Though she tried her best not to tell the House Judiciary Committee anything when she testified this week, former White House Communications Director and longtime Trump confidante Hope Hicks managed to let a few facts slip out, and at least one of those could be a legal problem for the president.
Specifically, there’s what Hicks had to say regarding those hush money payments made to two women — Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal — by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. Here’s the exchange between Hicks and a committee staff attorney:
Q: It’s another text message exchange between yourself and Michael Cohen, November 5th, 2016. Do you recall what you were discussing in this exchange? Would it be helpful to read out loud into the record? I just was going to spare you, but —
HICKS No. No. That’s okay. Thank you. Yes, I remember. We were discussing the traction the Wall Street Journal story regarding Karen McDougal was getting.
Q: When you made statements during the campaign that the President did not have any relationship with Stormy Daniels, did you have a basis for saying that? Did the President tell you that he did not have a relationship?
HICKS: Again, I was relaying information from the reporter to the different parties involved, primarily Michael and Mr. Trump, and that was the response that was dictated to me. I didn’t ask about the nature of the relationships.
As Cody Fenwick of Salon notes, what Hicks said is a very big problem for the president:
“But one section of the transcript, first flagged to me by Vox’s Andrew Prokop, jumped out as an especially damning exchange that strengthens the already powerful case that Trump is guilty of federal crimes.
“And when Hicks testified Wednesday to the Judiciary Committee, her testimony confirmed key facts that would be necessary to prove Trump committed a crime.
“To see why, it’s important to realize why the payments were criminal. Campaign finance laws require candidates to report all expenditures on their campaigns. These contributions by Cohen himself (later reimbursed by Trump and reportedly disguised as a legal retainer) and by American Media, Inc., were never properly reported and, indeed, were intentionally concealed. This is part of the reason Cohen is in jail.”
Exactly! If it was a crime for Cohen to pay hush money to Daniels and McDougal, then it was a crime for Trump to participate in those payoffs, meaning he’s also guilty of felony campaign finance violations. That carries a possible sentence of five years in prison for each count. Since two women were paid off, Trump is looking at a decade behind bars.
The truth always winds up coming out, no matter how hard someone tries to hide it. And what transpired this week in the House Judiciary Committee is the surest evidence yet that Trump is indeed a criminal.