Another day, another “we’ve got him now. No, really, we’ve really, truly, madly, deeply got him, now!” series of headlines from the establishment media about President Donald Trump.
This time the focus is on campaign finance.
And once again, voters are left to their own devices to figure out what the truth really is and if there actually is a crime involved. Add to that the way the establishment media addressed the topic when President Barack Obama was involved in similar “scandals,” and you have more evidence as to why the establishment media outlets are so often called “fake news.”
The latest “Get Trump” establishment media feeding frenzy stems from a plea deal made by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges against him, including two alleged campaign finance violations. One involved a payment of $130,000 in 2016 from then-candidate Trump to porn star Stormy Daniels. The other involved coordinating a $150,000 payment by the National Enquirer’s publisher to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A great breakdown of the situation comes from radio and television personality Mark Levin, who is also a lawyer and worked in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration.
Appearing on “Hannity,” Levin offered his “help” to the “the law professors, the constitutional experts, the criminal defense lawyers, the former prosecutors, and of course the professors” in regards to “what the law is” surrounding the campaign finance issue and Michael Cohen plea deal.
“The general counsel for the Clinton Mob Family, Lanny Davis, he had his client plead to two counts of criminality that don’t exist. These campaign finance violations that they are saying all over TV implicates the president directly.”
“First, let’s back up. It’s a guilty plea. It is a plea bargain between a prosecutor and a criminal. A criminal who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in prison. That is not precedent. That applies only to that specific case,” Levin said.
“Nobody cites plea bargains for precedent. That’s number one.
“Number two: Just because a prosecutor says that somebody violated a campaign law, doesn’t make it so. He’s not the judge, he’s not the jury. We didn’t adjudicate anything–it never went to court. That’s number two.
“A campaign expenditure, under our federal campaign laws, is an expenditure solely for campaign activity. A candidate who spends his own money, or even corporate money, for an event that occurred not as a result of the campaign, it is not a campaign expenditure.”
Levin then gave some examples, one being a candidate for office having disputes with a vendor and not wanting the negative publicity. In this scenario, the hypothetical candidate instructs his private attorney to just pay the vendors and he (the candidate) will reimburse the attorney.”
Levin adds that this is “perfectly legal” and a “point” made that such an act would “influence an election” was “stupid.”
Earlier this year, Newsweek tackled the “the question of whether longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s $130,000 hush money payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels was an illegal campaign contribution.” Ex-Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith told Newsweek in March that, “It looks like Trump has made these kinds of payments to people before unrelated to his campaign or as a candidate. It’s hard to show this payment was made solely because he was running for election.”
By way of comparison as to how the media handled a “campaign finance scandal” when it came to Trump’s predecessor, let’s first ask if anyone was aware there even was one.
In one of the few mainstream media reports about it, a U.S. News & World Report headline from 2013 announced, “Obama Campaign Fined Big for Hiding Donors, Keeping Illegal Donations.”
The article went on to note that, “The FEC levied one of its largest fines ever against Obama’s campaign committee, new documents show.” The Federal Election Commission fined his campaign $375,000 for “a failure to disclose or improperly disclosing thousands of contributions to Obama for America during the then-senator’s 2008 presidential run.”
More specifically, citing the FEC, the article stated that “the Obama campaign failed to disclose the sources of 1,300 large donations, which together accounted for nearly $1.9 million. Election Commission rules state campaigns must report donations of $1,000 or more within 20 days of Election Day.”
“Obama for America was also fined for ‘untimely resolution of excessive contributions,’ according to the conciliation agreement, FEC says,” the report continues. “The campaign accepted more than $1.3 million in contributions that came from donors who had already given $46,000 — the maximum allowed by FEC rules. The campaign eventually refunded the excess cash but did not do so within the 60-day window allotted for resolving such cases.
“In addition to failing to report big donors and excess donations in a timely manner, the Obama campaign incorrectly dated the filings dealing with $85 million in funds, the FEC claims. This error appears to have been primarily the result of one transfer to the campaign committee from the Obama Victory Fund, a fundraising group that includes money raised by the Democratic National Committee that is earmarked for the presidential race.”
Do you remember the media having a field-day with the news and screaming for Obama to be impeached?
Was anyone sent to jail over actual mishandling of actual campaign funds? (No Russians were implicated in the commission of those violations of federal election law, either.)
The sharp contrast between the two situations is undeniable.
To anyone with eyes to read, there is a distinct appearance of the establishment media using extreme measures to smear a sitting president and build public pressure for impeachment. Neither of which is the duty of a free press or an honorable Fourth Estate.