George Conway Says Trump's Campaign Finance Defense Isn't Very Strong
President Donald Trump and his allies are offering many arguments this week about why they believe he isn't implicated in Michael Cohen's criminal sentencing. But not everyone is convinced — and one skeptic is Kellyanne Conway's husband. In an op-ed and a series of tweets on Friday, George Conway claimed that Trump's campaign finance defense isn't very strong.
On Wednesday, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally making payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in order to influence the election. He also told the court that Trump directed him to conduct the transactions, an assertion that — if true — has the potential to implicate the president in those campaign finance violations (Trump insists that he "never directed Michael Cohen to break the law"). Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment on Conway's Friday op-ed and tweets.
"I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty," Cohen declared in an interview with ABC after the hearing. Conway hasn't shown much sympathy for Cohen's plight or actions in the 2016 election — but on this point, at least, he seems to agree with the lawyer. "Truer words were never spoken," he tweeted on Friday.
Conway also criticized a defense that came from Rudy Giuliani in a conversation with The Daily Beast on Wednesday: "Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed… This was not a big crime." Conway mocked that argument with another tweet on Friday: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will [...] preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, except where nobody gets killed or robbed."
In a Washington Post op-ed published earlier on Friday, Conway — along with co-writers Trevor Potter and Neal Katyal — expressed their condemnation of Trump and his supporters even more plainly. "The bad arguments being floated in Trump's defense are emblematic of a deterioration in respect for the rule of law in this country," they wrote.
In the op-ed, the authors focused on two of these "bad arguments." The first argument, they wrote, is that Trump won't be convicted of a crime because John Edwards wasn't convicted after he was indicted for keeping an affair quiet with hush money while running for vice president. Edwards said the payments weren't meant to influence the election, and the jury ruled that there wasn't enough proof to show otherwise, which Conway argued in the Post may not be true for Trump.
Conway, Potter, and Katyal eviscerated another argument from Trump allies. Referencing a statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — "I don't care" about Trump's potential criminality because "he's doing a good job as president" — they wrote, "If Hatch thinks too much activity has been criminalized, he is in a welcome position to change the laws as a member of the Senate," but "he shouldn't denigrate the law" that currently exists.
Conway supported Trump during the 2016 election, when his wife was first a senior advisor and then manager of Trump's campaign. Now, though, he's become a frequent critic of the president, even as his wife continues to work on his behalf. On Thursday, she defended Trump when CNN's Chris Cuomo pointed out that the president had apparently lied in previous comments about the hush money.