Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty

Cohen's plea came as Manafort, who served as chairman of Mr Trump's campaign, was found guilty on eight charges in a separate financial fraud trial in Alexandria, Virginia, stemming from a federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.

In addition to pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, Cohen also admitted to tax and bank fraud.

But by the time Trump weighed in on the two events on Wednesday morning, it was clear that his opinion of his two former employees differs wildly.

In a string of interviews early Wednesday, Cohen's own lawyer Lanny Davis took aim squarely at the president, dubbing him a "criminal".

And ensuring that he stays ever on brand, Trump added in a second tweet that the Manafort case is a "witch hunt", noting that "a large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided". Cohen claimed the campaign law crimes were carried out at the direction of Trump to cover up affairs with the women and influence the 2016 election.

Trump denied to reporters in April that he knew anything about Cohen's payments to Daniels, though the explanations from the president and Giuliani have shifted multiples times since.

He told a federal court in Manhattan that Mr Trump directed him to arrange payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election to silence two women who said they had affairs with Mr Trump.

Aside from the president's tweets, the White House has been largely mum on Tuesday's developments.

At a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia, Tuesday evening, Trump called the Manafort decision "a very sad thing".

Donald Trump insisted on Wednesday (Aug 22) he did nothing wrong after his longtime attorney implicated him in illicit hush payments made before the 2016 election, as experts warned the legal maelstrom swirling around the Republican leader could further threaten his presidency.

Ross Garber, a lawyer who has represented four Republican governors in impeachment proceedings, said Cohen's statement "dramatically increases the likelihood that, were Democrats to take control of the House in the midterms, they would begin an impeachment investigation".

"My observation is that the topics relating to hacking and the crime of hacking. that there are subjects that Michael Cohen could address that would be of interest to the special counsel", Davis said in a series of television interviews.

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 crimes:...

Trump later contested whether the campaign finance counts to which Cohen pleaded were valid. Trump also has asserted that the funds did not come from campaign coffers.

While in West Virginia, Trump offered brief comments on Manafort, whose case was unrelated to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election.

"He will not, and does not want anything from Donald Trump", Davis told MSNBC.

But for now, the focus is clearly on Cohen's case, and the implications it may or may not have for President Trump.

Davis said Cohen's possible knowledge of criminal conspiracy was not limited to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., and Kremlin-aligned lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

"I do believe that he has information about Mr. Trump that would be of interest both in Washington as well as NY state", Davis said.

That raised the question of whether Cohen would cooperate, and, crucially, what his cooperation would be worth.

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