President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed he is the victim of a double standard, complaining that he has been unfairly scrutinized in the wake of his former attorney’s guilty plea related to campaign finance law violations, even though former President Barack Obama “easily settled” his own campaign finance case.
“Michael Cohen plead [sic] guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”
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Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of making contributions in excess of $25,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election.
Trump’s former lawyer told a federal court on Tuesday that he made two payments, one for $150,000 in the summer of 2016 and another in Oct. 2016 of $130,000, both at the direction of Trump. The payments were to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, both of whom have claimed to have had affairs with Trump. The president has denied those allegations.
Cohen also filed invoices to the Trump Organization to be reimbursed for those payments, masking them as services rendered for 2017 even though he did not provide legal services to the president that year.
The crimes carry a maximum sentence of 65 years, but sentencing guidelines recommend 46-63 months of prison time.
Obama’s 2008 campaign was fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission after the campaign failed to provide a 48-hour notice for nearly 1,300 contributions that totaled more than $1.8 million. Notices must be filed on contributions of $1,000 or more that are revived within 20 days of Election Day.
Obama’s campaign paid $230,000, with the Democratic National Committee paying the rest of the amount.