Video shows Trump lawyer trying to snatch document from MSNBC host in heated segment about 'hush-money' case
- A Trump lawyer tried to grab MSNBC host Ari Melber's papers during an interview Tuesday.
- Melber was challenging him about hush-money payments to a porn star.
Joe Tacopina, a lawyer for former president Donald Trump, tried to grab a paper from MSNBC host Ari Melber during a heated exchange on Tuesday.
During an interview, Melber challenged Tacopina about whether Trump knew about a payment made by lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, ahead of the 2016 election.
Melber asked about reports that the Manhattan District attorney is weighing whether to charge Trump for falsifying business records to hide the payment.
The money was to prevent Clifford from going public about an alleged affair with Trump.
"Why was Trump hiding it and lying about it at the time?" asked Melber, as he played an old clip of Trump claiming he wasn't aware of the payment.
—The Beat with Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) March 15, 2023
"Ari, that is–if that's what you're gonna consider a lie, a lie to me is something material under oath in a proceeding," Tacopina responded.
'I didn't say perjury. I said a lie," Melber said.
When Melber began holding up a a hard-copy transcript from an on-cam exchange in 2018 in which Trump told reporters he had no knowledge of the $130,000, Tacopina leaned forward and extended his arm.
"Could you put the paper down? Put the paper down. Let me answer," Tacopina said.
Both men were smiling as they tussled briefly over the transcript, but Melber, who kept hold of the paper, noted the tension.
"It seems like we're drawing some blood here because you're having a strong reaction", Melber said. "He did lie about it and in a confidential settlement you can easily say, 'No comment' or 'I'm not getting into it.'"
The Manhattan DA investigation stems from a $130,000 payment made by Cohen to Clifford in late October 2016, days before the 2016 election.
Trump has denied an affair, and denied knowledge of the payment.
During the interview, Tacopina did reveal details of Trump's potential defense should the former president be charged, as his defense expects, with felony falsifying business records. That state charge carries anywhere from zero jail time to four years in prison.
Trump made the $130,000 payment as a "nuisance settlement," under the advisement of his lawyer, Michael Cohen, Tacopino argued. And it was not an illegal campaign expenditure, he added.
"If the spending, or the fulfillment of a commitment or the expenditure would exist irrespective of the campaign, it's not it's not a campaign law violation, he argued. "And I'm sure this would exist irrespective of the campaign," he added of the hush-money payment.
Tacopina and Melber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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