Trump’s Tweet About Michael Cohen Is Completely Wrong

No, Obama did not do what Trump is accused of.

Bryan Smith/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump broke his silence on Michael Cohen’s plea agreement—which involved extraordinary statements implicating the president in federal crimes—to assert that the two campaign violation charges against Cohen are not actually crimes.

Trump also appeared to downplay the charges against Cohen by comparing them to fines paid by former President Barack Obama’s campaign committee for campaign finance reporting violations stemming from the 2008 election. The two cases could not be more starkly different, as the Obama violations involved reporting errors and missing reports, and Cohen’s plea involves a criminal plot, allegedly directed by the president. 

Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a total of eight counts, including two counts involving illegal contributions intended to sway the election.

Observers noted that Trump likely picked up the talking point from Fox News.

The president on Wednesday also appeared to lay the groundwork for a possible pardon for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was found guilty Tuesday on eight charges of bank and tax fraud. Trump continued to express sympathy for Manafort, who he said did not “break” like Cohen had. “Such respect for a brave man!” the president wrote.

In a more humorous tweet, Trump said he would “strongly suggest” against hiring Cohen for legal representation. Cohen, of course, served as Trump’s personal attorney for more than a decade.

Listen to Mother Jones Washington, DC, bureau chief David Corn discuss the consequences of the Paul Manafort conviction and Michael Cohen guilty plea on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend