Donald Trump came under fire shortly after taking over the presidency for payments he was alleged to have made to women who claimed he’d engaged in affairs with them prior to the 2016 campaign season. The claims prompted a probe from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) — but it seems the investigation has finally wrapped up.
In a massive win for Trump, The Washington Times reported Friday that the FEC had dropped its probe into the alleged “hush money” payouts by the now-former president.
The FEC reportedly failed to find sufficient evidence that Trump “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign finance laws in 2016, when his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to remain silent about an alleged affair with the businessman-turned-candidate that was said to have occurred about a decade earlier.
In response, Trump was nothing short of elated.
“Ending this chapter”
“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,” the former president said in a statement Thursday morning.
He explained that the case was “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.”
Trump added: “I thank the Commission for their decision, ending this chapter of Fake News.”
No conclusive evidence
According to The Hill, the investigation was closed Thursday after the FEC voted 4–1 to formally conclude it. The inquiry was first launched in December, after the FEC’s General Counsel issued a report saying there was “reason to believe” that campaign finance laws were violated.
The suspicions reportedly arose after Cohen asserted in court that the payments were made “for the principal purpose of influencing an election.”
Notably, however, Cohen was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress and evading taxes, among other things. Not exactly a guy who you’d trust to tell the truth, to say the least.
The Hill reports that the FEC wasn’t able to find evidence to charge anyone with campaign finance violations, including Cohen. A pair of Republican commissioners at the agency reportedly said that further review of the issue would not be “the best use of agency resources.”
A pair of Democratic commissioners disagreed, but they weren’t able to convince their colleagues. With that, it seems this chapter has indeed come to a close. At long last.