Michael Cohen says he's 'done being loyal to President Trump'

Donald Trump Vs. Donald Trump’s Lawyer Will Trump Plead Ignorance

In the sit-down interview, Cohen said that it was Trump who brokered the deal with David Pecker - the owner of AMI, publisher of the National Enquirer - to "catch and kill" the story of former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Trump.

Asked why he made the payments, Cohen said it was out of his "blind loyalty" to Trump and to "help [Trump] and his campaign".

President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that he "never directed" his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, to break the law.

He has pleaded guilty to crimes including campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.

"I followed a bad path and hence how we started this conversation", he said. As part of a non-prosecution agreement, AMI agreed that the "principal purpose" of the agreement with McDougal was to "suppress" her story so it did not influence the election. Mr. Trump - who initially told reporters he knew nothing about the payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels - said Cohen should have known the law better.

Investigators raided Cohen's offices and NY home in April, seizing stacks of documents and electronic devices.

Cohen dismissed any speculation that he wanted to embarrass Trump, but argued he instead felt he needed to "fix the mistake that I made". He also tweeted that "Attorney-client privilege is dead!"

While we do not know exactly what corroborating evidence Mueller and the Southern District of NY may have, at this point we know that David Pecker of AMI is a cooperating witness, meaning he could very well be corroborating many of Cohen's stories.

"It is absolutely not true", Cohen said.

Schiff, a California Democrat who is a favorite target of Trump's, said the most meaningful development was the unsealed cooperation deal with American Media Inc. It's one thing if he made the payments to protect his personal interests and his wife Melania. "He directed me to become involved in these matters", Cohen told ABC News.

Justice Department policy is not to indict a sitting president but some legal experts have said Trump could be charged after leaving office. Stephanopoulos asked, and Cohen answered, "I don't know".

"We'll have to pay", Cohen responded.

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Reiterating something he said in court Wednesday, Cohen said he feels unburdened by acknowledging what he did for Trump.

"I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law". Cohen told prosecutors the payments were directed by Trump, implicating the president in a possible campaign finance law violation.

"Whether you think it's wrong or right, I don't understand the case for how it's illegal", Dershowitz continued.

Trump's presence at the discussion potentially undercuts his defense that the payments were a private matter unrelated to the campaign as well as his position that he didn't knowingly and willingly violate campaign finance laws, according to Levinson.

In a separate case on Thursday, Russian Maria Butina admitted she conspired to infiltrate United States conservative groups during the 2016 presidential campaign and surreptitiously influence policy. The fines stemmed from the campaign's failure to report a batch of contributions, totalling almost $1.9 million, on time in the final days of the campaign.

Prosecutors also said American Media did not report the payments to the Federal Election Commission.

In his guilty plea to Mueller's charge, Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about the timeline for discussions about plans for real estate businessman Trump's proposed skyscraper in Moscow.

"I did not do it to embarrass the president", Cohen said.

Prosecutors in NY have reached a cooperation agreement with American Media Inc.

Trump has denied any collusion with Russian Federation and has accused Mueller's team of pressuring his former aides to lie about him, his campaign and his business dealings.

"It's not clear to me that he's made any false statements in legal documents that could open him to liability for perjury", Hasen said.

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