President Donald Trump claimed his reimbursements of Michael Cohen’s payments to women alleging affairs with him were not campaign finance violations because they were his personal funds, in a forthcoming interview on Fox and Friends.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 22, 2018
Trump told Fox News he knew about the payments to Cohen “later on,” adding that the funds to him “did not come out of the campaign.” He then admitted, “They came from me.”
The president continued that the funds “didn’t come out of the campaign,” adding that he is aware that “it is a little dicey” if campaign funds were used to reimburse Cohen.
“Its not even a campaign violation,” Trump declared, pointing at a fine that former President Barack Obama had to pay for a 2008 campaign finance violation.
Trump’s claims contradict Cohen, who pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday saying he acted for the purposes of influencing the election when he made payments to two women who were alleging an affair with Trump. Cohen, Trump, and the president’s legal team have previously maintained that the payments were made in a personal capacity to save face and had nothing to do with the 2016 presidential campaign.
The payments were made to former porn-star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claimed to have affairs with Trump in the mid-2000s. Prosecutors targeting Cohen told the court that the aim of the payments to Daniels and McDougal were made to hide his affairs.
Cohen’s guilty plea places Trump in the position of being an un-indicted co-conspirator in the campaign finance violation. This violation could prove politically precarious for the president with critics already advocating for his impeachment in Congress.