Cohen insists he was directed by Trump to break the law

Cohen insists he was directed by Trump to break the law

Mr Trump, who denies ordering the payments, has insisted the money paid was not a campaign contribution and therefore broke no laws.

"I don't think there's anybody that believes that", Cohen told ABC News of Trump's denials.

Cohen, in his first televised interview since he was sentenced, said Trump was anxious about the potential impact on the election if voters learned about the two women's account of the alleged affairs. The arrangements got made, Cohen says, right after the Billy Bush-Access Hollywood-"grab 'em by the p****" tape emerged.

He noted that Mueller has found the information he provided credible, and that Mueller's team possesses "a substantial amount of information that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth".

As part of the agreement, American Media admitted it had made a US$150,000 payment to silence a woman about her alleged affair with Trump "in concert" with a presidential campaign and with the intent of influencing the 2016 election.

"Cohen said he felt like he "[had his] freedom back" after taking responsibility for actions. "Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly.stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance".

Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations in connection with the hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal, who have both claimed to have had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.

The president has denied ever asking Cohen to make illegal payments. "'I'm going to stop lying, starting now, ' is somewhat silly".

Cohen said Trump told him to pay them to keep quiet.

"That sort of gets into the whole investigation right now between (the) special counsel's office, the attorney general's office, you also have the Southern District of NY - I don't want to jeopardize any of their investigations", he said.

"He directed me to make the payments".

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In response to Cohen's claim, Giuliani told CNN that Trump has "never lied about the Russian Federation investigation" and reiterated the claim that the probe is much ado about nothing.

He added, "Here's the truth: The people of the United States of America - the people of the world - don't believe what he's saying". The meeting reportedly served as an opportunity to discuss ways Pecker could help mitigate negative stories about Trump and his relationships with women.

"Inaccurate", Cohen said of that message.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to breaking campaign finance laws, tax evasion and lying to Congress.

He added: "I will not be the villain of this story".

FILE - Stormy Daniels, the porn star now in legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a ceremony in her honor in West Hollywood, California, May 23, 2018.

Finally, by ignoring these other parts of the statute and its implementing regulations (which carry the force of law), the prosecutors attempt to make the "for the objective of influencing any election" language a subjective test that would, but for the plea bargain, be decided by a jury.

Cohen said he remains available to answer additional questions from Mueller's team.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced a cooperation deal with the company, American Media Inc.

The raid was overseen by the US attorney's office in Manhattan and arose from a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian election interference and potential co-ordination with the Trump campaign.

While Trump has mused about not being opposed to offering a presidential pardon to Manafort, Cohen's prosecution at the state level would make him ineligible for a pardon.

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