President Donald Trump directed the payment of hush money to two women shortly before the 2016 USA presidential election and knew that doing so was wrong, his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in a television interview aired on Friday. In an interview Thursday with Fox News, he said: "I never directed him to do anything wrong".
That work specifically involved two hush money payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars that Cohen made on Trump's behalf to two women who alleged affairs with the president in the run-up to the 2016 election in violation of campaign finance laws.
Here we have Cohen and the prosecution claiming that Mr Trump directed his lawyer to break the law by making hush money payments to women.
He said he was "angry at himself" over the payments, which he made out of "blind loyalty" to Trump.
After earlier saying he knew nothing of the payments, Trump on Thursday said he never told Cohen to break the law.
"It is absolutely not true", Cohen told GMA in response to Trump's numerous tweets.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: He said in the tweets and repeated in an interview later on that basically he says - his claim - you are lying about him to protect your wife, to protect your father in-law.
Gidley called Cohen a "self-admitted liar" and said "there are documents to prove it" but did not elaborate.
"Under no circumstances do I want to embarrass the president", Cohen insisted.
The former lawyer and Trump fixer added: "He knows the truth".
He continued: "There's a substantial amount of information that they possess that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth".
"Somewhere along the way Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass", the judge said.
The payments to both McDougal and the adult film star Stormy Daniels, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, became a central point in prosecutors' case against Cohen.
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However, prosecutors paint a very different picture, tying the hush payments to the campaign and implicating the President in Cohen's crimes.
"Here's the truth: The people of the United States of America - the people of the world - don't believe what he's saying", Cohen said.
Cohen dismissed any speculation that he wanted to embarrass Trump, but argued he instead felt he needed to "fix the mistake that I made". Also on Wednesday, federal prosecutors in NY announced they had reached a cooperation deal with National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc, which admitted making a hush payment to a former Playboy model to prevent her from going public with Trump affair allegations before the 2016 election.
Some of Cohen's crimes, they said, were motivated by overenthusiasm for Trump, rather than any nefarious intent. ABC released excerpts of the interview ahead of its full airing. Under US law, an individual donation can not exceed $2,700.
"The events that give rise to the claim against him are unrelated to the campaign for office", he said.
The list also includes former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. "I will not be the villain of his story".
Cohen acknowledged that he "didn't display good judgment" in lying on Trump's behalf and that his family was disappointed in him.
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"I am done with the lying", Cohen said.