Cohen Blames Hush Money Payments During 2016 Campaign on Trump

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump knew it was wrong to arrange payments to two women during the presidential campaign, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen claimed. Previously, Trump stated he had never directed Cohen to break the law.

President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen is a known "liar" and his allegations about hush payments during the 2016 presidential campaign should not be trusted, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters. 

"The fact that, I think, the media is giving credence to a convicted criminal… the fact that you're giving credence to someone who's a convicted, self-admitted liar quite frankly", Gidley said.

The payments were allegedly made to silence two women, adult movie actress Stephanie Clifford, known by her stage name "Stormy Daniels," and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, so they would not damage Trump's reputation before the election.

"I am done with the lying," Cohen said. "I am done being loyal to President Trump". 

Cohen told ABC News in an interview that Trump was aware that making payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with him was wrong. The US president earlier said that Cohen as a lawyer was responsible for explaining whether the actions could be illegal.

READ MORE: US Court Sentences ex-Trump Lawyer Cohen to 36 Month in Prison — Reports

According to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the US president directed him to make the hush-money payments because at the time Trump "was very concerned about how this would affect the election."

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When asked whether Trump was aware it was wrong to make the payments, Cohen told ABC News in an interview: "of course".

The attorney also suggested that Trump is not telling the truth in the Russia probe. The probe is looking into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, charges Moscow has repeatedly denied. Trump has also denied any collusion with Moscow during the 2016 campaign and called the investigation led by the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller "a witch hunt."

The statement comes after Trump said he never directed Cohen to break the law, adding that the lawyer should have understood the legality of his actions. The US President has also noted that lawyers have told him he did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, even though Cohen pleaded guilty to two campaign finance violations.

READ MORE: Trump Privately Calls Cohen a ‘Liar' While Remaining Silent Publicly — Reports

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A US federal judge sentenced Cohen to 3 years in prison for campaign finance violations, tax evasion, making false statements to a bank in connection with a case brought by the Southern District Court of New York, and lying to Congress in connection with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the 2016 election.

The sentence came as part of a plea deal Cohen reached with US attorneys and the Special Counsel's office.

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