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Trump Directed Hush Money Payments, Knew It Was Wrong, Alleges Ex-Lawyer

Trump Directed Hush Money Payments, Knew It Was Wrong, Alleges Ex-Lawyer

"He directed me to become involved in these matters", Cohen told the ABC program "Good Morning America", referring to the $150,000 paid to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and the $130,000 paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer says he bought the silence of two women because Trump was "very concerned" about how their stories of alleged affairs with him "would affect the election". Cohen's attorneys tried to present him as a family man who was led astray by Trump, but who was now enthusiastically cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. "He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law", Trump tweeted. The payments, however, were not reported as campaign donations. He pleaded guilty to several charges, including campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

"And for him to say, 'I'm going to. stop lying starting now, ' is somewhat silly", Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters.

As IJR previously noted, Cohen has said that he has "substantial amounts of information" to corroborate his claims.

But according to Cohen, the payments were created to bury potential scandal at the height of the 2016 campaign in which Trump surprised many by defeating his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. After earlier saying he knew nothing of the payments, Trump on Thursday said he never told Cohen to break the law.

Prosecutors have said that in executing the payments, Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump, who has denied having the affairs with the two women. The violations relate to almost $300,000 in payments made to two women - former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels - who say they had sexual liaisons with Trump.

FILE - Stormy Daniels, the porn star now in legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a ceremony in her honor in West Hollywood, California, May 23, 2018.

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On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced a cooperation deal with the company, American Media Inc. "Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly.stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance".

He added that he's not sure if Cohen will be able to accomplish that, but noted that Trump's former self-described "fixer" is not being shy about "coming out and bashing the president".

Trump told Fox News on Thursday that he did not think a payment was made to AMI and that Cohen only did "low-level work" for him. "I am done with being loyal to President Trump". "And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds".

Federal prosecutors contend Trump directed the payments in a bid to help his election prospects.

Cohen is the closest figure to Trump sentenced to prison in the wide-ranging investigations of Trump's 2016 campaign, its possible links to Russian Federation and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart probes by federal prosecutors in NY and Mueller in Washington. That list also includes former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman and former National Security adviser Michael Flynn. The irony here is that while Cohen might represent Trump's biggest legal risk, he's also a sideshow in Mueller's process.

Cohen said he too knew what he "was doing was wrong".

Loyalty has always been a core value for Trump, who has been stung by the behavior of Cohen and other former associates who have dissociated themselves from the president, intent on saving themselves.


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