President Donald Trump lashed out against his former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen Wednesday, one day after Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges—including two campaign finance violations that appear to implicate Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. Cohen admitted in court Tuesday that he arranged to illegally pay out money to two women—an adult film star and a Playboy model—to keep them from speaking during the 2016 campaign about their affairs with Donald Trump. Cohen indicated Trump directed the payments, which were made for the purpose of influencing the election. On Wednesday, Trump fired back, tweeting, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” Speaking in an interview with Ainsley Earhardt of “Fox & Friends” that aired this morning, Trump falsely stated that the payments were not a violation of campaign finance laws.
President Donald Trump: “Later on I knew. Later on. But you have to understand, Ainsley, what he did—and they weren’t taken out of campaign finance. That’s the big thing. That’s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign; they came from me. And I tweeted about it.”
Trump’s comments came as he hinted at a possible pardon for Paul Manafort, his former campaign chair, who was convicted on eight criminal charges Tuesday, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Trump tweeted, “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. … unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break'–make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!” At the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly insisted that Trump had broken no laws.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Again, I’m not going to get into the back-and-forth details. I can tell you, as the president has stated on numerous occasions, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him in this. And just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn’t meant that that implicates the president on anything.”