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Following Cohen’s guilty plea, there has been much speculation that Trump himself could be indicted for campaign finance violations. Edmund DeMarche of Fox News reports:
President Trump on Monday denied the hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election were campaign contributions, instead calling them a “simple private transaction.” […]
Backer, a veteran campaign counsel, said it is common practice for high-profile individuals and companies to take part in these kinds of payment arrangements. He said Trump is a brand, he has carried out similar payments for years and these so-called “hush-buys” will likely continue.
“Brand protection is not a campaign contribution,” he told the magazine.
Prosecutors in New York, where Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance crimes in connection with those payments, wrote in the filing, “With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”
It remains to be seen if Cohen had any role in a so far unproven “Russian collusion” conspiracy. Despite Cohen pleading guilty to a campaign finance violation, it remains to be seen if there is enough evidence to prove that the payment on Trump’s part was to influence the campaign and not simply protecting his business interests.