Trump says Cohen payments came from him, not campaign
President Donald Trump says his former lawyer Michael Cohen did not violate campaign finance laws, because the hush money payments came from Trump personally and not the presidential campaign.
Speaking with Fox & Friends, Trump said he knew about the payments “later on” and that he even tweeted about them, but denied they had anything to do with his campaign.
“They didn’t come out of the campaign. They came from me,” Trump told interviewer Ainsley Earhardt.
The full interview is scheduled to air on Thursday morning, but Fox & Friends teased a short video clip of it on Wednesday afternoon.
Cohen pleaded guilty on eight federal charges on Tuesday, including that a candidate on whose behalf he was working instructed him to make payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump back in 2006. Paying adult actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) and Playboy model Karen McDougal qualified as illegal campaign contributions, Cohen told the court.
In the interview, Trump also seemed to object to the Justice Department’s conduct in prosecuting his former personal attorney. Cohen’s case is being handled by federal prosecutors in New York, who are overseen by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rather than Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to investigate claims of Trump’s “collusion” with Russia in the 2016 election.
President Barack Obama had a “massive campaign violation,” Trump told Fox & Friends, “but he had a different attorney general and they viewed it a lot differently.”
In 2013, the Federal Election Commission fined Obama’s 2008 campaign $375,000 for reporting violations, one of the largest fines ever levied.
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