March 26, 2018

Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah took over today's White House press briefing to address the expulsion of Russian diplomats, Stormy Daniels, the March for Our Lives protests and more.

This moment, in particular was interesting.

When asked by a reporter to explain Trump and his associates' practice of offering "compensation to people to keep them silent," Raju was ready with the pithy answer.

"You can have Michael Cohen address specifics regarding this agreement you are referring to," Shah said, waving off the question. "False charges are filed in court all the time. This is nothing outside the ordinary."

Actually, if someone goes to court and files something which is completely without foundation they can be sanctioned by the court for filing that thing. It is also not cheap to go to court and file a lawsuit. Most people like to stay all the way away from lawsuits because they are expensive and time-consuming.

Nevertheless, the reporter persisted. "Why would, in this case, $130,000 be paid to a woman in the days before the election?," he asked. "You're saying she made false claims but why would $130,000 be paid to her?"

Dismissively, Raju replied, "Again, false charges are settled out of court all the time."

Or they're settled out of court to avoid the discovery and disclosure of actual charges, whether true or false.

This was a bizarre defense. Earlier Raju had called Stormy Daniels a liar, saying the only person who has been consistent is Trump.

This isn't a story about sex. This is a story about abuse of power. Using the White House Press Office to call a private citizen a liar is a clear abuse of power. What's next? She turns up with a couple of broken limbs? It's thuggish mob behavior, as were these answers.

No one settles "false claims" as a matter of routine. Trump wanted Stormy Daniels silenced. He still wants her silenced, which is why he smacked her with a $20 million lawsult.

Raj Shah is just today's thug messenger.

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