White House advisor Kellyanne Conway on Thursday defended President Donald Trump's denials that he knew about illegal hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal shortly before the 2016 election.
Conway appeared on CNN and meandered through a series of non-answers when asked why Trump initially lied about knowing about the payments. Conway insisted Trump learned of the payments in April and said:
"The President said he never directed Cohen to break the law."
Trump's prison-bound former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and AMI's David Pecker have since told investigators that Trump instructed them to violate campaign finance laws to keep the affairs he had with Daniels and McDougal quiet ahead of the election.
Watch Conway and Cuomo below:
Trump was at the illegal hush money meeting, source says CNN's @ChrisCuomo: "Pecker said he was at the meeting. Co… https://t.co/wNOOVoOKqS— Cuomo Prime Time (@Cuomo Prime Time) 1544755353.0
Following her stint on CNN, Conway's husband George, an attorney, took to Twitter to seemingly contradict his wife's argument.
"Given that Trump has repeatedly lied about the Daniels and McDougal payments," wrote Conway, "and given that he lies about virtually everything else, to the point that his own former personal lawyer described him as a “f****ing liar”—why should we take his word over that of federal prosecutors?"
Given that Trump has repeatedly lied about the Daniels and McDougal payments—and given that he lies about virtually… https://t.co/BKzD9gIpNI— George Conway (@George Conway) 1544756977.0
Conway's tweets are always a hit, but oh to be a fly on the wall in that house.
@gtconway3d You & your wife are the best subplot of season 2.— 💙💙JUSTICE💙💙 (@💙💙JUSTICE💙💙) 1544762032.0
@gtconway3d @jaketapper Is this your version of foreplay?— Barry Kaplan (@Barry Kaplan) 1544766082.0
@gtconway3d Wow dinner time at your house must be on fire.— RitzyRitz (@RitzyRitz) 1544761656.0
@gtconway3d Audience of one. @KellyannePolls— Rick Mylectum (@Rick Mylectum) 1544761268.0
@gtconway3d @MalcolmNance I'm at the point where I think this is a fetish for the two of you.— Richard M. Mixin' (@Richard M. Mixin') 1544764251.0
Also on Friday, Conway published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he explains why the payments made to Daniels and McDougal constitute breaches of campaign finance laws.
Conway contrasted Trump's case with that of John Edwards, who was popped for paying his mistress to keep quiet during the 2008 election cycle.
"Trump’s payments to his former sexual partners were made many years after the actual affairs," wrote George Conway. "The payments to Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, were made in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, immediately after the “Access Hollywood” scandal broke, when Daniels was in negotiation with national media outlets to go public with her story. This timing strongly suggests that the payments were campaign-related."
Tapes of Cohen and Trump discussing the payments in 2015 totally undermine Trump's claims of having no knowledge, Conway said.
"There is no reason to think that Trump’s attempt to paint these as personal payments is any less of a lie than his attempt to say he didn’t know about them," Conway noted. "If Cohen had made the payments as a purely personal matter for Trump, separate and apart from Trump’s candidacy, Cohen would not have consulted with the campaign about doing so."
The money paid to McDougal came from AMI represents a clear violation because "the use of corporate funds to make a contribution to a presidential campaign has been illegal for decades," Conway wrote, meaning "the offense in Trump’s case significantly more serious than the charges against Edwards."
Finally, Conway shreds Trump's "everyone breaks the law" excuse, which was parroted by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Hatch earlier this week said he did not care if Trump broke the law because Trump is "doing a good job as president."
Conway concluded that maintaining the rule of law must be a national priority.
Beyond the campaign finance violations, there is still much the public does not know about Trump's criminal activities, particularly relating to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump's ties to Russia and obstruction of justice.
@washingtonpost Get him the heck out of WH. Why can’t a sitting POTUS be arrested and prosecuted. Why is he above t… https://t.co/yCdy78Gh8H— Kathy Wagner (@Kathy Wagner) 1544799754.0
@washingtonpost Trump didn’t need accountant advice to know a shell company opened to pay a porn star wasn’t going… https://t.co/DsxzM6E7X6— Orrite Then (@Orrite Then) 1544799660.0
@washingtonpost Republicans all know Trump committed crimes worthy of impeachment by now. When do we get started?— 🇺🇸🇵🇷 Name is Bishop🌊 (@🇺🇸🇵🇷 Name is Bishop🌊) 1544799419.0
Calls for impeachment proceedings have begun to percolate through political circles, though some, including elected officials, believe Trump should be indicted.
We are deep into uncharted territory, and things are looking increasingly treacherous for Trump.