President Donald Trump found himself at the center of even more legal and ethical scandals after his former attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted in court to violating campaign finance laws at the direction of the president.
Trump took to Fox and Friends in an effort to push back against the allegations, but as Obama ethics expert Norm Eisen points out, he may have made things even worse:
In his interview with Ainsely Earhardt, Trump stated that he didn’t know about the hush money Cohen paid to two women in exchange for their silence on alleged affairs with Mr. Trump. According to Eisen, Trump did not disclose this on 2017 financial disclosure forms, which is a federal crime in violation of 18 U.S. Code, Section 1001 which prohibits false statements and is punishable with up to five years in prison.
Eisen reiterated his point on CNN:
The president, in his usual clumsy way, has stumbled into another federal crime because he signed his federal financial disclosures under false statements penalty. 18 U.S.C. 1001. Guess what? If you owe somebody money, he just said ‘yes I knew about the payments.’ He repaid Michael Cohen. He had to list that on his forms. He ommitted!
Another government ethics attorney, Walter Shaub, explained the allegation at length.
The accusations come as the White House scrambles to distance itself from Cohen’s testimony.