A lawyer representing a key witness in the investigation into Donald Trump over hush money payments has drawn comparisons between the case and the sex scandal that embroiled Bill Clinton, as it became clear there would be no indictment in the Trump investigation until next week at the earliest.
Lanny Davis, who represents Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, hypothesized about what might have happened if Clinton had handled his affair with Monica Lewinsky differently.
Clinton was impeached in his second term after lying about his relationship with Lewinsky while he was president. Davis, who served as a special adviser to Clinton, speculated about how the Democrat might have been perceived if a representative had paid money to Lewinsky.
Cohen, who was Trump’s lawyer and fixer for more than a decade before he turned on his former boss, paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to prevent her from going public with allegations that she and Trump slept together a decade before he won the White House.
“I won’t mention the name of the former president I worked for,” Davis told Politico in an interview.
“But can you imagine if … he had written personal checks as part of that controversy?
“Can you imagine if I had personal checks out of a checking account of a sitting president that reimburses a hush money scheme, and then I used a legal argument to say why he should get off: because New York state law doesn’t apply to federal law? Good luck!”
Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion and campaign-finance violations related to the Daniels payment, has been a key witness in the investigation into Trump.
The now-disbarred lawyer paid Daniels through a shell company, and was then reimbursed through Trump, whose company logged the reimbursements as legal expenses. The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, is leading the investigation into potential wrongdoing by Trump.
Davis, a lawyer and longtime political operative, claimed in the Politico interview that he himself had triggered that investigation by speaking to Cyrus Vance, Bragg’s predecessor.
“Cyrus Vance Sr was the secretary of state under Jimmy Carter – I’m showing my age now […] I was in my 20s when President Carter was elected,” Davis told Politico.
“And I got to know Mr Vance. So his son, being the DA of [Manhattan], I called after Michael was sent to prison.”
Davis said he believed “the evidence of financial fraud was on the record in the [congressional] hearings and that Vance’s office should interview Michael”.
“They came to Otisville [the prison where Cohen served some of his sentence] … They did manage to get a visit, and then two and then three separate visits at the beginning,” Davis said.
“And that’s how it began.”
Davis’s interview came as the investigation into Trump rolled on in New York. Reports had suggested Trump would be indicted this week – Trump himself claimed, wrongly, last weekend that he would be arrested on Tuesday – but the grand jury hearing the case is not due to meet again until Monday.
In the meantime Trump, who is the subject of multiple other legal inquiries, warned on Friday of “potential death and destruction” should he be charged in the case.
In a rambling, idiosyncratically punctuated message posted on Truth Social, a niche rightwing social media network that he owns, at 1am, Trump wrote:
“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country? Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely [sic] hates the USA!”
Source: US Politics - theguardian.com