Donald Trump Claims Hush Payments During 2016 Campaign Were Legal

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For the first time, the USA leader has been linked to a federal crime, and now there's even talk that he could face jail time over it.

"My view is that he can be indicted but cannot be prosecuted until leaving office because the disruption to the government of the prosecution would be far more than the Constitution tolerates", Napolitano said.

US prosecutors on Friday sought prison time for Cohen, Trump's self-proclaimed "fixer", for the payments they said were made in "coordination with and at the direction of" Trump, as well as on charges of evading taxes and lying to Congress.

In legal filings on Friday, the Justice Department stopped short of accusing Mr Trump of directly committing a crime. Congress, on the other hand, can at any time impeach and remove a president for "high crimes and misdemeanors".

The Trump Organization's reimbursements to Mr. Cohen for payments were fraudulently disguised as legal fees - and, according to the memo, were approved by senior executives at the organization.

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President Donald Trump talks to reporters prior to boarding Marine One as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 8.

While McCarthy pointed out that Justice Department guidance says a sitting president can't be indicted, Trump could face charges when he leaves office.

Trump has argued that the payments - which he first denied knowledge of - weren't campaign contributions because his own money and not campaign funds were used for the payments.

Friday's sentencing memo by the Southern District of NY for the first time publicly leveled the accusation that that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

'Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1, ' the prosecutors wrote.

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"You don't necessarily launch an impeachment against the president because he committed an impeachable offense", Nadler said. He has denied wrongdoing.

"The pieces of the mosaic or the puzzle are coming into place, and the walls are closing in on Donald Trump, and his inner circle, including his family", Blumenthal said.

Rubio said it would be a "terrible mistake" if Trump pardoned Manafort, saying that "could trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended". It's not obvious from the filing that this Russian was in a position to facilitate such collusion and many details of the charges remain redacted.

"I don't know that this will forever disappear into some dark hole of unprosecutable presidents", Mr Dean told CNN.

"I think it is important for us to get the full report from the special investigator, but let's be clear: we have reached a new level in the investigation". I think what this totality of today's filings show (is) that the House is going to have little choice, the way this is going, other than to start impeachment proceedings. Again, if true, that makes Trump as guilty as Cohen. The violation occurred when Cohen made the payments and cooked the books to hide them.

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