The president is in legal peril.
In court filings on Friday prosecutors connected him to a crime involving hush-money payments to women who claim to have had affairs with him – revealed that contacts with Russia began earlier in his campaign than previously thought and unravelled webs of lies spun by former lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chair Paul Manafort.
Matthew Miller – a former justice department spokesman – summed it up on Twitter: ‘The president and his lawyer violated campaign finance laws to influence the outcome of the election while his campaign chair was meeting with an intelligence asset of a foreign government that was trying to influence the outcome of the election. Not very legal and very cool‘.
One of the most damaging revelations was not related to Russia but rather a sex scandal.
Cohen bought the silence of pornographic film actor and director Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – both of whom allege affairs with Trump – which the White House denies.
Daniels was paid $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement signed days before the 2016 election.
Campaign finance law requires candidates to report any payments made to influence the election.
The Trump campaign failed to do so.
Prosecutors in New York – where Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance crimes – said the lawyer ‘acted in coordination and at the direction’ of Trump.
Although Cohen had implicated him – it was the first time prosecutors linked Trump to the crime.