President Donald Trump Says He Gets His Legal Advice from Watching TV

President Donald Trump said Thursday morning that he receives his legal advice from a number of television shows.

Fox News aired an exclusive interview with Trump where the president attempted to do damage control on a number of controversial topics including Paul Manafort’s trial, Michael Cohen’s plea deal, and possible impeachment. But the president made a number of bizarre and non-factual statements during his discussion with Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt.

When asked about former Trump Organization attorney Cohen’s legal problems, the president responded that the counts that his long-time friend pleaded guilty to weren’t actually crimes. “By the way, he pled to two counts which aren’t a crime which nobody understands,” he said. The president then claimed that he knew these weren’t crimes because “I watched a number of shows, sometimes you get good information by watching shows, those two counts aren’t a crime.”

The president has been criticized for his excessive dependence on TV programs like Fox News. Some reports say the president gets in about eight hours of screen time each day. 

On Wednesday evening the president Tweeted that “Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime,” and added that, “President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”

Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight criminal charges, which included two campaign finance violations. During the presidential campaign the lawyer said that in an attempt to influence the election, he worked with the president to arrange for the payment of two women to keep silent about possible affairs with then-candidate Trump. In order to make the payment, Cohen arranged for a corporation to make an illegal payment to the campaign and donated in excess of legal contribution limits.

AMI, The National Enquirer's parent company, bought the rights to Playboy model Karen McDougal's story about Trump for $150,000 and then shelved it. Cohen admitted to working with the company to make this happen. 

Cohen later paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in return for not sharing details of her alleged affair with President Trump. 

Alan Dershowitz, a long-time Trump supporter and friend and legal scholar, penned an opinion piece saying that the president should not be implicated in Cohen's crimes. 

"I have been teaching and practicing criminal law for more than a half century, and yet, I have to acknowledge that I am having difficulty understanding the laws as they relate to the allegations made by Cohen against President Trump," he wrote, saying there was no clear evidence that the president ordered Cohen to pay the hush money. Dershowitz then went on Fox News to reiterate his claims. 

The courts ruled that both of these were excessive in-kind contributions and violated campaign law. Under FCC rule and Federal law, Cohen was only allowed to donate a maximum of $5,400 to the Trump campaign. 

In 2008, the Obama campaign was fined by the Federal Election Commission for failing to report the identities of 1,312 last-minute donors who contributed around $2 million to the campaign. The issue was considered a civil infraction and resulted in a penalty fine.

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