Donald Trump breaks silence on jailed lawyer Michael Cohen
Thursday - 13/12/2018 14:07
Donald Trump has given his first interview since Michael Cohen was sentenced to jail, saying his former lawyer his trying to “embarrass” him.
Donald Trump has denied directing his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law after the US president’s longtime close ally was sentenced to three years for campaign finance violations and other crimes.
In his first interview since Cohen was sentenced to three years prison, Mr Trump told Fox News that he never directed his former fixer to do anything wrong and called Cohen’s allegations to the contrary an attempt to “embarrass” him.
“I never directed him to do anything wrong,” the president told host Harris Faulkner in an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime.” “Whatever he did he did on his own.”
Earlier, Mr Trump tweeted that Cohen “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.”
After spending the morning calling Cohen a liar, Mr Trump turned his ire toward ex-national security adviser Mike Flynn, charging that he too was “making up stories” about the president to save his hide.
“They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated — the FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI. They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!” the commander-in-chief tweeted.
“WITCH HUNT!” he added in a follow-up, his usual response to bad news coming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Gen Flynn — one of Mr Trump’s most ardent supporters, who’d led “Lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton at Trump’s MAGA rallies — held the White House job for only 24 days.
He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia and will be sentenced in federal court in Washington, DC, on December 18.
Gen Flynn, according to Mueller’s team, had numerous contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in which they reportedly discussed how to improve US relations with Russia, and then he lied about them when questioned by the G-men.
Cohen apologised on Wednesday for covering up the “dirty deeds” of his ex-boss as he was handed jail time for multiple crimes including hush money payments implicating Mr Trump.
Pleading for leniency in a packed Manhattan courtroom before US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III, Cohen said he had been led astray by misplaced admiration for Mr Trump.
An emotional Cohen told the court he accepted responsibility for his personal crimes and “those involving the President of the United States of America.”
Mr Trump said on Twitter that legal experts had cleared him of any wrongdoing and repeated his denial that he had broken campaign finance laws, arguing that Cohen’s crimes did not involve campaign finance, claims he repeated on Fox News.
“Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil bases,” Mr Trump tweeted.
“Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!”
Cohen admitted charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York of tax evasion, providing false statements to a bank and illegal campaign contributions.
Cohen also pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress — a charge stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia to get him elected.
Among the charges against Cohen was making secret payments to silence two women threatening to go public during the election campaign with claims they had affairs with Mr Trump.