CNN thought it had a bombshell.
The network has been conspiring to destroy the Trump presidency for nearly two years and the network thought it held the smoking gun that would bring down Trump once and for all.
But when the dust all settled there was a secret tape that was very bad news for CNN.
Anchor Chris Cuomo was given a recording of Trump and attorney Michael Cohen discussing a possible payment to a woman who alleged an affair with Trump in 2006.
Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis – who is a notorious Clinton hatchet man from the 1990s – gave the recording to CNN’s Cuomo because Davis claimed Cohen wanted to rehabilitate his reputation after the FBI raided his home and office back in April.
Davis is pitching Cohen as a man who has realized the error of his ways and is now willing to tell truth about power.
Cohen has stated he believes the intelligence community that Russia meddled in the election and sources close to Cohen – most likely Davis – have stated Cohen does not believe Trump is fit to be President.
The culmination of this effort was leaking the recording of Cohen and Trump’s conversation to CNN.
There was no criminal activity contained in the tap, but Davis cast it as an example of Cohen willing to come clean.
That story didn’t even last the week.
The Wall Street Journal reported Cohen had previously recorded a two-hour conversation with Cuomo where Cohen stated as a fact he had set up the October 2016 payment to Stormy Daniels on his own.
During the conversation, Cohen told Cuomo that he wasn’t being recorded and that the payment to Daniels had nothing to do with the campaign.
Sources familiar with the conversation exclusively told the Wall Street Journal:
“During the conversation with Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Cohen assured the reporter that he wasn’t running a tape, according to the people familiar with the matter. He told Mr. Cuomo he was placing the phone in his desk drawer and that the conversation was off the record. The phone appeared to record the entire conversation, the people said.
It isn’t clear whether Mr. Cohen makes any indication on the tape that he arranged the payment to Ms. Clifford in order to bolster Mr. Trump’s campaign. If Mr. Cohen did pay Ms. Clifford to help the candidate’s chances of being elected, he and the campaign may have violated campaign finance law by making an in-kind contribution exceeding the legal limit and by not disclosing the contribution.”
At one point, asked if the payment could be construed as an in-kind contribution, Mr. Cohen responds:
“It wasn’t for the campaign. It was for him,” referring to Mr. Trump, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
This recording undercuts Cohen’s credibility and CNN’s case that Trump committed an impeachable offense or criminal act.
The entire reason CNN and other anti-Trump media outlets are making a big issue over the Stormy Daniels payment is they believe it was a criminal act by the President.
Trump-hating journalists made the case that Trump did not report the payment to Daniels as a campaign expense and therefore he is in violation of FEC rules.
Whiles these cases are normally handled with a civil fine – Obama’s campaign was once fined $375,000 – anti-Trump activists in the media contended Trump’s conduct was a conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws that could lead to an indictment or impeachment.
But as the recording of Cohen makes clear, the payment was not intended to benefit the campaign.
This allows Trump to argue that the payment Cohen made was a normal business practice that was done to spare Trump’s family public shame.
The Cohen recording was another example of Trump-hating media outlets believing they finally stumbled upon the proof that Trump was a criminal and would be tossed from the White House in shame.
But like the Mueller investigation, James Comey’s Congressional testimony, the Access Hollywood tape, and the Putin press conference, the Cohen recording will be another media manufactured “bombshell” that turns out to be a dud.
Do you agree?
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