Zero Sum
How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. — Neils Bohr
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Posted May 4th, 2018 by ravi    / Permalink /

Vox has a post with legal opinion on Giuiliani and Trump’s admission that Trump was aware of the money paid to Stormy Daniels and has repaid Cohen the amount. The analysis by Douglas Spencer at the University of Connecticut is the most insightful one of the lot. Spencer correctly points out that admitting he was aware of Cohen’s payout helps Trump’s potential argument that this was a matter of personal, and not political, safety. This achieves legal safety for Trump at the cost of political harm. But one thing that we have learnt in the Trump era is that no controversy can inflict political damage, especially on the Right, when tribal identity is assured.

Last nights revelation by Giuliani changes the political landscape much more than the legal one. The central legal question has not changed: When Michael Cohen wired $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, was he trying to prevent Melania from learning about Clifford’s allegations or trying to prevent voters in Michigan from hearing these allegations?

Trump’s acknowledgment that he was personally involved in the payment may actually help his legal argument. I think the defense that this was about protecting Trump’s marriage would be very weak if Michael Cohen had acted alone. Why would Cohen care about Melania’s perception of Trump more than Trump himself? The Melania defense is much stronger now.

Politically, however, the president of the United States has acknowledged paying hush money to a porn actress and acknowledged that he knowingly and willfully lied to the press when asked about it.


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