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Former President Trump. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Federal Election Commission announced Thursday that it won't proceed with a case examining whether former President Trump violated election law in 2016 a hush-money payment made through his then-lawyer Michael Cohen.

The state of play: The election commission, split between three Republicans and three Democratic-aligned commissioners, dropped the proceeding in a closed-door meeting in February, per the New York Times.

Flashback: Trump allegedly directed Cohen to pay adult-film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 election to keep quiet about her relationship with the former president. That payment, which "was far in excess of the legal limit for individual contributions for president," was never reported on Trump's campaign filings, the Times writes.

  • Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for violating campaign finance laws.

Trump has not faced consequences for his role in the scandal.

What they're saying: “The hush money payment was done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump,” Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times.

  • “Like me, Trump should have been found guilty. How the F.E.C. committee could rule any other way is confounding.”

Of note: Two Democratic-leaning members of the FEC released a statement criticizing their Republican colleague's decision.

  • "There is ample evidence in the record to support the finding that Trump and the Committee knew of, and nonetheless accepted, the illegal contributions at issue here," they write.
  • "To conclude that a payment, made 13 days before Election Day to hush up a suddenly newsworthy 10- year-old story, was not campaign-related, without so much as conducting an investigation, defies reality."

Yes, but: Two Republican-leaning commissioners released their own statement saying the dismissal was a matter of "prosecutorial discretion."

  • They also note that with Cohen's punishment the "public record is complete," and that pursuing the case further would "not the best use of agency resources."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump works refs ahead of book barrage

Graphic: Axios Visuals

Former President Trump has given at least 22 interviews for 17 different books since leaving office, with authors lining up at Mar-a-Lago as he labors to shape a coming tsunami of Trump tomes, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Trump advisers see the coming book glut as proof that interest in "POTUS 45," as they call him, has never been higher. These advisers know that most of the books will paint a mixed picture, at best. But Trump is working the refs with charm, spin and dish.

Tech's war for your wrist

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech's biggest companies are ramping up competition for the real estate between your hand and your elbow.

The big picture: The next big hardware platform after the smartphone will likely involve devices for your eyes, your ears and your wrists.

2 hours ago - World

Tokyo Olympics to allow up to 10,000 fans at each event

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto (L) and IOC President Thomas Bach on Monday. Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics said Monday that venues can be filled up to 50% capacity when the Games kick off on July 23, with a maximum of 10,000 Japanese spectators at each event, AP reports.

Why it matters: Medical experts advising the Japanese government had recommended against allowing fans, citing the low vaccination rates in Japan and the potential for new variants to drive up infections.

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