March 5, 2019

Ari Melber was on Morning Joe this morning to talk about the scoop he had last night.

"This was breaking news last night. People know about Lanny Davis, one of Mr. Cohen's lawyers. Michael Monaco is his other lawyer, and the news he broke last night we learned about it during the show and I have it, here is the first check," Melber said.

"I mean, this is significant because this was not at the hearing. This is the $70,000 check from a Trump trust to Michael Cohen written during the Trump presidency, February 14th, 2017. Happened to be Valentine's Day. And what it shows is that on this score, the documentary financial evidence corroborates Michael Cohen's account that Donald Trump was paying him while president for a confessed election crime."

He said this rebutted denial from Trump and his spokespeople that he wasn't in on the repayment agreement.

"It was signed by Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump organization, and by Donald Trump Jr. as was reported last night on your show. Underline if you can, Ari, the significance of the date, February 14th, 2017. Because he is president of the United States at that point," Willie Geist said.

"He's president and this is a confessed crime, according to what Michael Cohen pled in New York, and the check you're looking at again, it reinforces what Cohen testified to last week, but in front of the House they only had the two other later $35,000 separate checks. This corroborates another piece of the account. The first meeting where those other checks we had from last week. So here we have another check --another receipt, if you will -- that does corroborate key portions of Cohen's account. That's important because as we all know, he has lied at one point. The more the evidence comes into the record remember whether The Beat last night, what comes out of the House or other proceedings, the more the story by Cohen falls into place, and that's bad for Donald Trump."

"So the story from Donald Trump is, Michael Cohen is my attorney, he had the privilege and right to cut checks and we would reimburse him. Does that hold up under examination with these new checks?"

"I think that becomes less and less realistic when you look at the combination of evidence, both the financial evidence what he testified to and let's not forget an audio recording that showed Cohen and Trump talking about, in real time, not later, not this post-reimbursement Giuliani story, but in real time, saying let's also use the Enquirer as a subsidiary of the Trump organization to handle his business in the interests of the campaign. that investigation continues in New York as well."

"What happens now? What happens now with that check?" Mike Barnicle asked.

"One thing that happens now, Mike Barnicle will add wisdom and wit to the analysis on Morning Joe. But beyond that, all of this comes back to the question of what do you do when you discover a president does really bad stuff, whether it's felonious, which is a legal call, or whether it's abuse of power, which is fundamentally a broader constitutional, congressional call. We're in that right now," Melber said.

"You have the New York feds, according to the Wall Street Journal, looking at potential pardon use. You have the open probe there, and you have the Mueller end game. All of this comes back to when we learn the facts, this stuff that our system thinks something you have to fix when a president does it in office or not? That's the super question I can't answer today. But the news we have today is more support for Michael Cohen's testimony."

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