) March 5, 2019
If The New York Times report is accurate, it would add even higher stakes to an already contentious 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump has been launching attacks on Twitter against prospective Democratic candidates, with special attention on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Per The Inquisitr, Trump seems to be facing other electoral challenges, including polls that show support slipping among important voting blocs and in key battleground states.