The Department of Justice has officially wrapped up their investigation into “hush-money” payments received by alleged mistresses of President Donald Trump. Now, US District Court Judge William Pauley is demanding they release previously redacted information, despite the fact that no charges are set to be filed.
The probe into the Trump Organization aimed to uncover whether campaign funds were used to reimburse former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for the payments dispersed to women who accused the president of engaging in sexual relationships with them. Of course the president vehemently denies any knowledge of the affairs in question.
Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison by Judge Pauley for “tax evasion, bank fraud and making illegal campaign contributions” to porn-star Stormy Daniels. This investigation would have discovered the depth of his involvement in that situation, and could have possibly implicated a handful of other Trump associates, including son Donald Trump Jr. The dismissal vindicates all but Cohen, who also lied to Congress about the extent of his involvement in efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
While the conclusion of a case such as this would normally result in it being sealed to protect the information of those involved, Judge Pauley believes that the American people have the right to total access of minimally redacted versions of the government’s July status report and the search warrant used to access Cohen’s personal information.
“After reviewing the Government’s status report and proposed redactions, this Court denies the Government’s request,” wrote Pauley. “In particular—and in contrast to the private nature of Cohen’s business transactions—the weighty public ramifications of the conduct described in the campaign finance portions warrant disclosure.
“The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance,” the judge continues. “Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials.” He even goes as far as to say that this information is a “right” that “predate[s] even the Constitution itself.”
While the conclusion of this case is definitely favorable for the Trump administration and his business, this possibly creates a talking point for liberals and progressives, and invites media scrutiny that will undoubtedly take precedence over any and all positives we would see from the president. Despite the fact that this is largely a story about Cohen, anything with any ties to Trump at all is red meat to the pride of hungry media lions.
But this isn’t even the first legal win Trump has seen this month. Last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an Emoluments Clause case that accused the president of making money from his brand-name hotels while he has been in the Oval Office. Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote for the court, claiming “[t]he District and Maryland’s interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts, which were created to resolve real cases and controversies between the parties.”
Despite the victory, it appears that there is information in the redacted papers that Judge William Pauley wants everyone to see. No doubt congressional Democrats are going to seize this opportunity to bash the president, Cohen, and the Department of Justice, not to mention attempt to discredit Trump’s 2020 re-election bid. That being said, a win is a win, regardless of the spin.
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