In an OP-ED for The Hill Alan Dershowitz dumped Cold Water on the narrative being pushed regarding Michael Cohen and Donald Trump.
If, on the other hand, Michael Cohen made the payments by himself, without direction from the president, that would constitute an impermissible campaign contribution from a third party. But if Cohen was merely acting as Trump’s lawyer and advancing Trump’s payments, with an expectation of repayment, then it would be hard to find a campaign finance crime other than failure to report by the campaign.
Failure to report all campaign contributions is fairly common in political campaigns. Moreover, the offense is committed not by the candidate but, rather, by the campaign and is generally subject to a fine. Though it is wrong, it certainly is not the kind of high crime and misdemeanor that could serve as the basis for a constitutionally authorized impeachment and removal of a duly elected president.
Moreover, prosecutors should be reluctant to rely on the uncorroborated word of a guilty defendant who pleaded guilty to lying and defrauding. Thomas Jefferson once observed that a criminal statute, to be fairly enforceable, must be so clear that it can be understood by the average person who reads it “while running.” Jefferson did not mean while running for office; he meant that a criminal statute should not be subject to varying reasonable interpretations.