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So what does Cohen guilty plea really mean?

President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen is facing prison time after he pled guilty on eight counts of financial fraud, tax evasion, and other violations.

The plea came after what some consider unusual and severe pressure brought to bear on Michael Cohen, his family, friends and associates by prosecutors.

But most news outlets are choosing to ignore an important fact. One of those reporting the entire picture is Politico.

The respected left-leaning website has pointed out the documents outlining Cohen’s plea deal do not provide any examples or evidence that Trump directed Cohen to do anything.

Cohen’s statement is that the president directed him to pay off two women who each claim to have had affairs with the president.

It’s not clear yet what this all means for the president, but Cohen did point a finger of blame directly at the commander in chief, saying Trump told him to do it.

Cohen’s plea of “he made me do it” may come under scrutiny as it is compared to a secret recording Cohen made of a conversation with Trump before Trump became president. In the audio Cohen can be heard clearly informing the president what he is initiating as his lawyer. Trump calmly responds telling Cohen to make sure it is all properly documented. At no time in the secret recording does Trump appear to be directing the actions but rather making sure it is all legal.

Media outlets at the time, including the New York Times and ABC News, reported that the plan was allegedly “devised by Cohen”–a contradiction to Cohen’s plea this week.

Cohen implicated Trump when he pled guilty to violating campaign finance rules by paying two women who claimed they had had a relationship with Trump over 10 years ago.

Those allegations have never been proven and some point out that powerful people are often the subject of frivolous accusations which are then silenced by pay-offs.

Whether Trump paid off an accuser is not the issue in the eyes of the prosecution but rather if campaign funds were used to do so.

Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Robert Khuzami who has been openly hostile to Trump for years said, “Mr. Cohen pled guilty to two campaign finance charges, one for causing an unlawful corporate contribution and a second one for personally making an excessive personal contribution, both for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.”

Eleven days before the election, Cohen paid that $130,000 to Stormy Daniels who claimed she had a one-night stand with Trump.

It’s not clear if Trump broke the law and legal experts say it would be hard to prove in court. But Cohen’s lawyer, former Clinton administration official and close friend of Hillary Clinton Lanny Davis, told MSNBC that Trump is guilty but did not offer up any facts to support his claim.

“It was a crime for President Trump to direct Michael Cohen to the crime of a campaign finance donation that exceeded the legal limitations,” Davis said.

Again, Politico reports that Cohen’s plea deal lacks one thing: facts implicating Trump.

And the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said there was “no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president.”

But legal experts say there could be problems for the president if he is heard on other tapes directing Cohen to pay the women with campaign funds.

Cohen’s guilty plea could add to Democratic calls to impeach the president.

Legal analysts say a sitting president cannot be indicted, but he can be impeached, which is a political, not a criminal response.

Harvard Law School Prof. Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a respected liberal lawyer, has confounded what he says are his “former” liberal friends for not towing the line on the Democratic impeachment agenda. Dershowitz explained, “Violation of election laws are regarded as kind of jaywalking in the realm of things about elections, and there are so many of them. Every administration violates the election laws. Every candidate violates the election laws when they run for president.”

The Obama campaign broke numerous campaign finance laws totaling almost $2 million. It was settled, not with impeachment, but with the campaign paying almost $400,000 in fines.

In addition to the two campaign finance counts, Cohen is also facing one count of giving a false statement to a bank and five counts of tax evasion.

He could face up to 65 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines only recommend around four to five years.

Meanwhile, Cohen’s guilty plea came at almost the same time that former short-term Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight of 18 counts of financial crimes that took place a decade before he began working for the president. A mistrial was declared in 10 of the 18 counts as a result of a hung jury. The conviction arises from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, even though it has nothing to with Russia collusion.

But for now, the focus is clearly on Cohen’s case, and the implications it may or may not have for President Trump.

–Metro Voice and wire services

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