Donald Trump knew hush payments were wrong, Michael Cohen says in interview – Donald Trump’s America
US President Donald Trump directed hush payments to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign and knew the actions were wrong, his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in a television interview with US network ABC News that aired on Friday.
- Mr Trump’s former “fixer” gives his first interview since being sentenced to three years in prison
- Mr Trump knew payments to silence a former Playboy model and adult film star were wrong, Cohen says
- Federal law requires campaign contributions to be disclosed
“He directed me to make the payments. He directed me to become involved in these matters,” Cohen, who was sentenced to prison this week over campaign finance and other charges, told ABC News, the American Broadcasting Company.
Mr Trump has said he never directed Cohen to break the law.
“I don’t think there’s anybody that believes that,” Cohen said.
“First of all, nothing at the Trump organisation was ever done unless it was run through Mr Trump.”
Cohen, speaking in his first interview since he was sentenced on Wednesday, said Mr Trump at the time, “was very concerned about how this would affect the election” if voters knew about the alleged affairs and told him to pay off the two women — former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels.
All the amounts and the dates all lined up with the payments made to Ms McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. (Reuters: Danny Moloshok)
“I just reviewed the documents in order to protect him,” Cohen said.
“I gave loyalty to someone who truthfully does not deserve loyalty.”
The payments aimed to help Mr Trump and his campaign, Cohen added.
Federal law requires contributions of “anything of value” to a campaign be disclosed, and an individual donation cannot exceed $2,700.
Asked if then-candidate Mr Trump knew the payments were wrong, Cohen told ABC’s Good Morning America program: “Of course.”
This week Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for the payments as well as unrelated crimes of tax evasion and misleading banks, and two months for lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.