Steyer to launch $1M ad spot targeting Cohen allegations against Trump

Steyer to launch $1M ad spot targeting Cohen allegations against Trump
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Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer's campaign to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE is set to drop its latest ad spot on Monday, this time warning the president could seek to pardon himself in the face of mounting legal pressure.

The $1 million-plus ad spot, set to air nationwide on Monday, comes days after Trump's former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen admitted in court that he violated campaign finance laws at the president's behest by making hush-money payments to two women.

"How much more does Congress need to see? Donald Trump has now been implicated in two felony crimes, and he's all but confessed to them on Fox News," Steyer says in the 30-second spot, which was shared with The Hill on Saturday.

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"No one is the above the law, so we have to make sure this president doesn't use pardons to cover up crimes," he continues. "The Washington establishment doesn't have the courage to act. But the American people can."

Steyer, whose "Need to Impeach" petition has garnered 5.6 million signatures since its launch last fall, has spent roughly $40 million on the campaign — part of a plan to invest more than $120 million in politics ahead of the 2018 midterms.

The Democratic activist said earlier this month that he also planned to drop $10 million on a campaign to mobilize voters who have signed onto the Need to Impeach petition. 

Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight charges, including campaign finance violations and tax evasion.

In a stunning court appearance, the man who once described himself as Trump's personal "fixer" acknowledged that he paid off two women ahead of the 2016 presidential election who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

Cohen said then-candidate Trump instructed him to do so to influence the election, potentially implicating Trump in a campaign finance violation. 

Trump has denied Cohen's claims and has not been charged with a crime. Longstanding Justice Department precedent holds that a sitting president cannot be indicted. 

Also an open question is whether the president could pardon himself. The courts have not weighed in on the matter, though Trump and his lawyers have suggested that they believe he could do so. 

Kevin Mack, the lead strategist for Need to Impeach, said Saturday that the legal pressure on Trump makes him likely to consider a pardon more seriously. The initial ad buy is worth more than $1 million and could increase if the group decides to keep running it, he said.

"We feel strongly that Trump's been backed into a corner and that he's disintegrating right in front of the American people on a daily basis," Mack said by phone. "This is a guy that's never been held accountable in his entire life and he's likely to make a move."