Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

Donald Trump: 'I Never Directed Michael Cohen to Break the Law'

Donald Trump: 'I Never Directed Michael Cohen to Break the Law'

A court in NY handed Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer of US President Donald Trump, a three-year prison sentence for his role in making illegal hush payments to two women and lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russian Federation.

"He directed me to make the payments". Cohen told prosecutors the payments were directed by Trump, implicating the president in a possible campaign finance law violation.

Trump in others tweets Thursday said he "did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, even if they apply" and that the charges against Cohen "were not criminal".

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

He said that in the Trump Organization, nothing was ever done "unless it was run through Mr. Trump".

He said in an interview with ABC News that Trump directed him to make hush-money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump because he was "very concerned" about is impact on the election.

One additional aspect of Cohen's sentencing is that it allows Congress to move forward in inviting Cohen to oversight hearings (or subpoenaing him) in order to find out more about Trump's ties to Russian Federation. "I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty", he said.

Since the allegations first came to light, there has been shifting explanations as to when Trump learned about Cohen's payments. Only if Trump is truly taken down by the law - as of yet an unlikely eventuality - could Cohen hope to become the unifying hero he aspires to be.

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.

Prosecutors have said the payments violated campaign finance laws. I know the truth.

"Cohen said he felt like he "[had his] freedom back" after taking responsibility for actions.

He continued that prosecutors wrote in a recent filing that Cohen was in contact with the White House around the time he lied to Congress, suggesting others knew he was going to lie.

He told Fox News overnight that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is also awaiting sentencing, was "a tougher kind of a guy than Cohen".

The Cohen case has intensified the legal pressures on former reality television star Trump, whose almost two-year presidency has been clouded by multiple investigations and lawsuits, including a USA special counsel probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign and possible obstruction of justice.

In the president's case, Rodgers said, Trump would have to establish that he was actually seeking Cohen's legal advice in connection with the hush-money payments and not relying on him to handle the matter as his long-time fixer.

Stephanopoulos brought up the constant attacks that Trump has been leveling towards Cohen on social media.

Legal analysts said the developments could strengthen a potential case against Trump himself if prosecutors were to pursue one, although Justice Department guidelines say that a sitting president cannot be charged criminally until he leaves office.

Addressing a judge, a sobbing Cohen said: 'Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying.

The Times cited people familiar with the inquiry as saying it focused on whether people from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates used straw donors to make donations in hopes of buying influence over U.S. policy. Nicolas Roos, the assistant USA attorney who prosecuted Cohen in the Southern District, asserted that allowing Cohen to engage in "selective cooperation" would "send the wrong message" that such behavior is rewarded.

Cohen's sentence is a warning to anyone caught up in the Mueller probe who declines to cooperate with prosecutors.

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