Michael Cohen implicates President Trump in hush money scheme

Devin Lawrence
August 24, 2018

In pleading guilty on Tuesday, Cohen stated that he made hush payments in 2016 to women who claimed to have had affairs with the Republican presidential nominee, and did so at the "direction of the candidate", plainly meaning Trump.

"I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a unsafe person in the Oval Office, and he has flatly authorized me to say under no circumstances would he accept a pardon from Mr. Trump", Davis said.

Rather than cut a deal, Manafort chose to leave his fate to a jury, prompting speculation he was hoping for a pardon - something Trump has not ruled out.

An FBI raid on Cohen's NY office and hotel room in April rattled the president, who has complained publicly about what he felt was government overreach while privately worrying about what material Cohen may have had after working for the Trump Organization for a decade.

While Cohen did not name Mr Trump in court on Tuesday, referring to him as "the candidate", Mr Davis on Wednesday accused the President of being directly involved.

By Wednesday morning, the president was praising Manafort as a "brave man" and bashing Cohen as someone he would not recommend to anyone in search of a good lawyer.

He added that Cohen, who once said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, had a change of heart after watching Trump be "reckless" as president.

Cohen also said he worked with a "popular national tabloid" to identify negative stories about Trump's alleged extramarital affairs and quash them, according to court documents.

Cohen is scheduled for sentencing on December 12 and his bail was set at $500,000.

Yesterday... was not a good day for those formerly in Donald Trump's orbit (for the rest of us, it was glorious). Donald Trump has frequently denied any knowledge of the meeting, which has been at the heart of the investigation over whether Trump's team colluded with Russian Federation.

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The back-to-back blows resulted from the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's attempts to sway voters in the 2016 election, including hacking Democrats' emails, whether the Trump campaign may have cooperated, and if the president himself obstructed justice in investigating both. "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". The verdict, he said, "doesnt involve me, but I still feel, you know, its a very sad thing that happened".

Trump began that effort on Wednesday morning, attacking Cohen while signaling his support for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on eight counts of financial crimes Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign with Moscow and repeatedly called Mr Mueller's investigation a witch hunt.

That contradicted Cohen's previous claim he had paid off one of the women without the president's knowledge.

Will Cohen cooperate? Notably, Cohen's plea agreement does not include cooperation.

"Such respect for a courageous man!"

Manafort, Trump wrote, had "tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break'".

While placing the President in direct legal jeopardy over the hush money payments, Cohen also served notice he is willing to cooperate with Mueller on the Russian Federation investigation.

As Trump's longtime lawyer and self-described "fixer", Cohen could potentially be a significant source of information for state investigators looking into whether Trump or his charity broke state law or lied about their tax liability.

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