Donald Trump Just Admitted to a Federal Crime in ‘Fox & Friends’ Interview, Obama Ethics Chief Says

Donald Trump may have just admitted to committing a crime in an interview on Fox & Friends, Barack Obama’s former ethics chief said.

The president appeared on the show after his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges, including campaign finance violations. Cohen claimed in court that he arranged payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump at the direction of the now president. While the full interview will not air until Thursday, a short clip released from Fox News showed Trump telling co-host Ainsley Earhardt that he knew about the payments.

“Later on I knew, later on, but you have to understand, Ainsley, what he did, and they weren’t taken out of campaign finance—that’s a much bigger thing, did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign,” Trump said during the interview.

Eisen, who previously served as the White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform, told CNN on Wednesday that the video is an accidental admission that Trump committed a crime.

“The striking thing about the video we just watched is that the president in his usual clumsy way has stumbled into another federal crime," Eisen said, claiming that Trump signed his federal financial disclosures in 2017 and purposefully omitted his debt to Cohen for paying off women who claimed to have had affairs with the president .

"Guess what, if you owe somebody money, he just said, 'Yes, I know about the payments,' he repaid Michael Cohen. He had to list that on his form. He omitted it," Eisen continued. The ethics expert said that his watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has already made a criminal referral against Trump, which has resulted in a complaint from the Office of Government Ethics to the Department of Justice. 

"President Trump just stumbled right into that second federal offense. So we’re seeing, it may not be the beginning of the end, but it’s the end of the beginning," he added. 

Walter Shaub, the previous director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, also noted that Trump's interview proved that the president knowingly omitted his debt to Cohen in his 2017 financial disclosure report. 

"In any past administration, this would be a huge story. Everything is relative now," Shaub wrote on Twitter.

Trump has repeatedly changed his story on the payment made to women who claimed to have had affairs with him. He first denied any knowledge of a $130,000 hush-money deal to adult film star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) made just days before the 2016 election. He then said he knew about the payments but did not use campaign finances to make them.

Completing a bad day for Trump on Tuesday, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of fraud.

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