Fmr Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal: The Big News Tonight Is Prosecutors Saying ‘Trump Committed a Felony’


Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal cut to the chase with Ari Melber tonight on the biggest takeaway from the Michael Cohen sentencing memo:

“The big news tonight is not about Michael Cohen, it’s not about Paul Manafort, it’s about one person, Donald Trump, and this filing that you just started to highlight that was made today in the Michael Cohen case really does––for the first time you have federal prosecutors essentially saying that Donald Trump committed a felony.”

The SDNY memo that recommends a “substantial” prison term for Cohen also contains this notable section:

“During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the right to stories –– each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual-1 –– so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.”

And as Katyal highlighted, they rather directly state the principal purpose was to “prevent the story from influencing the election.”

Katyal said prosecutors would certainly be able to bring a case “if this were any ordinary individual.” But there is the issue of the DOJ previously saying you cannot indict and try a sitting president.

Melber directly asked, “Are you basically telling us tonight, Neal, that if Donald Trump had lost the election, this is the kind of thing that as a citizen he would be indicted for along with Michael Cohen and it’s because he won the election––which this new filing argues was part of what Michael Cohen thought would help him win the election was this crime––that there’s a kind of a reward then? A bonus?”

“Exactly,” Katyal said.

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac