MSNBC host Ari Melber hammered Donald Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina on Tuesday about the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Melber showed a video of Trump being asked about the payments and if he knew about them. Trump answered, "no." Yet, his lawyer argued that it wasn't a lie because it wasn't under oath.
The two began with Melber asking if Daniels was a lawyer. Tacopina thought Melber asked if she was a "liar" and answered "yes." He never clarified what he thought she lied about, however.
He went on to then blame Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen for handling everything and plotting everything for him. "You seem to be putting forward a defense that's the kind we heard from Trump before — other people are doing these things," said Melber.
IN OTHER NEWS: Trump’s top ‘gatekeeper’ facing legal peril on multiple fronts
The host went on to play the recording of Cohen being told to make the deal and figure things out. Trump wanted to pay her in cash, but Cohen said "no, no, no."
The lawyer claimed that when Trump said "cash" what he meant was just to write Daniels a check.
"That doesn't sound like someone who has a lawyer who's gone rogue, it sounds like someone using this lawyer to send the money to Daniels and the problem potentially for your client in New York is whether this was misclassified, a.k.a illegally written down as something it wasn't," said Melber.
"What would be illegal about it?" asked Tacopina.
READ MORE: Trump fires back at Oprah over Raw Story report that she’s soured on ex-president
"Well, I could show you," Melber said, picking up the piece of paper with information on it. He began reading the Cohen court documents citing Trump as "Individual -1."
Tacopina then proclaimed that if Trump had really done something wrong, the Justice Department would have indicted him by now. But Melber said that the DOJ couldn't indict a sitting president.
"Cohen, with the assistance of corporation one, arranged for the purchase of those stories to suppress them and prevent them from influencing the election. The new reporting is — I want to get the benefit of your response prosecutors could argue that $130,000 became a donation to Trump's campaign under the theory the money was silencing Daniels. So, two-part question. Why lie about this and why misidentify the payment as asf it was legal?"
"A donation to his campaign by himself. That's what it would be," said Tacopina.
He went on to say that John Edwards had a third party give his mistress money.
"He was acquitted, and the DOJ dropped all charges on the hung council on that," said Tacopina. "This is different. This is Donald Trump paying with his own money. Here's where this case falls miserably. I'm his lawyer you will expect that from me you have legal scholars, and members of the election committee stated there was no crime here."
"Here's the deal. First of all, crucial distinction between separating campaign funds from personal funds. On personal funds usage, here's the bright line test. If the spending or the fulfillment of a commitment or expenditure would exist respective of a campaign, it's not a campaign violation this would have existed independent of the campaign."
Interestingly, there was another case in which Karen McDougal was paid through a third party in the comparison that Tacopina made. Her money came from a contract with the National Enquirer.
"You're making a case this would have existed regardless," said Melber.
See the debate between Melber and the Trump lawyer below or at the link here.
Trump lawyer www.youtube.com