Rachel Maddow Asks Potential Presidency-Ending Question: Did Russia-Cohen Payments Reach Trump?

Rachel Maddow dug into Tuesday’s bombshell news that a Russian oligarch funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into a Michael Cohen shell company – the same company that was used to pay off Stormy Daniels during the campaign.

During a discussion with University of Alabama Law Professor Joyce Vance,  Maddow added fuel to this new Trump fire by asking a question that could – depending on the answer – end this presidency.

Video:

The exchange between Maddow and Vance:

VANCE: This just stinks of influence peddling, of what prosecutors call pay to play or what the federal statute calls bribery. But without knowing more details about who was paid, when they were paid, what circumstances surrounded the payments, did money actually reach Trump ever or were these perhaps just the sort of payments people make that smell bad but aren’t really illegal? We can’t tell without more factual determination.

MADDOW: When you say money reaching Trump, I mean, obviously that’s one of the first things that leaps to mind. At least the partial story that’s been told about the payment to Stormy Daniels is that this company, Essential Consultants LLC was used to funnel Mr. Trump’s money through a sort of roundabout way to Ms. Daniels. If money is flowing into this company, that does raise the question as to whether or not the ultimate recipient of the money is not just Michael Cohen, it was the person who registered the company, but potentially could be the president himself?

If the money reached Trump directly, he can kiss the presidency goodbye

For months, Trump has had to worry about a series of scandals swirling over his presidency. On Tuesday, two of those – the Stormy Daniels mess and possible Trump-Russia collusion – slammed into each other.

It’s stunning enough that Russia put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the same account that Trump’s personal lawyer used to pay off an adult film star during the campaign.

But if the president was aware of the payment, or if the money reached him directly, then it’s game over.

In any event, Tuesday’s news that Robert Mueller is looking into these payments settles any doubts about whether the special counsel is still investigating possible Trump-Russia collusion.

Hint: They are.