Cohen: “Of Course” Trump Knew Hush-Money Payments Were Wrong

He also said that the special counsel’s office has “substantial” evidence corroborating his claims.

In his first interview after being sentenced to three years in prison, Michael Cohen said that President Donald Trump personally directed him to arrange hush-money payments out of concern over how Trump’s alleged affairs would affect the 2016 presidential election if they were made public.

“Nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump,” Cohen told ABC News in an interview that aired Friday morning. “He directed me to make the payments,” Cohen continued. “He directed me to become involved in these matters, including the one with [former Playboy model Karen] McDougal, which was really between him and David Pecker and then David Pecker’s counsel. I just reviewed the documents in order to protect him.”

When asked if Trump knew the payments were wrong at the time, Cohen replied, “Of course.” Cohen emphasized the timing of the payments, which happened mere weeks before the election and after the Washington Post published a bombshell Access Hollywood recording that captured Trump bragging about groping women without their consent.

“You have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about, two weeks or so before the election, post the Billy Bush comments,” Cohen said. “So, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election.”

Cohen’s interview comes in response to Trump’s latest claims that he never directed his former personal attorney and fixer of more than 10 years to “break the law.” The president on Wednesday offered a host of reasons for Cohen’s damaging testimony against him. They included accusations that Cohen was making claims to receive a more lenient sentencing, “embarrass” the president, and protect his father-in-law and wife.

Cohen denied all this, telling ABC News that the special counsel’s office possessed “substantial” evidence corroborating his claims.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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