President Donald Trump doesn’t deserve jail time for paying hush money to his mistresses during the 2016 election campaign because Barack Obama got away with doing “the exact same thing,” the hosts of “Fox & Friends” argued Monday.
During a segment on Trump’s illegal payments to two women in 2016, conservative pundit Dan Bongino criticized prosecutors for going after the president and threatening to lock him up over a few “minor” election law violations.
“This is really scary stuff,” Bongino began. “Explain to me how this isn’t police-state tactics. Now they’e doubling down, and they want to throw the president in jail. For what? For civil violations?”
Moving the discussion along, host Brian Kilmeade griped that court filings against the president’s former “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen were riddled with “all these adjectives,” thanks to efforts by federal prosecutors to make a compelling case against Trump.
“Let’s drill down on it,” Kilmeade said. “There were two women coming forward that were going to say negative things about the president and relations. If you’re running for office, whether it’s a bad business deal where you have a bitter partner, you want to make sure things are going the best you can to keep your eye on the ball and on the issues.”
The Fox News host acknowledged that Cohen, under Trump’s direction, had paid Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels over $100,000 apiece to secure their silence about their flings with Trump — a clear violation of election law.
Kilmeade then tried to shift blame to former POTUS Barack Obama, accusing him of the same misdeed.
“According to everybody’s stats, Obama’s campaign spent nearly $2 million in violations of election law. They got a fine of $300,000,” he opined. “But you wanna throw this president in jail about payments to women that they may or may not have known about!”
Bongino accepted Kilmeade’s claims as fact and argued, “The Barack Obama team was guilty of the exact same thing and was given a civil fine … But because its Barack Obama — you know, the anointed one — nothing happened.”
An August 2018 report by fact-checking website Snopes debunked these allegations, noting that the criminal charges brought against Cohen by the U.S. Justice Department and the civil charges brought against the Obama administration by the Federal Election Commission simply cannot be compared.
“While it is true that President Obama’s 2008 campaign was fined a significant amount of money by the FEC, those fines covered civil violations that were different than the criminal infractions admitted to by Cohen,” the report read. A former FEC commissioner also noted that the FEC “does not have criminal capabilities.”
Moreover, there was no evidence that Obama or his campaign team have ever paid off women to keep them quiet.
Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison Wednesday for committing election law crimes and lying to federal authorities about it.
Watch more in the clip below.