Trump says he is innocent in legal scandal, blames lawyer

Trump ex-lawyer Cohen given 3 years in prison

In the interview, Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he hopes to be remembered in history for unifying America against the president.

Cohen insisted he just reviewed the McDougal deal and said the payment was negotiated directly between Trump and David Pecker, the chief executive officer of the tabloid's parent company.

A NY judge said that Michael Cohen deserved a harsh punishment for crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress and arranging illegal payments to silence women who posed a risk to Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

"There's a substantial amount of information that they possess that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth", Cohen said.

Trump has also repeatedly denied having affairs with McDougal and Daniels and called the payouts "a simple private transaction".

Cohen's lawyers had argued for leniency, saying he chose to cooperate with investigators rather than hold out for a possible pardon.

Admitting he told lies for Trump for "more than 10 years" out of "loyalty" to someone he admired, Cohen said he felt he needed to tell the truth in order to gain his freedom, despite his recent prison sentence.

In response to Cohen's claim, Giuliani told CNN that Trump has "never lied about the Russian Federation investigation" and reiterated the claim that the probe is much ado about nothing. At the time, Cohen said he took out a personal line of credit on his home to pay Daniels days before the 2016 election without Trump's knowledge.

From the start, Cohen followed a risky and unusual legal strategy.

Stephanopoulos: And he was doing that to help his election? That gets to the crux of the issue.

Despite American Media's reported admission, there are expenditures that might "influence an election", yet not constitute campaign-related expenses.

Trump has not yet laid out a detailed defense, though he could conceivably argue that the payments were made not for the purposes of advancing his campaign but rather to prevent sex stories from emerging that would be personally humiliating to him and harm his marriage. That may be a technicality that Robert Mueller's willing to challenge, but it's still a significant one that a court might recognize.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy asked Thursday, echoing Trump's contention that the President's former lawyer Michael Cohen bore full responsibility for any crimes. Who would keep their job if they didn't do exactly as the boss wanted? Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's investigation into possible collusion with Russian Federation a "WITCH HUNT". US District Judge William Pauley said when announcing Cohen's sentencing that his plea to guilty and assistance "does not wipe the slate clean".

He said that in the Trump Organization, nothing was ever done "unless it was run through Mr. Trump".

"I never directed him to do anything wrong". Davis said that false testimony was shared with the White House before Cohen submitted it to Congress and it is possible Trump was aware at the time that Cohen would make false statements.

There's a nuance here too, though, that the comment disregards. That doesn't mean Trump directed him to do so illegally.

Politically, Trump's shifting claims could harm his credibility with voters, but legally they may not make much of a difference. Directing his attorney to reach settlements in the Stormy Daniels case would be no different than what attorneys do on a regular basis.

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Much of this has to wait for Mueller's interpretation, of course.

Cohen once bragged that he would "take a bullet" to support Trump.

"That's the big question, what else do they have?" Prosecutor Nicolas Roos said Cohen's crimes showed a "pattern of deceit, brazenness and greed", and urged the judge to send a message that "even powerful, privileged individuals can not violate these laws with impunity".

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