Trump Denies Directing Cohen to “Break the Law”

“Michael has great liability to me!”

CaptionWang Ying/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

President Donald Trump denied on Thursday having directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to “break the law.” The president’s statements come a day after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison.

Trump has come under scrutiny for allegedly directing Cohen to make hush-money payments during the 2016 election to silence women about their alleged affairs with the then-presidential candidate. In an apparent attempt to further shield himself from mounting legal troubles, Trump on Thursday claimed that the payments did not violate campaign finance laws. He also claimed that Cohen made statements implicating the president in order to “embarrass” him and receive a more lenient sentence.

Trump’s tweets directly challenge federal prosecutors, who in a court filing last week said Cohen arranged the payments “at the direction” of Trump in violation of campaign finance laws. They also contradict Trump’s previous public statements professing to have no knowledge of the payments.

Trump has yet to comment on the explosive admission from American Media Inc.—the parent company of the National Enquirer—that it paid $150,000 to suppress a damaging story about the president and “prevent it from influencing the election.”

On Thursday, NBC News reported that Trump has privately expressed increasing fear over the prospect of impeachment.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate