Former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said “a candidate” directed him to pay off two women to stop them from speaking publicly during the 2016 presidential campaign about affairs with Trump.
In addition to the campaign finance violations, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion and one count of false statements to a bank.
Trump also expressed faith that Cohen would never “flip” on him.
State investigators in NY issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen on Wednesday as part of an ongoing multi-agency investigation into the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a spokesperson with the state’s department of taxation and finance told ABC News. There is also considerable evidence, as I previously argued, that Russia’s intervention on Trump’s behalf affected the outcome.
The two women were not identified by name.
On Tuesday, Cohen detailed how he made pre-election hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
According to the page, ‘The Michael Cohen Truth Fund is a transparent trust account, with all donations going to help Michael Cohen and his family as he goes forward on his journey to tell the truth about Donald Trump’.
In August 2016, McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, for the rights to her story, which the company then shelved. “And we’ll just have to see what Mr. Cohen is able to say from direct knowledge when and if he discusses this with the special counsel”.
A month before the election, Cohen struck a similar deal with Daniels in the amount of $130,000.
Cohen said once he’d take a bullet for Trump, and was intimately familiar with Trump’s personal, business and political dealing for more than a decade. Trump’s best legal cover would be insisting that he would have made the payments regardless of his presidential campaign in an effort to protect his reputation or perhaps save his wife, Melania Trump, from embarrassment.
What does this mean for Trump? “If he were not president, he clearly would be indicted and jailed for that crime”. Mr Trump denied knowing the payment had been made at the time.
“President Trump still does not appear to be in any legal jeopardy”, said Ric Simmons, a law professor at the Ohio State University. For all intents and purposes, Trump is president, and there’s no getting around that.
Cohen told a judge that he directed the payments “for the principal goal of influencing the election” and “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” – a reference to Trump.
“It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time”, said Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Tuesday was a bad day in court for former associates of President Donald Trump, and it could foreshadow hard days ahead for the president.
Among Cohen’s other clients was a US -based investment firm with close ties to a Russian oligarch. “Since Trump has been elected, my office has received numerous calls asking for Congress to work to impeach him”.
The vast majority of congressional Republicans repeated similar claims. But that ruling did not directly address whether a president could be subpoenaed to testify in a criminal investigation, a question the Supreme Court may have to confront if Mueller tries to compel Trump’s testimony in his probe. “This is a big win for the special counsel”. If the payments had been disclosed in filings with the Federal Elections Commission, then Mr. Cohen might not have been in any legal trouble.