Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

'I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law'

'I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law'

"Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook".

Equally ominous for the White House is that Mr. Cohen - who spent 12 years at the centre of Mr. Trump's business empire and political aspirations - has met several times with Mr. Mueller's investigators.

Trump largely echoed his tweets in a television interview broadcast Thursday afternoon. "I never directed him to do anything incorrect or wrong".

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's once-devoted lawyer and all-around fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for allowing what he said was his "blind loyalty" to Trump to lead him astray.

The main defence Trump and his lawyers have put forth in recent weeks is that the payments were not subject to campaign finance laws because they were aimed at protecting his personal reputation and would have been made even if he had not been a candidate for president. It is called "advice of counsel", and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made.

U.S. Judge William Pauley told the 52-year-old Cohen that somewhere along the way, he had "lost his moral compass".

Cohen said in written testimony to two congressional committees that the talks ended in January 2016, before the first electoral contests to select the Republican presidential nominee, when they actually continued until June 2016 after Trump clinched the Republican nomination.

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Top White House officials, especially the communications staff, routinely circulated at these media parties and often talked shop. Earlier in December, The Washington Post reported that this year's event had not been scheduled yet.


The judge, in remarks before handing down Cohen's sentence, said the lawyer committed two campaign finance crimes "on the eve" of the 2016 election with the "intent to influence the outcome of that election".

As part of the deal, AMI acknowledged it made a 150,000 USA dollar payment to the model "in concert" with the Trump campaign with the intent of influencing the election. The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand and Russell Berman suggest that the sentence was meant to punish Cohen for engaging in "selective cooperation" with prosecutors. Also on Wednesday, federal prosecutors in NY announced they had reached a co-operation 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. Sanders said she had "given the best information I had at the time". Ms. McDougal's payment was funnelled through National Enquirer owner American Media Inc.

The president denies the affair. In the agreement, AMI said it would cooperate with prosecutors and admitted it paid McDougal $150,000 before the 2016 election to silence her allegations of an affair with Trump. "I don't think we made a payment to that tabloid".

The deal signalled the unravelling of the deep relationship Trump and AMI chief executive David Pecker had forged over decades.

The main reason why this seems more likely to happen than not is because Michael Cohen is guilty, and he acted "in coordination with and at the direction of Individual 1".

For years, Michael Cohen described himself as being staunchly loyal to President Trump, going as far as saying that he would "take a bullet" for him. "They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements".

There is no question in my mind that the federal prosecutors, particularly their accomplished leader, Robert Khuzami, would have hedged their language if the conclusion were a close call.

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