Statement of Common Cause V.P. for Policy & Litigation Paul S. Ryan
Today’s sentencing of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen speaks to the seriousness of the crimes committed, which is why we filed complaints with the Department of Justice alleging these violations earlier this year. Our complaints also alleged that then-candidate Donald Trump violated campaign finance laws and DOJ filings at Cohen’s sentencing identify a co-conspirator, “Individual-1,” who is clearly none other than President Trump. Despite the Republican apologists in Congress making light of Trump’s involvement, these are serious crimes with significant penalties associated with them as Cohen’s sentence reflects. These laws are in place to protect the integrity of our elections and they must be enforced. No American is above the law, not even the President.
Clearly Cohen knew that he was breaking campaign finance laws—he pleaded guilty to “knowing and willful” violations of the law. And as a lawyer, Cohen would have advised his client, Donald Trump, that what Trump was directing him to do was illegal. This makes it probable that Trump also met the “knowing and willful” standard committing his campaign finance law violations, which makes those violations crimes, as opposed to civil violations. The remaining question is whether President Trump will be held accountable for these violations.
To read the original complaint, click here.
To read the amended complaint, click here.
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