Trump’s Tweet About Michael Cohen Is Completely Wrong

No, Obama did not do what Trump is accused of.

Bryan Smith/ZUMA

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump broke his silence on Michael Cohen’s plea agreement—which involved extraordinary statements implicating the president in federal crimes—to assert that the two campaign violation charges against Cohen are not actually crimes.

Trump also appeared to downplay the charges against Cohen by comparing them to fines paid by former President Barack Obama’s campaign committee for campaign finance reporting violations stemming from the 2008 election. The two cases could not be more starkly different, as the Obama violations involved reporting errors and missing reports, and Cohen’s plea involves a criminal plot, allegedly directed by the president. 

Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a total of eight counts, including two counts involving illegal contributions intended to sway the election.

Observers noted that Trump likely picked up the talking point from Fox News.

The president on Wednesday also appeared to lay the groundwork for a possible pardon for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was found guilty Tuesday on eight charges of bank and tax fraud. Trump continued to express sympathy for Manafort, who he said did not “break” like Cohen had. “Such respect for a brave man!” the president wrote.

In a more humorous tweet, Trump said he would “strongly suggest” against hiring Cohen for legal representation. Cohen, of course, served as Trump’s personal attorney for more than a decade.

Listen to Mother Jones Washington, DC, bureau chief David Corn discuss the consequences of the Paul Manafort conviction and Michael Cohen guilty plea on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.