Published: Mon, August 27, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Money and loyalty: A look inside dramatic Trump-Cohen rift

Money and loyalty: A look inside dramatic Trump-Cohen rift

Mr. Cohen, who arranged hush-money payments before the November, 2016, US presidential election to at least two women who had said they had sex with Mr. Trump, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to campaign finance violations and other charges. Federal prosecutors have said the reimbursement payments were for sham legal invoices in connection with a nonexistent retainer agreement.

Cohen has stayed out of sight and has remained emotional since his plea, according to the people close to him.

Cohen failed to report more than $4 million in income, according to the criminal information filed against him, resulting in his avoidance of more than $1.4 million in taxes he would have owed the Internal Revenue Service.

"So, Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after?"

"In July, Cohen released an audio tape in which he and Trump discussed plans to buy McDougal's story from the Enquirer".

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, pushed back on the former aide's claims, saying that the two women "rarely, if ever, interacted" during Manigault Newman's time at the White House.

He was there in the lobby of Trump Tower in June 2015 when his boss descended an escalator and changed history by declaring his candidacy for president. Guy Petrillo, an attorney for Cohen, did not respond to a request for comment.

This contradictory excuse-making should not distract from the fact that the president has staffed his campaign and administration with shady characters, fringe ideologues and other opportunistic hangers-on who would never have approached their high positions but for Trump's lack of judgment. Cohen has indicated he may cooperate with that inquiry. Davis confirmed that "nothing has changed" regarding Cohen's knowledge of the Trump Tower matter and emphasized that they were "not the source" for last month's stories.

Additional key players, including Trump's long-time CFO, Allen Weisselberg, and American Media head David J. Pecker, have also begun to cooperate with Mueller. Meantime, Cohen also committed bank and tax fraud relating to his NY taxi and other businesses.

The White House has said Trump also denied having sex with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Trump has repeatedly denied there was collusion and has labelled the Mueller probe a "witch hunt".

The state tax department also subpoenaed Cohen earlier this week as part of a probe pertaining to the Trump Foundation, CNN reported.

When respondents were told that six members of Trump's campaign team - including Cohen and Manafort - had now been found guilty or pled guilty to crimes, 40 percent of registered voters said they believed the crimes could potentially extend to the president.

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