President Trump saying on Monday there's nothing illegal about buying the silence of women who claim to have slept with him. Responding to federal prosecutors, who call it a crime and say he was involved.
I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where those hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and another woman are rapidly turning from an embarassment to a threat for Trump - giving ammunition to Democrats and raising the possibility that Trump could actually face prosecution for actions taken during the 2016 election. His reaction a sign that he's keenly aware of the stakes.
US prosecutors saying for the first time in a legal filing Friday that Trump had directed his lawyer Michael Cohen to make payments to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Saying those payments were illegal because they were designed to help Trump win the election -- trying to keep both women from going public at a time when he was battling other stories about his mistreatment of women .
Trump has said he did not sleep with either woman, and has offered shifting accounts of his role in the payments.
TRUMP SOT ON PLANE: "no."
Now calling those payments quote 'a simple private transaction' that should not be a criminal case.
But Cohen could face up to five years in prison for charges related to those payments when he's sentenced on Wednesday.
Democrat Jerry Nadler, who's due to head the House Judiciary Committee, raised the specter of impeachment on CNN on Sunday. Saying Friday's court documents reveal "massive fraud"… adding "they would be impeachable offenses."
Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel, said Trump could also face criminal liability when he leaves the White House.
(Rep. Adam Schiff soundbite)
These hush money payments have for a long time seemed like a tabloid sideshow to the main story -- special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia. But now prosecutors are bit by bit pulling the two stories closer together -- building a case that Trump's campaign may have misled voters both on his dealings with Russia and on his treatment of women. They haven't yet directly accused Trump of breaking the law, but there's certainly more to come.