FEC Commissioner Reminds Bragg That Officials Concluded Trump Case Isn’t ‘a Campaign Finance Violation’
“I don’t know how you get around the evidence that both the Department of Justice in their investigation of the federal campaign finance issues and the Federal Election Commission in their ultimate jurisdiction over campaign finance issues, neither of them found there to be any violations whatsoever.”
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg is trying to convince everyone that former President Donald Trump committed a federal crime when he supposedly paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to shut up about a supposed affair.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) isn’t having it with Bragg. The DA must have forgotten the FEC and DOJ concluded if Trump did this, he did not commit a federal crime:
“It’s not a campaign finance violation. It’s not a reporting violation of any kind,” said FEC Commissioner James E. “Trey” Trainor.
In trying to stretch the law to make it look like a violation, he added, District Attorney Alvin Bragg “is really trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.”
In a 34-count indictment of Trump, the first criminal case ever against a former president, Bragg charged that a $130,000 payment made by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels, which Cohen went to jail for in a plea deal, violated several campaign finance laws that splashed onto Trump.
But, said Trainor, the FEC and Justice Department already considered the case and tossed it.
This is the @FEC hearing room. This is where campaign finance violations are tried. pic.twitter.com/OJFxVMiiUl
— Trey Trainor (@TXElectionLaw) April 4, 2023
If the alleged crime was federal, it would occur in the room in Trainor’s tweet. The FEC and DOJ prosecute campaign finance laws, not a local district attorney.
But then there’s Michael Cohen’s plea deal.
Here is what I said in 2021 about @realDonaldTrump matter currently being prosecuted in NY when it was before me @FEC. https://t.co/e7Mq6FFCjH The continued criminalization of participation in, and weponization of, the political process must stop. #1A #TrumpArrest
— Trey Trainor (@TXElectionLaw) April 4, 2023
The document posted in Trainor’s tweet makes me wonder if officials regret that Cohen took the blame in his plea deal:
Before the Commission could consider the Office of General Counsel’s (“OGC”) recommendations in these matters, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to an eight-count criminal information,2 and in connection thereto admitted, among other things, to making an excessive contribution in violation of the Act by making the Clifford payment from his personal funds. The plea hearing transcript includes a step by step review of how U.S. District Judge William Pauley verified the plea, confirming that a federal judge was sufficiently satisfied with the circumstances surrounding the plea deal and the responses given by Cohen at the hearing, including the explanations given by Cohen, count by count, during his allocution.4 Ultimately Mr. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $1.39 million in restitution, $500,000 in forfeiture, and $100,000 in fines for two campaign finance violations (including the payment at issue in these matters) and other charges. In sum, the public record is complete with respect to the conduct at issue in these complaints, and Mr. Cohen has been punished by the government of the United States for the conduct at issue in these matters.
“At the end of the day, there’s the person who committed the crime, and there’s the person who is behind bars because of it,” Trainor told The Washington Examiner.
The documents “in question came well after Trump’s 2016 election, so it couldn’t have been done to help his election.”
Trainor also said that nothing shows the payment and reimbursement happened to influence the 2016 election:
Third, it is not obvious that the reason for the payment and the reimbursement to Cohen was to influence the election, thus failing the “objective standard” of law. “It has to be something that anybody on the street can look at and say the only reason you did that was to influence the campaign,” said Trainor. “There’s a lot of reasons that he could have done it that aren’t related to him being a candidate for president, and so therefore, it wouldn’t have met the standard as campaign expenditure under federal law,” he added.
Also, the statute of limitations on the case was running out, and it wasn’t worth the time and expense to prosecute, he said.
“I don’t know how you get around the evidence that both the Department of Justice in their investigation of the federal campaign finance issues and the Federal Election Commission in their ultimate jurisdiction over campaign finance issues, neither of them found there to be any violations whatsoever, and I think the jury is going to see that and they’re going to have to rely upon the fact that both the law enforcement experts and the civil enforcement experts, as far as campaign finance are concerned, didn’t find any violation of the law here,” said Trainor.
Bragg and the court cannot get around that evidence if they follow the rules.
If this happened, then Trump committed a misdemeanor. If it’s a misdemeanor that also means a two-year statute of limitations. To make it a felony, you must show that he committed this crime to cover up another crime. In this case, Bragg alleges that Trump falsified business records to cover up a campaign-finance crime.
Remember, the civil trial of former President Theodore Roosevelt was transferred from its original venue to Syracuse, NY. #TrumpArrest
— Trey Trainor (@TXElectionLaw) April 4, 2023
Trump has legit reasons to move the trial. I doubt he will receive a fair trial no matter where he goes, but it’s obvious it won’t happen in New York City. Trump wouldn’t get a fair trial in NYC if this happened in the 80s or 90s without expanded media and social media.
In other words, it’s a clown show, and nothing will stick. The left will consider anything a win for them, except it keeps Trump in the spotlight, giving him an opportunity to gain more followers.
The left continues to play itself. They’re so blinded by their hatred of Trump that they’ll never learn.
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Any chance Trump’s legal team gets the whole thing thrown out on a summary judgment motion?
With this judge? The exact same one that presided over the laughable kangaroo court for the last Trump company trial?
You must be joking.
The hack actually let them schedule the next hearing in DECEMBER.
It would be summary judgment since it is criminal trial and not civil trial.
