By Veronica Stracqualursi and Clare Foran
President Donald Trump is shifting his story about the Stormy Daniels controversy following the revelation by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that the President reimbursed a payment to the adult film actress by Michael Cohen…
Giuliani said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning that Cohen attempted to make the Daniels controversy “go away” with the payment — a suggestion that the agreement was intended to help Trump’s election chances.
Upon hearing that comment Thursday morning, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin referred to it as a “confession that this is a campaign finance violation because they wanted to shut her up in October of 2016.”
Toobin also said the penalty for violating campaign finance laws “depends on the level of intent. Most FEC, Federal Election Commission, violations are handled civilly. But if it’s willful, if it’s intentional, it can be handled criminally.” …
But Bradley Smith, a former FEC chairman, told CNN that he doesn’t believe the payment constitutes a campaign finance violation.
“I don’t think it matters whether Trump paid Cohen back or not,” Smith said, adding, “The standard is not: If it’s related to the campaign, it’s a campaign expenditure. The standard is: It’s a campaign expenditure if it is an obligation that would not exist were it not for the campaign.”