Review of Trump’s hush money payment to Stormy Daniels dropped by US election commission

The panel’s two Republican commissioners who voted to dismiss the case said that the matter was ‘not the best use of agency resources’ because the ‘public record is complete’

Trump calls Michael Cohen a liar following televised testimony

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has formally shut the probe into the accusations of whether former president Donald Trump paid illegal hush money to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actor shortly before 2016 election, it announced on Thursday.

The decision to quash the enquiry came even as Mr Trump’s personal attorney Michael D Cohen had gone on record in 2018 and accepted that the payments of $130,000 were made “at the coordination with and the direction of Individual-1,” in a veiled reference to the then-president.

“It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light,” Cohen had said of Mr Trump in court in 2018.

He had pleaded guilty for his involvement in the hush-money scandal and for violating campaign finance laws among other charges to secure a nondisclosure agreement from Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.

While Cohen served three years in prison, Mr Trump did not face any legal consequences.

In December last year, the FEC’s Office of General Counsel issued an internal report saying that there was “reason to believe” that Cohen and the Trump campaign violated the campaign finance law “knowingly and wilfully”.

However, FEC said that it failed by a vote of 2-2 to prove the allegations of violations. The six-member commission’s vote was taken last month but the final decision was made public on Thursday. Independent Steven Walther did not vote and Republican Allen Dickerson recused himself, reported CNN.

The panel’s two Republican commissioners, James E “Trey” Trainor and Sean Cooksey, who voted to dismiss the case wrote in a statement that the matter was “not the best use of agency resources” as the “public record is complete”.

“The public record is complete with respect to the conduct at issue in these complaints, and Mr Cohen has been punished by the government of the United States for the conduct at issue in these matters,” they said.

Objecting to the decision of not pursuing the case, two of the Democratic commissioners, Shana Broussard, the current chairwoman, and Ellen Weintraub, in a separate statement said the investigation should have continued after the general counsel said there was reason to believe campaign finance law was broken.

“To conclude that a payment, made 13 days before Election Day to hush up a suddenly newsworthy 10-year-old story, was not campaign-related, without so much as conducting an investigation, defies reality,” they wrote.

Mr Trump has so far not issued a statement on the matter.

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