Trump Claims He’s Not Concerned About Impeachment, Calls His Campaign’s Russia Ties ‘Peanut Stuff’
December 12, 2018
President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday he’s not concerned about being impeached because his connections to Russia are “peanut stuff” and the campaign finance crimes he’s been implicated in are actually civil violations.
In what marks some of his first-ever comments on the sensitive topic, Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview the prospect of impeachment doesn’t keep him up at night because he claimed “people would revolt if that happened.”
“The stuff you’re talking about is peanut stuff,” Trump told the outlet when pressed on his campaign’s various ties to the Kremlin and special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent revelations that the president spent the run-up to the 2016 election misleading the public about the extent of his business dealings in Russia.
Beyond shadowy Russia ties, Trump was implicated in campaign finance violations in a sentencing memo issued by federal prosecutors in New York last week stating the president directed his former personal fixer Michael Cohen to pay off two women shortly before the 2016 election after they threatened to go public with claims they had sex with him over a decade ago.
In Tuesday’s interview, Trump placed the blame squarely on Cohen, only to inaccurately assert the hush payments didn’t actually constitute campaign crimes.
“Michael Cohen is a lawyer. I assume he would know what he’s doing,” Trump said. “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?”
In addition to being an unindicted co-conspirator in Cohen’s sentencing memo, campaign finance experts have concluded Trump is culpable since court filings affirm he coordinated the illegal payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal in an effort to help his chances at winning the election.
The president’s impeachment musings come on the heels of top Democrats seriously broaching the subject for the first time since he took office.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who would oversee the first step in potential impeachment proceedings as the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said recently that Trump’s campaign finance violations are “certainly” impeachable.
Meanwhile, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who’s expected to become the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, raised the possibility of Trump being criminally charged once he leaves office.
“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” Schiff said recently on CBS.
A senior Democratic congressional aide speculated late Tuesday that Trump’s latest comments are emblematic of someone’s who’s scared.
“He’s sure acting as a guilty person,” the aide told the Daily News. “So do we believe the president? We certainly don’t.”
©2018 New York Daily News
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