Michael Cohen claims Trump knew hush money payments wrong

Michael Cohen walks out of a court building in New York the United States Dec 12 2018

Michael Cohen walks out of a court building in New York the United States Dec 12 2018

"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace weighed in on Michael Cohen's first interview after being sentenced to three years in prison, saying, "Hell hath no fury like a fixer scorned".

Cohen told ABC News Trump is a very different person than the man he used to work for.

Prosecutors said that Cohen, at Trump's direction, facilitated the payments, in violation of campaign finance laws, to Daniels and McDougal shortly before the 2016 election.

Trump denied that he directed Cohen to break the law during the 2016 campaign by buying the silence of former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stormy Daniels. "He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters".

Pleading for leniency in a packed Manhattan courtroom before US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III, Cohen said he had been led astray by misplaced admiration for Trump. He's a lawyer. A lawyer who represents a client is supposed to do the right thing.

Cohen had plead guilty to charges that he made false statements to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Russia during the 2016 campaign.

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The payments are indisputible, but Trump may claim he did not direct them or that he intended the payments to hide his affairs from his wife, rather than to boost his campaign. "I am done with being loyal to President Trump". That's why you pay them a lot of money, et cetera, et cetera.

Prosecutors have implicated Trump in a crime, but haven't directly accused him of one. Cohen attributed his offenses related to Trump to his "duty to cover up his dirty deeds".

Trump has said he never directed Cohen - who is due to surrender to custody by March 6-to break the law. "For him to say, "I'm going to start, I'm going to stop lying now, starting now" is somewhat silly". "Let me tell you, I never directed him to do anything wrong".

Asked if he believed Trump was telling the truth about Russia's meddling in the United States election, Cohen said "no" but he declined to comment further.

As the courtroom drama unfolded Wednesday, Trump remained largely silent and ignored reporters' questions about Cohen during an executive order signing event at the White House.

Dershowitz explained that presidential candidates can spend however much personal money they wish to help their own campaign without it being illegal. Cohen said his role was limited to reviewing papers.

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In a deal with prosecutors, American Media Inc (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, said on Wednesday it paid the $150,000 in hush money to McDougal "in concert" with Trump's campaign.

But CNN reported that the President was privately seething about Cohen's sentencing, telling associates that Cohen is a "liar", according to one administration official.

In the interview, Cohen declined to answer specific questions about the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller III into possible coordination between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 campaign.

Cohen insists that Trump is a different person now than when he was running his real estate empire in NY and said he believes the pressure of being the president of the United States is "much more than he thought it was going to be".

"I am done with the lying", Cohen said.

"Nobody except for me would be looked at like this, nobody", he said.

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"The special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them was credible and helpful", he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos during an interview.

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