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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.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham on copy of Trump check and Stormy Daniels payments: "I've found most people don't write checks if they think they're involved in a crime." pic.twitter.com/Teqa30SsOW— The Hill (@thehill) March 1, 2019
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.
Jussie Smollett wrote a check.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) March 1, 2019
The terrorists who bombed the WTC in 1993 returned three times to the Ryder agency to get back their deposit for the truck they blew up.
People who are dumb enough to commit crimes are, in fact, dumb enough to think they can get away with it. https://t.co/oZhwxLqMG9
“So, wait, we’re supposed to believe that the accused committed multiple homicides and then buried the bodies in his *own* basement? C’mon” https://t.co/H4ntvXjYNc— Jason (@longwall26) March 1, 2019
Sounds like Lindsey Graham is taking over Michael Cohen's old job.— John Osso (@JohnOsso) March 1, 2019
Tell that to Jerry Springer— cynicinblue (@realamerican502) March 1, 2019
Seriously? Maybe they believe they won’t get caught. Prisons are filled with people who thought they were smarter than law enforcement.— Ima Sable Genius (@JoeKnittingMama) March 1, 2019
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.”
People commit crimes using checks all the time. 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. ... https://t.co/oLBHifMxN4— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 1, 2019
But the reimbursements were fraudulently made to appear to be payments for legal services. That’s precisely the kind of thing criminals do when they seek to conceal their criminal acts. It’s evidence of consciousness of guilt.— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 1, 2019
Infamously, talk show host Jerry Springer paid for prostitutes with personal checks when he was on the Cincinnati city council in the 1970s.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.