NERMEEN SHAIKH: Federal prosecutors have accused President Trump of committing a federal crime by directing illegal hush money to two women during the presidential election. The accusation was revealed Friday in filings made public by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, including a damning sentencing memo for President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who has admitted to paying the women. The memo states, quote, “With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. … He acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” end-quote. “Individual-1” is a reference to President Donald Trump. The payments were made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the campaign in order to prevent them from speaking to the media about their alleged affairs with Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: The sentencing memo was made public Friday along with two new sentencing memos from special counsel Robert Mueller: one for Cohen and another for Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort.
We go now to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we’re joined by independent journalist Marcy Wheeler. She edits EmptyWheel.net and has been closely following the multiple investigations of President Trump.
Marcy, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you explain what’s most significant about these filings? And just for people to understand, we’re talking about filings from two different places, from the Mueller inquiry and from the US court in New York, from the prosecutor’s office, from the US Attorney’s Office.
MARCY WHEELER: Right. So, there’s two sentencing memos, actually, both for Cohen — one out of Manhattan, as you said, the US Attorney’s Office in New York, and one out of Mueller’s office. And then, the Manafort thing is actually not a sentencing memo. It’s just a memo laying out the lies he told and the reasons he — that the government has said that he…