- President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said in an interview that aired Friday that Trump directed him to arrange the hush-money payments that resulted in Cohen’s prison sentence.
- He said that Trump knew the payments were wrong and that their purpose was to help Trump and his campaign.
- Trump has denied directing Cohen and said anything illegal Cohen did was the lawyer’s fault.
- When asked about Trump’s denials, Cohen said: “I don’t think there is anybody that believes that.”
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, slammed the president on Friday for the claim that he did not direct Cohen to arrange illegal hush-money payments, saying: “I don’t think there is anybody that believes that.”
Cohen on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in prison for an array of crimes he committed while employed by Trump, including facilitating the payments, which Cohen said were meant to silence two women who said they had affairs with Trump.
Trump has denied directing Cohen to make the payments, and he has also argued that it was incumbent on Cohen to make sure he wasn’t breaking the law.
But in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired Friday, Cohen again implicated Trump in the payments, which were found to violate campaign finance laws because Cohen said they were intended to help Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
EXCLUSIVE: "I will not be the villain of his story," Michael Cohen tells @ABC News' @GStephanopoulos, saying that Pres. Trump knew it was wrong to make hush-money payments during 2016 presidential campaign.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 14, 2018
Stephanopoulos asked Cohen whether the president knew it was wrong to make the payments to the two women.
“Of course,” Cohen said. He said the purpose of the payments was to help Trump “and his campaign.”
Cohen said Trump asked him to direct the payments because Trump was “very concerned” about how the women’s stories might affect the election.
The first of the payments was made by American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The second payment was made by Cohen to the porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to keep her from discussing what she says was a 2006 affair with Trump.
In response to the denial, Cohen said: “I don’t think there is anybody that believes that.”
“First of all, nothing at the Trump organisation was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump,” he said, adding: “He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.”
“He knows the truth,” Cohen said earlier. “I know the truth. Others know the truth.”
“And here is the truth: The people of the United States of America, people of the world, don’t believe what he is saying. The man doesn’t tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.”
Cohen previously said he broke the law out of “blind loyalty” to the president. He said in court that he had felt it was his “duty” to cover for Trump.
He said on “Good Morning America” that he knew what he was doing was wrong.
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