Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, isn't buying the president's defense of his alleged role in hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
"Of course" Trump knew the payments were wrong, a morose Cohen told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview that was slated to air Friday morning. "First of all, nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters."
Cohen also said Trump had him coordinate the payments, which came weeks before Election Day 2016, because he was worried about the potential impact of revelations about his alleged trysts with the women. "Yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election," Cohen said.
Prosecutors and Cohen said Trump directed the lawyer to handle the illegal payments to Daniels and McDougal. After the sentencing, Trump attacked Cohen on social media and in an interview with Fox News, saying he "never directed" Cohen to break the law – and that the campaign-finance charges to which Cohen pleaded guilty were intended to embarrass the president. Trump said those payments weren't even illegal.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Cohen interview.