Michael Cohen said President Trump knew all along that the hush-money payments were wrong, according to an interview with ABC News that aired Friday.
“First of all, nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it went through Mr. Trump,” Cohen told ABC News.
Regarding the payments to silence Playboy model Karen McDougal’s claim of having an affair with Mr. Trump, Cohen explained the situation was between Mr. Trump and the National Enquirer’s David Pecker.
“I just reviewed the documents,” said Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer.” “I gave loyalty to someone who truthfully does not deserve loyalty.”
Cohen said Mr. Trump “of course” knew the payments were wrong, which is why the lawyer was directed to keep it hidden. Then-presidential candidate Trump wanted to avoid a bombshell of affair rumors, after the “Access Hollywood” scandal, just two weeks before the polls opened.
“He was very concerned about how this would affect the election,” Cohen said. “[It was] to help him and the campaign.”
Mr. Trump has defended himself, saying that Cohen, as his lawyer, should have told him that the hush-money payments crossed a line.
“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law,” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday.
The president also argues that the payments shouldn’t constitute a criminal charge no matter what, but Cohen took the plea deal to embarrass him.
Cohen said the president’s arguments on Fox News Thursday were “inaccurate” and that he is not intending on embarrassing him.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison this week for campaign finance violation, bank fraud and lying to Congress.
“The people of the United States of America, the people of the world, don’t believe what he’s saying,” he said. “The man doesn’t tell the truth. And it’s sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.”
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