Rachel Maddow Examines Possible ‘Smoking Gun’ in Michael Cohen’s Trump Trial Testimony: ‘This Is Probably It’ | Video

The MSNBC host breaks down the latest from Trump’s New York criminal case

Rachel Maddow spent a lot of time on Monday night looking at Michael Cohen’s testimony in Donald Trump’s ongoing criminal trial, and in particular a document presented as evidence.

That was the document showing the wire transfer of $130,000 Cohen sent to Stormy Daniels on behalf of Trump, which Maddow called “the smoking gun document” and “the most important piece of paper” from the trial.

Trump is on trial for business fraud, standing accused of falsifying records to conceal repayment of the hush money Cohen sent on Trump’s behalf in order to keep Daniels’ account of her sexual encounter with Trump secret from voters. And as Maddow elaborated, the document paints a damning picture.

“It’s the bank record showing that the hush money payment was in fact made,” Maddow said as the document displayed onscreen. “And on the bottom of the bank statement, on the right, you see, what we now know is Michael Cohen’s handwriting, showing something else he wants to be reimbursed for, since we now understand he’s leaving the Trump Organization. At this point, he wants to make sure in this last payment that’s coming to him, this other money that the Trump Organization owes him is going to be included. That’s on the bottom right side of this piece of paper. On the bottom left side of this piece of paper, you see different handwriting, this is handwriting from the Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. And it’s him doing the math.”

Maddow explained how Weisselberg’s notes indicate how much they’d need to give to Cohen to reimburse him while also accounting for taxes he’d owe, to be paid over several months. “So it’s $420,000, over 12 months, that’s $35,000 a month. That’s Allen Weisselberg doing the math,” she continued. “What prosecutors have laid out is that that is the smoking gun document that shows the crime. It shows what the payment was really for, and how it was disguised as something else in the business records of the Trump Organization. And it was disguised as something else in order to conceal its true nature, because its true nature was that it was a campaign expenditure.”

Maddow further noted in her analysis that the document shows that Trump, Weisselberg and Cohen actively discussed this scheme, with Trump ultimately authorizing it. Backing this, she read the transcript of testimony during the trial, which in part showed haggling over how Cohen would be paid — all at once or in installments.

“I think the indication here from the transcript is that Cohen then sort of rebutted that it was probably better if I get it in one lump sum,” she said, reading considerable more testimony.

“Michael Cohen testifying today for the first time that just before leaving to be inaugurated as President of the United States, Donald Trump reviewed the smoking gun document that laid out the crime,” Maddow said. “He then talked in detail about the crime with his CFO and with Michael Cohen. And he said, quote, ‘Do it.’ Quote, ‘He approved it.’ So if there’s anything in this case that isn’t just plainly black letter-proven by the documents and the records, if there’s anything else that we have been waiting for, in testimony from witnesses, this is probably it, right?”


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