Trump’s lawyer spars with NBC host over hush money case

Former U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to depart after speaking during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023 in Waco, Texas.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to depart after speaking during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023 in Waco, Texas. Photo credit Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Joe Tacopina, the lawyer representing former President Donald Trump in his Stormy Daniels hush money case, got into it with an NBC News host over the weekend.

Tacopina was a guest on “Meet the Press” with NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday morning, and while the two were discussing the former president’s case, the lawyer told the host he was being “petty” while they went back and forth about his client’s legal troubles.

Trump and his lawyers have maintained that he was not aware of any payments being made to Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The case came to a boiling point last weekend when Trump took to his social media platform and announced he was going to be arrested and indicted in connection to the hush money case. Since then, Trump has repeatedly levied attacks against the lead prosecutor in the case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

During his appearance, Tacopina expressed that he isn’t a supporter of Trump’s decision to blast the district attorney on social media. One post showed Trump holding a baseball bat alongside an image of Bragg.

“I’m not his social media consultant,” Tacopina said. “I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up, and he quickly took down when he realized the rhetoric and the folder that was attached to it.”

On Sunday, Tacopina also spoke with Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC about the post, doubling down that the Trump took it down and that someone on his team had posted it.

Sharpton responded with a quick whip, asking if it would be okay if he stabbed him in the back, as long as he took the knife out.

Bragg and his office have been probing how the payments made by the Trump Organization were documented on the company’s books. Todd asked Tacopina about this, suggesting that Trump wasn’t honest in his personal ledger, when it comes to payments marked “legal fees” that he said were instead reimbursement to Cohen for paying Daniels the hush money.

The lawyer appeared to be upset with the line of questioning, starting a back-and-forth between the two men.

“But what was he supposed to put in his personal ledger?” Tacopina threw back at Todd, following his question. “Seriously? What would he put in his personal ledger? ‘Uh, payment for hush money to, um, quiet, uh, an affair I claim I never had so my family doesn’t get embarrassed.’ Is that what he should put in his ledger? There’s nothing wrong with –”

“How about the truth?” Todd said, cutting Tacopina off. “You keep saying, what should be in the ledger? Should it be the truth?”

The lawyer responded by saying, “Chuck, would you ever put a four-paragraph sentence to a ledger?”

“You’re being a little bit petty when you’re looking at this now because there is no filing obligation,” he continued. “You can put whatever you want in your personal ledger.”

Tacopina continued with Todd, insisting the payments Trump made to his former lawyer were not tracked incorrectly on his part.

“It was legal fees that was invoiced by Michael Cohen, who arranged this on his own, with his own money, initially,” Tacopina said. “Took out a loan, literally, resolved this without the president knowing, came back, and then sent a bill in for four times the amount over the course of a year it was paid off.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Brandon Bell/Getty Images