STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

GOP shrugs at Trump's involvement in Cohen crimes

President Donald Trump on Friday was implicated ...

Posted: Dec 11, 2018 8:40 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2018 8:40 PM

President Donald Trump on Friday was implicated by prosecutors in two crimes committed by his former attorney Michael Cohen.

But Republicans are mostly shrugging their shoulders.

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Investigations

Law and legal system

Michael Cohen

Misc people

Orrin Hatch

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Robert Mueller

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Sentencing

US Congress

US federal government

US political parties

US Republican Party

US Senate

White House

Criminal offenses

Democrats are suggesting Trump committed an impeachable offense and could be sent to prison in the aftermath of Friday's filing from the US Attorney's office in Manhattan, in which federal prosecutors said for the first time that Trump directed Cohen when Cohen committed crimes by paying women for their silence about alleged affairs. Republicans on Monday, however, downplayed the possible danger for Trump when asked about the new allegations, questioning whether Cohen's story was credible and saying they wanted to reserve judgment until all of the facts come out from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the retiring Utah Republican and most-senior GOP senator, strongly dismissed the federal government's allegations that Trump committed two crimes by directing Cohen to make the hush money payments.

Asked if he had any concerns that Trump was implicated, Hatch told CNN: "The Democrats will do anything to hurt this President." Informed it was alleged by federal prosecutors in New York, Hatch said: "OK, but I don't care, all I can say is he's doing a good job as President."

Hatch added, "You're talking about things that happened before he became president."

Other senators questioned whether the allegations from Cohen that Trump was involved were credible, given the source was a known liar. Trump on Saturday denied that he directed Cohen to make the payments.

"As long as Cohen's a liar, I shouldn't give much credibility to what he says," said outgoing Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who will run the Finance Committee next year.

Cohen first made the allegation in court in September that he was directed by Trump to make the payments to the two women. But prosecutors endorsed the allegation in a sentencing document for Cohen on Friday, in which they said Cohen should receive a "substantial sentence" for the crimes he committed, which included campaign finance violations for the payments to the two women, tax fraud and lying to Congress.

Grassley said that the federal prosecutors got their "information from a liar."

Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, questioned both that prosecutors would rely on Cohen's information and also that the allegations had strayed from the original Russia collusion investigation from the special counsel.

"Jesus loves him, but everybody else thinks he's an idiot," Kennedy told reporters. "He's obviously a sleaze-oid grifter. And if I were a prosecutor, I wouldn't base a prosecution on evidence given to me by Mr. Cohen."

"Look I'm not minimizing it, this campaign finance act is important," Kennedy added. "But No. 1, it's a long way from collusion with a foreign agent to influence the election in 2016, which is what I thought this was about. No. 2, Campaign Finance Act violations are, generally, civil matters." He noted sometimes they are also criminal cases, such as the unsuccessful prosecution of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and has spent ample time investigating the Clinton email controversy, said that the federal probe would limit his ability to look into the Cohen scandal.

"I'm not sure how we would even get that information," he said when asked if his panel would examine Trump's involvement in the hush-money scheme.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who will be the No. 2 Senate Republican next year, said it was "premature" to judge how the Cohen developments would impact the broader investigation and Trump.

"I mean, until we know all the details -- it's a sentencing filing," Thune said. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot more come out from the Southern District (of New York) and, at some point, from the Mueller investigation as well. So, it's hard to read too much into it."

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she needed to wait to see all of Mueller's findings before determining whether the President may have broken the law.

"We have to get all the facts and I'm going to wait until Mr. Mueller concludes his investigation. I've not reviewed the filings that you've referred to," she said of the Cohen sentencing filing.

"I don't know that it changes things much," said Sen. Roy Blunt, who will be the No. 4 Senate Republican next year. "I think you would have to have more than this happen before anything changes much."

Hatch suggested the allegations from Cohen were being blown out of proportion in order to attack Trump.

"I don't think he was involved in crimes but even then, you know, you can make anything a crime under the current laws if you want to, you can blow it way out of proportion, you can do a lot of things," Hatch said. "All I can say is this: President Trump, before he became President, that's another world."

This story has been updated.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Scottsboro
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 51316

Reported Deaths: 645
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11793200
Davidson11089122
Rutherford298735
Hamilton278135
Sumner161052
Trousdale14985
Williamson131315
Out of TN11857
Knox11717
Wilson94117
Putnam8837
Robertson83411
Sevier8043
Bradley7073
Lake6920
Tipton6455
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6201
Bedford5705
Montgomery5547
Macon4654
Maury3543
Hardeman3434
Hamblen3404
Fayette3172
Madison2992
Loudon2871
Rhea2860
Dyer2511
McMinn23718
Cheatham2301
Blount2273
Dickson2090
Cumberland1814
Washington1650
Lawrence1636
Lauderdale1453
Anderson1422
Monroe1406
Jefferson1360
Gibson1291
Smith1201
Coffee1190
Sullivan1172
Obion1122
Hardin1087
Greene1032
Cocke940
Haywood922
Marshall911
Franklin873
Wayne860
Hickman800
Warren760
Marion734
McNairy730
White703
DeKalb670
Lincoln640
Weakley641
Grundy621
Overton621
Roane620
Giles601
Carter591
Hawkins572
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll471
Henderson460
Claiborne450
Polk450
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie420
Crockett383
Cannon370
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys281
Jackson270
Morgan271
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Clay170
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events