On Monday’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos grilled Trump lawyer Joseph Tacopina about the Manhattan District Attorney apparently pressing forward with an indictment for a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to squash a National Enquirer story about her alleged affair with Trump.
As usual with Trump’s prosecutors, Stephanopoulos never told the audience that the current and former Manhattan DAs are elected Democrats. Typically, the people still investigating Trump are elected Democrats, and typically, the media imply they are simply prosecutors without a party. The news here was that Tacopina said Trump will not accept an invitation to participate in the grand jury proceeding. The invitation usually implies an indictment is coming.
You don’t have to believe Trump is innocent here to find a role reversal. For about five years, this was what George Stephanopoulos did for Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton trusted him to squash “bimbo eruptions,” to claim Bill Clinton was innocent and partisan persecutors were trying to destroy him with lies about sex. Why would ABC pick Stephanopoulos to be the interviewer on this? Are they saying the other hosts aren’t qualified?
“Clearly this prosecutor and his prosecutors’ office has … an agenda,” Tacopina said. “They’ve scoured his personal life and business life for seven years to try to find something.”
Tacopina framed the funds as an extortion payment, and repeatedly said the payment was not directly related to Trump’s campaign.
“I don’t know since when we’ve decided to start prosecuting extortion victims,” Tacopina said. “He’s vehemently denied this affair, but he had to pay money because there was going to be an allegation that was going to be publicly embarrassing, regardless of the campaign.”
You can’t plausibly claim that the campaign was irrelevant. Asked if the payment was properly noted in the Trump Organization records, or if a false record was made, claiming the money given to Trump fixer Michael Cohen was for legal representation, Tacopina said, “There was absolutely no false records made, to my knowledge.”
“It’s not a contribution to his campaign,” Tacopina said. “He made this with personal funds to prevent something coming out false but embarrassing to himself and his family’s young son. That’s not a campaign finance violation, not by any stretch.”
You could claim this segment was just another obsessive get-Trump segment, but it did make news. You could also suggest this provided time for Trump’s side of the argument, which is often dismissed out of hand.
George’s total role reversal was brought to you in part by Angi.