Michael Cohen, the former long-time lawyer for President Donald Trump, said in an interview that aired on Friday that the now-president knew the hush money payments he made to women during the 2016 election were wrong.
Cohen spoke with Good Morning America on Friday, just days after he was sentenced to three years in prison for a number of crimes, including campaign finance violations in regards to payments made to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who said they had affairs with Trump.
When asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether the now-president knew the payments were “wrong,” his former lawyer replied: “Of course,” adding that he knew the hush money was important in light of the Access Hollywood tape being released just ahead of the 2016 election.
“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, so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election,” Cohen said, adding that the payments were “to help him and the campaign.”
FULL PART 1: "I'm angry at myself, because I knew what I was doing was wrong," Michael Cohen tells @GStephanopoulos. https://t.co/sTCn23S6sb— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 14, 2018
More of the exclusive interview is just ahead on @GMA. pic.twitter.com/6X1CNcvWDx
He added that Trump “directed” him to make the payments.
The president said he “never directed” his former lawyer to “break the law.”
“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law,” the president wrote on Thursday. “It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly……”
He added in another tweet:
“….stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance.”
I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2018
You can read a transcript of Cohen’s interview with Good Morning America here.