As the President becomes more embroiled in Michael Cohen’s payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal, it’s becoming increasingly likely he will be indicted for campaign finance violations. While it’s unlikely this will affect his first term as President, it could mean charges are brought against him the moment he’s no longer in office. This could also add fuel to the fire for Democrats to win in 2020, as it would open the door for charges to be filed.
There’s a way the President can stop the charges before they’re filed, but it’s a step the President likely won’t want to take. If he has paid hush money to other women in the past, before he announced his run for President, he can demonstrate the hush money was paid to protect his personal reputation. If that’s the case, then this no longer falls under campaign finance laws.
It isn’t illegal to pay hush money to people.
The case that prosecutors will try to make is that then-candidate Trump ordered his attorney, Cohen, to facilitate payments to women whose stories could damage his chances of winning the 2016 presidential election. If they can prove that the President ordered the payoffs, they then have to prove the reason for the payoffs was to influence the election.
By showing past payoffs to women, the President can go with the story that he didn’t want to damage his marriage or business dealings. This play might hurt his reputation, but it would likely quash attempts to indict him.
This is all assuming there were past payoffs. If there weren’t, then it would be difficult for his defense to claim the two payoffs in question were not politically motivated.
It may not be the most elegant solution for the President, but if the investigation continues to build a case that he committed campaign finance violations, he may have no choice but to reveal past payoffs that show he’s immoral, but not a criminal.