Trump's Check to Cohen Is ‘Smoking Gun Moment' From Ex-Lawyer's Testimony

© AP Photo / Richard DrewMichael Cohen, formerly a lawyer for President Trump, leaves his hotel Monday, July 30, 2018, in New York.
Michael Cohen, formerly a lawyer for President Trump, leaves his hotel Monday, July 30, 2018, in New York. - Sputnik International
The copy of a reimbursement check from US President Donald Trump to his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen is "the real smoking gun moment" from the testimony the attorney gave to the House Oversight Committee, Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, told Sputnik.

"To me, the real smoking gun moment is really that check from Donald Trump to Michael Cohen… to compensate him for the money that for the longest time the administration claimed and the campaign claimed that Cohen, out of the goodness of his heart, took out of a home equity loan in order to pay [Trump's alleged mistress] Stormy Daniels," Rall told Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear on Wednesday.

"Here's this visual that's going to be on the front page of newspapers… and it's going to be all over the internet later today, and that's just really hard to avoid," he continued. "You can't run from that check… that check shows violation of campaign finance laws."
Cohen on Wednesday appeared before the committee to offer up his testimony in an open session following his closed-door testimony Tuesday.

During the Wednesday hearing, Cohen offered lawmakers various documents, including a copy of a check Trump wrote to his former lawyer, reimbursing him in installments for the $130,000 hush payment issued to keep Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Trump in 2006.

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It should be noted that Trump has repeatedly denied that he had an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Other documents forked over to officials included copies of statements from 2011 to 2013 that Trump gave to financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, and letters that Cohen wrote at the direction of Trump to prevent educational institutions from releasing Trump's transcripts, among others.

Rall told hosts John Kiriakou and Walter Smolarek that while the Trump administration has previously denied any and all accusations that campaign finance laws were violated during Trump's 2016 presidential bid, there's just no way that they can continue on that path.

"They can't [deny it]," the editorial cartoonist said. "There's that famous signature on that check — that iconic Trump signature that he likes to show off for the cameras."

"There's just no getting around it. I mean, the president absolutely broke the law. The question is now, ‘Is he going to pay any price for it?'" he added.

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When asked about whether or not Cohen's testimony would have any impact on the ongoing special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller into allegations the Trump team colluded with Russia during the election, Rall pointed out that investigators already knew about everything Cohen was planning to reveal to the committee.

"Unless there's some startling new development, this is the beginning of the Mueller investigation winding down, and a report will be forthcoming," he told Smolarek. However, he did also indicate that things could still shift, should someone come forward with damaging evidence against Trump.

"You just never know," he said.

Cohen also stated during his congressional testimony that there won't be a "peaceful transition of power," if Trump loses the 2020 presidential election. Cohen is scheduled to appear in for a private hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

The now-debarred former New York lawyer pleaded guilty in August 2018 to eight charges, which included tax fraud and making false statements. The eighth charge, for excessive campaign contributions, was tied to the hush payment made to Daniels. Cohen is set to begin serving his three-year prison sentence in May.

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