26/04/2018 17:08 SAST | Updated 26/04/2018 17:12 SAST

Watergate Prosecutor Warns Trump: Pleading The Fifth 'Political Suicide'

Jill Wine-Banks says Michael Cohen can get away with it, but Trump can’t.

A former prosecutor during the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to U.S. president Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation issued a stark warning to Donald Trump on Wednesday.

"He cannot take the Fifth Amendment," Jill Wine-Banks said on MSNBC. "That would be political suicide."

Her comments came just hours after it was revealed that Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels.

"Michael Cohen can take the Fifth Amendment," Wine-Banks said. "But the president of the United States cannot say, 'I can't answer questions because they might incriminate me in another matter.' That just is not politically acceptable."

Daniels is suing Cohen to get out of a nondisclosure agreement reached just before the 2016 election, in which she was paid $130,000 [~R1.56 million] by the attorney to keep silent about an affair she allegedly had with Trump. The U.S. president has denied the affair.

Wine-Banks said her belief that Trump shouldn't take the Fifth if called to testify, doesn't mean he won't go ahead and do it anyway:

"I'm predicting what a totally sane person would do," she said. "And he has gotten away with so much that he doesn't have to act in the way that a predictable person would act."

See Wine-Banks' full comments in the clip above.

(h/t The Hill)