It's sentencing season. Michael Cohen, former fixer and lawyer for President Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison for what a federal judge called a "veritable smorgasbord" of crimes, ranging from tax evasion to lying to Congress about his contacts with Russian Federation.
Shaken and facing a prison term, President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer said today that Trump directed him to buy the silence of two women during the 2016 campaign because he was concerned their stories of alleged affairs with him "would affect the election".
Trump has said he never directed Cohen - who is due to surrender to custody by March 6-to break the law.
Cohen was part of Mr Trump's inner circle, and in the past called himself the president's "fixer".
When asked if the president also knew it was wrong to make the payments, Cohen replied, "Of course", adding that the goal was to "help [Trump] and his campaign".
But according to "Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade, none of this is a legal problem for Trump because these aren't really campaign finance violations - there can't have been a campaign objective to the hush payments, because everyone already knew Trump is a philandering billionaire!
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.
Watch more from Wallace above.
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In his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Cohen, who once vowed that he would "take a bullet" for Trump, flatly disputed the president's assertion.
Cohen told ABC News Trump is a very different person than the man he used to work for.
"I don't think there's anybody that believes that", Cohen said.
Rudy Giuliani, a Trump lawyer, has acknowledged that Trump reimbursed Cohen for a $130,000 payment to Daniels.
The White House is dismissing Cohen's accusations.
Trump denies having affairs with the women who were paid off just weeks before the election in which Trump beat Hillary Clinton. I know the truth.
Cohen was sentenced after telling a federal judge that his "blind loyalty" to Trump led him to "cover up his dirty deeds".
The President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani slammed Cohen, telling CNN the public can't believe a thing Cohen says and that Cohen lied under oath, referencing Cohen's guilty plea in November to lying to Congress.
Trump claims Comey 'set a record' for lying to Congress
They're attempting to get this done before Democrats take control of the House at the beginning of the year. It's a critical and legitimate part of the entire justice system in the United States, ' Comey said .
In tweets Thursday, Trump said that Cohen had pleaded guilty to two of the criminal charges against him "to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence". "First of all, nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump".
A problem for Trump, however, is that both Cohen and American Media have admitted to a court that the payment to McDougal was made "in concert with" the Trump campaign and that AMI's "principal objective in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election". "He directed me to become involved in these matters". Cohen said his role was limited to reviewing papers.
In a separate development, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors have opened another line of election-related inquiry, investigating whether foreigners illegally funnelled donations to Trump's inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC. And here is the truth: People of the United States of America, people of the world, don't believe what he is saying.
A court filing in early December from special counsel Robert Mueller made clear there was evidence to back up Cohen's information.
"I have my freedom", he said, adding, "I will not be the villain of his story".
FILE - The cover of an issue of the National Enquirer is shown, featuring President Donald Trump, at a store in New York, July 12, 2017.
"I am done with the lying", Cohen said.
"If they want me, I'm here", he said.
Donald Trump Claims Hush Payments During 2016 Campaign Were Legal
In legal filings on Friday, the Justice Department stopped short of accusing Mr Trump of directly committing a crime. Congress, on the other hand, can at any time impeach and remove a president for "high crimes and misdemeanors".