Leftist 'fact-checkers' defend Clinton's settlement payment with Paula Jones as different from Trump's 'hush money' payment

 May 11, 2024

Former President Donald Trump is currently on trial in New York for allegedly lying on business records to cover up a $130,000 "hush money" payment to silence allegations of an extramarital affair ahead of the 2016 election.

Some comparisons have been drawn between Trump's case and former President Bill Clinton's $850,000 settlement payment to essentially silence sexual harassment accuser Paula Jones, but the biased "fact-checkers" at Snopes declared such comparisons to be "false."

Yet, what Snopes and other left-leaning "fact-checkers" have done is parse details and shift goalposts to try and differentiate the similarities between a favored Democratic former president and the reviled Republican ex-president.

Comparing Trump and Clinton

Snopes highlighted social media posts from former President Trump's supporters that attempted to draw similarities between Trump's perfectly legal payment to silence an accusation of infidelity ahead of the 2016 election with then-President Clinton's 1998 payment to silence an accusation of sexual harassment.

"While the two events might initially appear similar -- two former presidents paying money to women with whom they had sexual relations -- it is important to acknowledge the full context surrounding the two events," the outlet explained. "The largest and most important difference is that Clinton and Jones mutually reached an out-of-court settlement stipulating that Jones would receive $850,000; Trump privately arranged his payments in order to keep Daniels from speaking publicly in the first place."

Snopes further asserted that Clinton's payment to Jones was not technically intended to stop her from speaking publicly about the allegation, but rather to end any further litigation in a lawsuit she had filed years earlier.

The "more apt comparison," in the outlet's view, was the failed attempt to prosecute former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), who was alleged to have used money from campaign donors to keep his mistress quiet about their long-running affair and illegitimate child.

John Edwards' acquittal and mistrial over "hush money" payments

ABC News got in on the act too in an April report that similarly sought to defend former President Clinton from comparisons drawn with former President Trump while throwing former Sen. Edwards under the bus.

In 2011, Edwards was indicted and tried by federal prosecutors who alleged that, during his failed 2008 presidential campaign, Edwards had solicited upwards of $1 million from Democratic donors to pay off his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and keep their affair and illegitimate child out of the news so that he could continue to portray himself as a "family man."

He was ultimately acquitted on one charge, receiving illegal campaign donations, while a mistrial was declared on five other charges -- in large part because at least some of the jurors accepted Edwards' defense argument at face value, that the payment was made not to benefit his presidential campaign, but rather to avoid embarrassment for his wife, who later died of cancer.

Indeed, Trump's defense team has similarly argued that the "hush money" payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels via then-personal attorney Michael Cohen -- which Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg insists was intended to aid the 2016 campaign -- was meant to avoid embarrassment for Trump's wife and family.

Trump should get the "same pass" that Clinton and Edwards received for lying about sexual affairs

Setting aside the Paula Jones matter, Reason magazine argued in March that the real issue here was the lies told by politicians to cover up their extramarital indiscretions, which in Clinton's case was wholeheartedly approved by Democrats as acceptable and unworthy of impeachment or prosecution.

"Edwards' behavior involved much more hush money than Trump had paid, as well as the birth of an illegitimate child," the outlet noted. "If what John Edwards did was not a felony warranting jail time then what Donald Trump did in allegedly paying hush money to Stormy Daniels does not disqualify him for running for President either."

"The disparate treatment of John Edwards, and Donald Trump for paying hush money and lying about having done so suggests NY State prosecutorial misconduct," Reason added. "Even if Trump were to be convicted in the sham proceeding set to begin on April 15th, voters should give him the same pass for lying in order to cover up adultery that was given to Bill Clinton and John Edwards."

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