Trump’s misdemeanor hush money could be charged as a felony: former prosecutor Barbara McQuade
Composite image, President Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen (screengrabs)

President Donald Trump may be charged with a felony by New York state prosecutors for his role in the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine playmate Karen McDougal, a former federal prosecutor explained on MSNBC.

Former Eastern District of Michigan US Attorney Barbara McQuade was interviewed on Thursday by Joy Reid on "The Rachel Maddow Show."

"So the grand jury subpoena here I think has asked for any and all documents relating to the treatment of this payment," McQuade explained. "And so, you know, they have to have a good faith basis for a crime. In this instance, it appears to be this falsification of business records."

"But, in the course of receiving all those things, if they should find evidence of additional crimes within those documents, they’re absolutely free to charge any of those crimes that they find," she explained.

"And how would it be a misdemeanor to falsify your business records to cover up a hush money payment?" Reid asked.

"So the statute makes it a misdemeanor to simply falsify a business record, but there’s an aggravated version of that crime if you are using that false document to conceal or commit another crime -- then it becomes a felony," McQuade replied. "It’s not clear to me whether a federal crime qualifies as that other crime, but my hunch is that it might and so it could very well be that if the books were falsified to conceal a campaign finance violation, that could turn this misdemeanor into a felony."

"And just to be crystal clear, is there anything that William Barr could do to stop this investigation or to intervene in it?" Reid asked.

"No, he really couldn’t," McQuade said.