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Lindsey Graham says Trump’s payments are legal because he used a check

'I've found most people don't write checks if they think they're involved in a crime.'


Ellen Ioanes


Posted on Mar 1, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 5:59 pm CDT

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended President Donald Trump against accusations that Trump’s payment to partially reimburse his fixer Michael Cohen for a hush money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels constitutes a crime.

“I’ve found most people don’t write checks if they think they’re involved in a crime,” the senator said on Thursday.

“You know, here’s my part of the crime,” he continued. “Good luck with that one.”

At his testimony on Wednesday, Cohen brought, among other things, a copy of a check that he claimed the president wrote him to reimburse him for buying Daniels’ silence during the campaign. Daniels has said that she and the president had an affair in 2006.

While the president and Daniels initially denied the affair, Daniels later said that she and the president had sex.

Graham has become one of the president’s strongest defenders after saying Trump’s “judgment and temperament” made him unfit for office during the campaign.

On Thursday, Graham told reporters that he thought the campaign finance law would only consider the payoff a crime if it was solely intended to help the campaign, not, as he said, to protect family members from embarrassment.

Several Twitter users pushed back on Graham’s comment.

The logic that the presence of a check somehow clears the president from having broken the law is flawed, according to George Conway, an attorney and the husband of White House aide Kellyanne Conway.

“People commit crimes using checks all the time,” Conway tweeted. “They can use the checks to pretend payments were for one thing, when they really for another. Here Trump and his lawyers do not dispute today that these payments were made, and were made to reimburse for the Stormy payment.”

Infamously, talk show host Jerry Springer paid for prostitutes with personal checks when he was on the Cincinnati city council in the 1970s.


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*First Published: Mar 1, 2019, 11:42 am CST