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22 Aug, 2018 13:37

Trump accuses Michael Cohen of 'making up stories' to get a 'deal'

Trump accuses Michael Cohen of 'making up stories' to get a 'deal'

Donald Trump accused his former attorney Michael Cohen of "making up stories to get a deal,” after the lawyer pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and promised to give evidence against the President.

READ MORE: Cohen bombshell sparks fresh calls for Trump impeachment – but what happened to Russia collusion?

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump blasted Cohen and praised his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was found guilty on eight out of 18 counts of tax and bank fraud on Tuesday.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family," Trump tweeted. “‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ - make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”

Cohen, who once said that he would take a bullet for the President, reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors on campaign finance, bank fraud, and tax evasion charges on Tuesday. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges in total, including five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to financial institution, one count of willful cause of unlawful corporate campaign contribution, and one count of excessive campaign contribution.

Cohen said that he made the campaign contribution “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” meaning Trump. The payments were made “for principal purpose of influencing [the 2016 presidential] election,” according to Reuters. One payment in question referred to the now-infamous ‘hush money’ settlement given to porn star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, who had threatened to make public her alleged affair with Trump from 2006.

In his morning tweetstorm, Trump sarcastically suggested that “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”

Neither Manafort nor Cohen’s charges had anything to do with the Trump campaign’s alleged ‘Russian collusion’ in the runup to the 2016 election. Despite this, Cohen came forward on Tuesday with the revelation that he may have information that would “be of interest” to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing and still fruitless investigation.

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis made the revelation in several television interviews on Wednesday, but provided no specific details. Davis did, however, announce a crowdfunding campaign to pay Cohen’s legal fees, and help him to “continue his commitment to tell the truth.” It has already raised almost $30,000 of its $500,000 goal.

Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, downplayed the significance of Cohen’s deal with prosecutors, and maintained Trump’s innocence. “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,” he said in a statement. “It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.”

Lawyer and radio personality Mark Levin wants to make sure people realize that the campaign finance violations that Cohen pleaded guilty to cannot reflect on President Trump, despite what the media would like you to believe. “It is a guilty plea. It is a plea bargain between a prosecutor and a criminal. A criminal who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in prison,” he said, adding that asking your personal lawyer to use your personal funds to pay someone is not illegal.

“Just because a prosecutor says that somebody violated a campaign law, does not make it so. He’s not the judge, he’s not the jury.” 

Cohen’s sentencing is due to take place on December 12. He faces a substantial monetary fine and could face over five years in prison.

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