Did CNN's Rick Santorum just preview Trump's defense strategy against the Cohen allegations?
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (Photo: Screen capture)

On Wednesday, Rick Santorum appeared on CNN and previewed what is likely going to be the Trump administration's defense going forward.


Yesterday, President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including campaign finance violations. Appearing before a judge Cohen identified, President Trump as a co-conspirator.

Sen. Rick Santorum disputed whether the president had broken campaign finance rules.

"There's a legal question here about whether the president using his own personal money to pay someone hush money if you will, whether that's a campaign finance violation. Clearly, there were other motives for him to pay that money, like not wanting his wife and children to know about this."

Technically, Santorum is right that prosecutors have to demonstrate that Trump directed the payment to influence the election, and not for personal reasons.

But other commentators on the panel pointed out that the timing of the payment make it a thin line of defense.

"It's dicey to suggest it's nothing to do with the election when the payments were made so close to the election," observed Mona Charen, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Policy Center.

"If this had been about his family and wanting to avoid embarrassment and the events took place in 2006..."