Dumbest argument ever!
Courtesy of WaPo:
As might have been predicted, Trump railed against the Cohen assertions in tweets Wednesday morning. Specifically, the president lifted up an argument that he probably heard while watching “Fox and Friends.”
Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
It’s a bit baffling that Trump would assert that criminal charges accepted by Cohen aren’t a crime. Perhaps he’s arguing that the alleged crimes didn’t occur or that prosecutors crafted their charges in a way to maximize Cohen’s exposure to legal risk. It’s not clear — but neither is true.
But let’s focus on the second part of Trump’s assertion, that Cohen’s charges and his actions fall into a big bucket of “campaign finance violations” that also includes violations that President Barack Obama was found to have committed. It’s a very Trumpian bit of whataboutism, waving away something severe that Trump or a Trump ally did by pointing out something minor that one of his political opponents did.
It’s certainly true that both Cohen’s admissions and the Obama campaign did things that were “campaign finance violations” in the same way that you’re lifting a candy bar from a convenience store as a kid and what Bernie Madoff did are both “stealing.” Which isn’t to say that the Obama campaign’s violations weren’t serious. It’s just to note that broad legal terms can cover a variety of actions.
So what did Obama do? Well, Obama didn’t do anything, really. His campaign — Obama For America — failed to report 1,300 contributions within 48 hours as required by law. It also received some campaign contributions that exceeded allowable limits from a donor for a campaign cycle and others that had incorrect dates. In total, the contributions at issue amounted to about $2 million, and the campaign paid $375,000 in fines.
So to be clear, Barack Obama did NOTHING wrong, and what his campaign DID do wrong was to fail to fill out paperwork correctly, or in a timely manner.
In the case of Michael Cohen what we see is that he facilitated an illegal contribution to a presidential campaign by a corporation after being directly told to do so by the candidate (Donald Trump), and then lied about it for months until forced to tell the truth under oath.
This is not even apples and oranges. It is more like apples and boxes of TNT.
This is huge, and for Trump to even suggest that there is any correlation between what he and his fixer did and anything President Obama may have done is laugh out loud ridiculous.