Trump’s defense against campaign finance charges transparently weak: Former US attorney
President Donald Trump in Twitter Video (Photo: Screen capture)

MSNBC legal analyst Chuck Rosenberg patiently explained why the campaign finance allegations against President Donald Trump rise above a simple mistake -- and constitute a crime.

Panelists on "Up With David Gura" debated whether Trump could -- or should -- face legal jeopardy after his attorney Michael Cohen turned over evidence the president took part in a scheme to secretly pay off two of his alleged mistresses just ahead of the election.

"The argument made here by the president and his lawyers is, this isn't his fault," Gura said. "He entrusted his legal strategy to Michael Cohen, Michael Cohen made the mistakes -- why should he be responsible? In other words, don't blame me, blame the lawyer. How much salience does that have when you look at the legal side of things?"

Rosenberg, a former U.S. Attorney and head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, walked through the weaknesses of the president's latest defense.

"Think about taxes," he said. "If you make a mistake on your taxes, that's not a crime, okay? That's a mistake. You might owe money, you might be audited, have to pay a fine, but that's handled civilly."

"If for seven years running," Rosenberg added, "you hide foreign bank accounts, omit income, you do a whole bunch of things we would say are intentional indicia of tax fraud -- that's a crime. That's the same thing here. Mistakes are not crimes, they're mistakes. This doesn't seem like a mistake."