Trump Says Any Crime Committed in Paying Hush Money Was by Cohen

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump further distanced himself from Michael Cohen, placing responsibility for any crimes stemming from hush money paid to women during the 2016 campaign on his former personal lawyer.

“Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me,” Trump said on Twitter. “Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!”

Cohen pleaded guilty in New York in August, saying that “Individual-1” (widely identified as Trump) schemed to silence two women about affairs with the Republican candidate before the 2016 election. Cohen acknowledged that such payments amounted to illegal campaign donations -- and said he arranged for them at Trump’s behest.

Stephanie Clifford, an adult film actress who works under the name Stormy Daniels, has said she accepted a $130,000 payment in October 2016 to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter a decade earlier. Karen McDougal allegedly received $150,000 from American Media, Inc. for her story, which never ran.

Federal prosecutors recommended Cohen receive a substantial prison term in a sentencing memorandum filed Friday.

“There was NO COLLUSION,” Trump said early Monday on Twitter. “So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution.” In another message, Trump continued: “...which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s - but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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