Bharara: Idea that Trump hush money probe is unprecedented ‘is just false’
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Sunday said that it’s “just false” to claim that the Manhattan district attorney’s probe into former President Trump over an alleged hush money payment is unprecedented.
“We had, you know, a melange of Republicans saying, ‘No crime here. Nobody would ever charge this case. It’s unseemly. It’s irrational. It’s never happened before.’ But it did. It happened with respect to Michael Cohen, who was not only charged with this type of crime, this particular crime, and he thought it was a crime, pled guilty to it,” Bharara said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Trump’s former personal attorney.
A grand jury in New York is investigating Trump in connection to a payment made to Stormy Daniels to stop the adult film star’s allegations of an affair with the former president, which Trump denies occurred. Cohen has admitted to setting up the payment and was sentenced to three years in prison.
“[Cohen’s] lawyer thought it was a crime, allowed him to plead guilty to it. The prosecutors in the Southern District of New York thought it was a crime. The judge accepted the guilty plea, thought it was a crime,” Bharara said on Sunday.
“So you can argue about whether or not it’s appropriate to bring such a case. You can argue about the optics of it. But the idea that this is unprecedented is just false. It’s just wrong,” the former U.S. attorney added, referring to the Trump investigation.
Cohen testified earlier this month before the Manhattan grand jury.
Trump had indicated he expected to be arrested last Tuesday as the Manhattan prosecutor probes the case, though that day has since passed. The former president has lodged attacks against New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) and called for his supporters to protest a possible arrest.
Bharara on Sunday called Bragg “careful and deliberative,” defending the district attorney against accusations that he’s pursuing an easy case to attack the former president.
“We can have an argument about the merits and strengths of the case once we see an indictment with respect to the campaign finance part of it, but you can’t say about Alvin Bragg that he’s rushing to the court to indict a former president on flimsy charges,” Bharara said.
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