Though likely thrown out due to failure to state a crime and expiration of the statute of limitations. thrown out with predujice (criminal law equivilant)
Also appropriate to file ethics complaint against bragg. Similar to the ethics complaint against Nfong NC DA with the duke lacrosse case. Though it wont go any where in NY since the level of ethics is substantially lower in NY than NC
need an edit button
Should read – it would not be summary judgment since this is criminal trial and not civil trial.
though should be immediately dismissed – I suspect the judge will allow an amended charge. – hey its NY – what do you expect
It won’t be dismissed, at least not for failure to state a crime (namely, the predicate crime that elevates each count to a felony). Instead, the defense will be required to file a Request for Bill of Particulars to get that information. The prosecutors may even deny that request at first, requiring that the defense petition the court to compel them.
On top of that, since the predicate crime is part of the Bill of Particulars and not the indictment, prosecutors have a lot more wiggle room to amend it. They could probably name one predicate crime next month and come up with a completely different one two weeks before trial begins.
It seems New York law is very friendly to this sort of prosecutorial hide-the-sausage.
So much for the idea that the accused should have access to the evidence against him
Not a fucking chance mate. Democrats have already found him guilty. All they need now is the trial.
“ Let the jury consider their verdict,” the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first—verdict afterwards.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of having the sentence first!”
In an honest system, where the goal is justice, that would be a no brainer.
This is not that system.
In an honest system the indictment would never have existed.
Does it matter anymore? The damage is done: the left/swamp has renounced the Constitution, and has announced rules and precedent no longer apply to their acts.
There is no coming back from this. None.
They are not going to stop until they are MADE to stop.
That’s what the squishy RINOs refuse to acknowledge.
The Democrats are doing this because they have ABSOLUTELY NO FEAR that they will ever face a single consequence for doing it. Because thus far, they haven’t.
They have no fear their facist movement will be stopped by any rules or laws.
They are already NOT following the rules, and there is not indication that they are planning to start following them any time soon.
Rules are for Republicans
The Manhattan jury will reach the same result as a D.C. jury: guilty on all counts. They vote right after opening statements so they can avoid the tedious review of evidence or lack thereof. The judge just has to make sure all the counts go to the jury, so don’t expect him to grant any summary judgment motions.
Because of Bragg, it has now become election interference.
Politicians always think in terms of campaign finance. They never actually use their own money
I understand how Bragg’s type gets through Harvard Law, but what’s the scam with the bar exam? I seem to recall that stunning legal duo, the Obamas, explained away “deactivating” their law licensees as an exercise in household economics. Ha, Ha, Ha!
Who says Bragg actually took the Bar exam? Rumor is the Kennedys did not, nor did a former NY Governor: a paid test-taker took it for them.
Does anybody actually think either Obama could pass a Bar exam?
bragg is the only person in history to get FAT eating nothing-burgers!
“The documents “in question came well after Trump’s 2016 election, so it couldn’t have been done to help his election.””
Trump took on the obligation to pay before the election, so that part doesn’t prove what it wants to prove.
Assuming a fact not in evidence, that’s merely the contention of Bragg. Furthermore Bragg must link the payment to the election to try and bootstrap this nonsense to felony, which the DoJ and the FEC have already passed on.
Was part of the reason to influence the election? Perhaps, but that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There are plenty of other wholly legitimate reasons to pay off someone to get an NDA which cast sufficient doubt to cloud the issue.
IMO, Bragg and d/prog lose this BS attempt to ‘get Trump’ in the courtroom. Short-term they got a PR whirlwind of ‘orange man bad’ for all the good it did them. Meanwhile Trump is raising money hand over fist and this event added 15%+ to his polling while infuriating the overwhelming majority of GoP voters; including those who are uncertain Trump is right candidate in ’24. In essence nearly everyone not a die hard d/prog or die hard Never Trump has been PO by this foolishness.
Regardless the fact that the feds already determined it to NOT be a federal crime ends all ability to claim it was a coverup of a federal crime. If no federal crime exists you cannot cover it up.
Bragg will argue that it’s still a crime even if you aren’t indicted. The hack judge will no about accept that absurd argument.
I’m trying to figure out why DJT pleaded not guilty. The statute states:
§ 175.05 Falsifying business records in the second degree.
A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the second degree
when, with intent to defraud, he:
1. Makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an
The indictment requirement:
7. A plain and concise factual statement in each count which, without
allegations of an evidentiary nature,
(a) asserts facts supporting every element of the offense charged and
the defendant’s or defendants’ commission thereof with sufficient
precision to clearly apprise the defendant or defendants of the conduct
which is the subject of the accusation; and
There is no one listed in the indictment who was defrauded, and the underlying crime is uspecified.
Why did DJT’s lawyer tell the judge that in the absence of any specified crime it wasn’t possible to enter a plea?
Bragg: Trump violated campaign finance laws!
Feds: The hell he did ya idjit!
Yet another reason this case needs to be tossed. This isn’t a prosecution it’s just the latest part of the PERSECUTION of Trump!
The FEC found Hillary and the DNC to be guilty and fined them, but Bragg isn’t charging those already found guilty of federal offences which could be used to prove state offences.
Why the disparate treatment? Because this is politics not justice.
Do you really think the facts matter to a Lavrentiy Beria?
If Barnum ‘N Bailey circus were to resurrect itself and needed a single ring ringmaster, I have a name to suggest.
The Democrat party is a big tent full of jugglers.
A clever supposition I read elsewhere (and frankly it comports with the Democrats’ commie gymnastics) is that the law says the misdemeanor becomes a felony if it is committed to obscure a further crime, but it never says the further crime has to be your own.
Supposition is that Bragg will claim that Trump’s misdemeanor somehow covered up Cohen’s felony… a felony they don’t have to prove because it’s already on the record and convicted.
Yes, but note Bragg’s precise words. He’s using the phrase “intended to violate”. That you didn’t actually do it is therefore irrelevant.