Have you heard the big news of the day about Donald Trump, his lawyer Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels? Me neither, because there isn’t any. Of course, if you were following major media outlets, you’d think that there was a big development. The “story,” I’m referring to, of course, is that when Cohen was making arrangements to make the $130,000 payment to Daniels, he used his Trump organization email account.
My reaction to this bombshell can be summed up in a word: So?
The implication made by CNN, MSNBC, and NBC News is that this is proof that the payment was made by the Trump Organization, despite Cohen’s claim to the contrary, and that President Trump was aware of it at the time.
No. It doesn’t. Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that the business was behind the payoff, no matter how many times the media says otherwise.
It’s strikingly disingenuous for people to claim that using one email address over another is proof of anything, when those same people so easily dismissed Hillary Clinton‘s use of an entire privately run email server as a matter of convenience.
Look, the Stormy Daniels payment and issues raised in her lawsuit are worth examining, and there are certainly signs that Cohen and Trump may have broken the law. Hell, I’ve written about it many, many times. Just because there’s plenty to hammer Cohen about, however, that doesn’t mean you can nail him on every move. Pretending otherwise 1) misleads readers and viewers, and 2) undermines the weight of actual evidence.
We might very well learn that Trump and/or his organization were behind the payment. We might not. What I do know is that we didn’t learn anything from today’s report.
Cohen is Trump’s lawyer. It makes sense that when making arrangements for something related to Trump, he’d decide to use a Trump-related email address instead of a personal Gmail account, even if it was to make his own record-keeping easier.
As a reporter, I can appreciate the desire to cover the Stormy Daniels story from every angle. As a lawyer and a rational person, however, I can also see that the angle being pushed by media outlets today just doesn’t exist.
Sure, stories about the president (and a porn star) draw eyeballs, but there are other Trump-related issues to cover. Between the Mueller investigation and Trump’s planned meeting with Kim Jong-un, there is actual news out there that is more worthy of coverage. It is possible to focus on other things, no matter how many times the media yells, “But his emails!”
Ronn Blitzer is the Senior Editor of Law&Crime and a former New York City prosecutor. Follow him on Twitter @RonnBlitzer.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.