Michael Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal attorney, admitted Tuesday to violating federal campaign finance laws by arranging hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal "at the direction" of then-candidate Trump.
In entering the plea, Cohen did not specifically name the two women or even Trump, recounting instead that he worked with an "unnamed candidate." But the amounts and the dates all lined up with the payments made to Daniels and McDougal.
In total, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution.
Senior Fellow At The National Review Institute Andrew McCarthy joined Fox News Radio's Guy Benson and Marie Harf to give insight into how it affects President Trump that Cohen plead guilty to campaign finance violations.
On Cohen's charges of campaign finance violations: There's a lot of chatter out there about whether Cohen plead guilty to something that was actually a crime. There's one line of thinking that goes along the lines of they had Cohen over a barrel over the tax charges and in order to get him to resolve the case because they are really going after Trump they had him plea guilty as part of that to these campaign finance charges, which may or may not be crimes but it makes it look worse for Trump if they get somebody to say there's a crime and then implicate him in it. I really don't buy that for a variety of reasons. I worked in that office for 20 years and it happens, I didn't realize this until yesterday, but the guy that is representing Cohen is Guy Petrillo who is another prosecutor I've known for a number of years. Actually, he was my appellate editor on the blind shake brief back in the mid-90's. He's a really good lawyer. I know him well, but he's a really really good lawyer and a really ethical one. Knowing that office and that lawyer there is no way somebody pleads guilty to something that isn't a crime. (1:18)
On if it is a high crime: I think it would not fall in the category of high crimes and misdemeanors. I think in the greater scheme of things it's the kind of offense that is routinely committed. I wouldn't want to say there is a rampant violations of this, but there is a fair amount of them and there is a great number that haven't been handled as if they were criminal. On the other side of that coin Congress doesn't have to have a crime, a penal offense in order to impeach. To my mind it doesn't rise to the level of an egregious offense that goes to a public officials' fiduciary responsibilities to his office. (6:28)
On Sessions and Trump: He is the president's appointee. You can disagree with him on the recusal. I disagreed with him on the recusal. I think the recusal was overly broad. I think there was a basis for some recusal, but not as sweeping as the one he recused. I think man put your big boy pants on. If you're going to fire him then fire him. (9:49)
On Trump saying it should be illegal to flip: Nine times out of ten or more the only way you make these big cases and actually get at the insulated players is by getting somebody who an accomplice to coorperate. There is simply no other way to get that kind of proof. (12:03)