Lanny Davis, the lawyer representing former President Donald Trump's one-time fixer Michael Cohen, outlined for MSNBC's Joy Reid on Friday the simple question a jury will need to ask themselves if, as experts view as increasingly likely, the former president ends up indicted by New York prosecutors over his $130,000 hush payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Cohen went to prison in a tax fraud case stemming from that payment, which he helped broker — but, Davis argued, his client was railroaded and took the fall for a crime that was really Trump's.
"Not a single fact has undermined anything that Michael Cohen has said under oath, in contrast to Mr. Trump, who refuses to show up when he is under oath, he takes the Fifth Amendment."
"There's another one people don't think about enough, this is the false statements to the U.S. Congress," said Reid. "Now, those were not about Stormy Daniels. Those were actually about Trump Tower or — explain that."
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"Facts get in the way of rhetoric," said Davis. "A false statement to Congress is a serious crime. Number one, he was directed to make those false statements by Donald Trump."
"What were they about?" asked Reid.
"This is the absurdity of the assertion it was a crime," said Davis. "He was having conversations and negotiations about building Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump said to him, I don't want you to say that during the campaign, I want you to lie and say there are no discussions even while there were discussions. So Michael said there were three discussions rather than ten. Now, let me repeat that. That's the false statement called a crime that will undermine his credibility with the jury: Trump tells him to lie, and he had three, which is what he said, rather than ten, which is what happened. That's the crime, and it's done at the instruction and for the benefit of not Michael Cohen, but Donald Trump."
"Every juror who is going to be sitting in the jury box is going to ask the question: did Donald Trump pay the money to hush up Stormy Daniels because, right before the election, he was worried about the effect on the election if that came out?" said Davis. "That's the only question a jury is going to be deciding. By the way, as much as I say Michael Cohen can be trusted and credible based on the record I laid out for you, Michael Cohen isn't needed in this case. All these pundits and pontificators and lawyers who are speaking on TV, especially on another rival network, have no clue what the evidence is in this case. I'm in the room. I know what the evidence is. They don't so they're speculating, and they have no idea that this case is surrounded by documents, evidence, and facts. I think this case is extremely strong I hear people say it's a weak case it's because they have no clue, no facts they're just speculating."
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Lanny Davis on Stormy Daniels Trump case www.youtube.com