Thanks to a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III on Wednesday, we now have more documents that prove President Donald Trump likely committed the very same crime (campaign finance violations) that his former attorney, Michael Cohen, is currently in prison for and that Hope Hicks, who served as communications director for the administration, is guilty of perjuring herself in sworn testimony before Congress.
First, let’s deal with Trump.
As Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) noted on Twitter after the documents in the Cohen case were released earlier today, the president did indeed commit crimes:
There was ample evidence to charge Trump with same campaign crimes Cohen went to prison for.
Were Trump not the sitting president, he would be likely be criminally charged as Cohen’s co-conspirator.
Congress must make sure that Barr has done nothing to interfere with the case. https://t.co/EVtLt3GAld
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 18, 2019
Keep in mind that such a crime would indeed fall under the heading of “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution says a president may be impeached for. So while some may say there’s no reason to impeach Trump, that’s just not true. Campaign finance felonies and obstruction of justice (which is laid out in the Mueller report) are both more than enough to begin a full impeachment inquiry.
And then there’s Hope Hicks, who had this exchange with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) in June:
Jackson Lee: “Were you ever present when Trump and Cohen discussed Stormy Daniels?”
Hicks: “No, ma’am.”
Jackson Lee: “You were never present when they discussed Stormy Daniels?”
But according to the documents released Thursday, that’s a blatant lie and was told under oath. Here’s what was in one of those documents from Cohen’s case:
“a. On October 8, 2016, at approximately 7:20 p.m., Cohen received a call from Hicks. Sixteen seconds into the call, Trump joined the call, and the call continued for over four minutes. Based on the toll records that the USAO has obtained to date, I believe that this was the first call Cohen has received or made to Hicks in at least multiple weeks, and that Cohen and Trump spoke on the telephone about once a month prior to this date — specifically, prior to this call on Oct 8, 2016, Cohen and Trump had spoken once in May, once in June, once in July, zero times in August, and twice in September.”
Hicks was on that phone call (and others) Cohen made to Trump, and she must have known about the hush money payments, since that’s what Cohen was discussing with his client. Therefore, Hicks lied under oath and can now be charged with perjury.
There will be more Cohen documents and revelations in the days ahead. Don’t be surprised if they implicate others (most notably Trump) in various felonies. That means it’s time to kick off the impeachment inquiry and let the American people see all of the evidence.