The Federal Election Commission has finally ended its investigation into former President Trump’s payments into porn star Stormy Daniels.
The Daily Wire reports:
The Commission is comprised of six members: three Republicans, James ‘Trey’ Trainor, Sean Cooksey and Allen Dickerson; two Democrats, Shana Broussard, the current chairwoman, and Ellen Weintraub, and one independent, Steven Walther. Both Democrats voted that the case against Trump should proceed; two of the Republicans, Tainor and Cooksey, voted to drop the inquiry; Dickerson recused himself from the case, and Walther did not vote. Thus the vote was tied 2-2, which means that because there was no majority, the case was dropped.
Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, had alleged Trump told him to make hush money payments worth $130,000 to Stormy Daniels two weeks before the 2016 election. He pled guilty in federal court in 2018 for setting up a nondisclosure agreement for which he paid Daniels $130,000, as CNN noted. In December 2018, Judge William H. Pauley III sentenced Cohen to three years in prison for a variety of crimes, including fraud, lying to Congress, and campaign finance violations.
Broussard and Weintraub wrote, “To conclude that a payment, made 13 days before Election Day to hush up a suddenly newsworthy 10-year-old story, was not campaign-related, without so much as conducting an investigation, defies reality. Several of our colleagues instead voted to dismiss the allegations. Commission therefore did not have enough votes to pursue well-grounded charges that the former President of the United States knowingly and willfully accepted contributions nearly 5,000% over the legal limit to suppress a negative story mere days before Election Day,” as The Daily Mail reported.
Trainor and Cooksey countered, “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. Thus, we concluded that pursuing these matters further was not the best use of agency resources. The Commission regularly dismisses matters where other government agencies have already adequately enforced and vindicated the Commission’s interests.”
In 2018, a judge ordered Daniels to pay almost $300,000 in legal fees and also threw out her defamation case against President Trump. The following year a different judge also threw out another lawsuit against Trump in which she requested to be released from a nondisclosure agreement she signed years before. The judge said the case was moot as Daniels hadn’t been held to the terms of the NDA because Trump stated he didn’t plan to enforce it.
Friday morning, Trump also issued a statement in response to the FEC’s decision to drop the investigation.
“The Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C., has totally dropped the phony case against me concerning payments to women relative to the 2016 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote. “It was a case built on lies from Michael Cohen, a corrupt and convicted lawyer, a lawyer in fact who was so corrupt he was sentenced to three years in jail for lying to Congress and many other things having nothing to do with me. I thank the Commission for their decision, ending this chapter of Fake News. Between two sleazebag lawyers, Michael Avenatti and Michael Cohen, we were all able to witness law and justice in our Country at its lowest!”