President Donald Trump -- whose personal lawyer Michael Cohen says he’ll plead the fifth if called to testify in the Stormy Daniels lawsuit -- once proclaimed that people who used the Constitutional ploy to avoid answering questions were members of the mob.
“The mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Trump said during an Iowa campaign rally in September 2016.
The remark came as the future commander in chief ripped into former staffers of Hillary Clinton who invoked their rights against self-incrimination during an investigation of her private email server, The Washington Post reports.
During his first debate with Clinton, Trump added: "When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they’re not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it’s disgraceful."
And according to New York magazine, Trump himself used the Fifth to avoid questions about "other women" during his divorce from first wife Ivana Trump.
On Wednesday, Cohen said he plans to assert his constitutional right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit by Stephanie Clifford, the blonde porn star known as Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an extramarital affair with Trump in 2006.
Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure contract weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels is suing Trump over the agreement, claiming it is void because he never signed it. She later amended the suit to include the defamation charges against Cohen.
The lawyer, reportedly under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations, was recently the subject of an FBI raid, with federal agents swooping down on his office and home and scooping up documents related to Daniels and other matters.
On Thursday, Trump told Fox News’s "Fox & Friends" that Cohen handled a very small part of his legal matters and the federal raid on Cohen’s home and business had nothing to do with him.
"I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me," Trump said. "They’re looking into something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business."
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and protects individuals from being compelled to be witnesses against themselves in criminal cases. It has famously been used in many highly-publicized cases and first came into public lexicon in the early 1950s during the Kefauver Senate hearings about organized crime.
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